This letter is in appreciation of Saanich staff’s work on the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan and some related thoughts.
At Saanich council’s public hearing where the SVAP was approved, some voiced concern about a future increase in the number of cars causing congestion along Shelbourne.
I feel that the answer for solving future congestion lies in funding and expanding the transit service. Currently the provincial government has invested 55 times the money (est. $85 million in 2015) for road construction at McKenzie (with additional costs of two accidents contaminating Colquitz Creek, loss of Garry oak, loss of parkland and loss of people’s sleep) than the heralded-in-bold-print $1.6 million from the province to fund transit in the CRD. Imagine the difference we could see immediately and in the longer term if the spending ratios had been switched with the big dollar amount going to transit.
Besides a sheltered continuous bike lane, it is a proven fact that slower traffic saves lives. It is my hypothesis (and I may be wrong) that when drivers have two lanes in one direction some see the road more as a highway and speed up, almost racing and changing lanes to beat other cars to the next light or to get through the next light before it changes.
One lane for cars in each direction accompanied by signage of lower speed limits would create the country lane, village-like calming drive I find in Cook Street Village, Oak Bay and Foul Bay Road and hopefully someday along Shelbourne thanks to an priorized public transit system.