The Shelbourne Valley Action Plan (SVAP) will be presented to Saanich council on Dec. 5, seeking public approval of short-term mobility Option 3. The real choice is between the present street design (100 per cent four lanes), Option 2 (25 per cent four lanes) and Option 3 (65 per cent four lanes)
Which street design will be safer? Safety (not mobility) should be the Shelbourne priority, to reduce potential for more tragic accidents. A safer Shelbourne will have fewer conflict points (locations for potential traffic accidents), and favours Option 2.
Which street design will be smarter – keep traffic flowing, with separate lanes for vehicles, cyclists and walkers; be clearly marked and visible in all weather conditions and time of day? A smart Shelbourne plan will redistribute under-utilized roadway space to cyclists, and favours Option 2.
Which street design will have greatest incremental benefit and least incremental cost? Option 2 can be implemented without land purchase on south Shelbourne.
Diversion of traffic flow to Richmond and Cedar Hill Road is unlikely. Traffic peaks daily on Saanich streets at the same time.
The SVAP 30-year “ultimate” goal of four lanes may not be the best fit between street characteristics, predictable changes in traffic behaviour, and public good. A transportation performance assessment is needed to ensure that investments in this valuable public asset (estimated $12 million) deliver the intended outcomes of safety, mobility (traffic flow), access, street condition, equity, efficiency, minimum carbon emissions and integration with the land use plan. A benefit cost analysis will identify the pros and cons of each Shelbourne Option.
All decisions are about the future. Safer, smarter cars will soon be among us. High-end models already have some of these desirable features. Let’s know our priorities and keep the endpoint in mind.