Data should drive debate

Restricting the route along Shelbourne will force drivers to select alternatives which will impact local residential areas

It seems to me that the writer of the article ‘Traffic reduction a key piece to Shelbourne action plan’ and his source have selectively used data to justify their view of a “road diet”. They used a 2011 Malatest report and ignored a later survey that indicated over 25,000 vehicles used Shelbourne, and then pooh poohed the analysis which indicated that if Shelbouren were to become a two-lane road the diverted traffic would use local residential streets instead.

Based on the Malatest website it appears that they primarily use telephone surveys which have become less reliable as more people rely on cellphones only and many refuse to answer surveys. Another question arises as to how the respondents were selected, were they random phone calls or a selected list of respondents?

A truly valid survey would require at least two data points of actual drivers using Shelbourne, both below McKenzie and above Cedar Cross. In reality it matters little where the traffic was heading, but the number of vehicles using Shelbourne, and in this case Shelbourne has become one of the major traffic routes. Restricting the route will force drivers to select alternatives which will impact local residential areas since they still need to get to their destinations. Just as Douglas, Blanchard, Fort, McKenzie, etc. have become major thoroughfares, so has Shelbourne.  Many streets in other cities have significantly more traffic but have added large sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians and shopping areas which works very well.

This idea that this particular road diet will benefit Saanich is driven by one viewpoint which is rooted in the 19th century and is a somewhat Luddite view of the world.

Chris Sheldon



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