Taking charge of our transit planning

Planning for the future of transportation will involve a variety of changes, but how should transit change to be accessible to more people?

Last week’s announcement from the province ordering B.C. Transit to undergo a third-party review of its operations, performance and governance is a huge step in the right direction to tackling the region’s transportation woes, Saanich’s mayoral candidates say.

Frank Leonard and David Cubberley both want to see transportation planning moved to a more regional level, so municipal governments can work in tandem to ensure needs are met.

“We need to be directly in control of our transit future much more than we are today. Having a transportation planning authority would allow us to look at the whole transportation system, all modes, and set up a list of priority projects,” Cubberley said.

Leonard, Saanich’s incumbent mayor, was among a group of municipal politicians who pressed the minister of transportation and infrastructure to look at changing transit governance.

“If we can achieve local control, the benefit will be that money is spent on what we want it to be spent on,” Leonard said. “There’s been millions of dollars spent on capital (projects) that haven’t delivered more service – the McTavish interchange, a transit yard in Royal Oak that we don’t need. The budget needs more scrutiny and we need to make sure that capital and operating money is benefitting the users and the service.”

Cubberley said improvements need to be made to the existing system, namely along Douglas Street and the Trans-Canada Highway, by implementing queue-jumping lanes for buses and high-occupancy vehicles. That needs to come before a light-rail transit system – or any major transit project – is built.

“Once we have established a plan at a regional level, then we can approach the province with one unified voice. Today we have no voice,” he said. “There are very few solutions that only involve Saanich.”

Leonard says the current billion-dollar business case that B.C. Transit is presenting to the province with regards to light-rail isn’t sufficient. “There needs to be a third-party review of the expenditure and then it may need a referendum,” he said.

Incumbent councillors Susan Brice, Vic Derman, Dean Murdock, Vicki Sanders and Leif Wergeland, as well as candidates Rob Wickson and Harald Wolf all agree the top long-term transportation priority is to create a thorough regional plan.

“You can’t look at transit by itself – you have to figure out how it links to all the other choices in the community,” Wickson said.

“Transit needs to think about connecting across the grid, look at it at a regional level, so everybody in the neighbourhood can easily access transit,” Sanders said.

Nichola Wade suggests working with demand centres like the University of Victoria to see if peak demand can be smoothed out.

Incumbent Judy Brownoff says if transit is going to be seen as the “preferred choice” for moving people around Greater Victoria, “we need to get transit out of that congestion or ahead of the congestion.”

She and Wade said a dedicated bus lane during rush hour along the Trans-Canada Highway would achieve that.

Paul Gerrard, also an incumbent, says the entire transit system needs an overhaul, suggesting an increase in community-based transit.

“Even with LRT, we’re still going to need regular and good bus service,” he said. “We’ll need an expansion of service as an offshoot of the main arterial routes.”

Ingrid Ip says an interchange at McKenzie Avenue and the Trans-Canada would help. “Things need to happen step by step. You’ve got to deal with the most critical areas first, which is the Trans-Canada. That’s having the biggest impact on traffic everywhere else (in Saanich) right now.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

••••••••••

Get more from your candidates

We asked all the candidates how they would tackle long-term transportation planning. Check out their full comments here.

Just Posted

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read