Shelbourne is a major access route into and out of my neighbourhood and for the many businesses that exist along it, and it is critical that it continue to have two lanes in each direction. To suggest that reducing it to one lane will not negatively impact traffic is patently false, as years of experience in Vancouver have demonstrated.
It is like suggesting that people will be better off financially if they have less money. The number of trips might be reduced, but each of those trips accomplishes something, which is why it is taken. Reducing the capacity of Shelbourne will either cancel those trips, diminishing the quality of life those trips would have contributed to, or force people to take them over alternate routes at higher societal cost, again diminishing quality of life. Taxpayer resources should be spent to improve and enhance the community, not to take a step backward and tear down existing infrastructure capability.
Victoria’s hodge-podge traffic network, a consequence of our geography, is remarkably functional considering the irregularity of our roads and intersections and mixed use. But it’s on the precipice and it would not take much to push it over into Vancouver-esque congestion. Every step that diminishes capacity, like a population increase or single-laning Shelbourne, brings us closer. Terms like “road diet” are marketing fluff that try to dupe unsuspecting readers into buying a false premise.
Before it makes any sense to reduce Shelbourne to single-lane traffic, other infrastructure (e.g. transit) must be in place first, and that would require enormous improvements to the transit network currently in place.
The responsibility of civic administrations charged with transportation infrastructure (and other areas) is to enable the people to conduct their ordinary lives and business, not to impede and inhibit them for doing so.