Gathering all the key players to discuss the daily commuter crush on the highway was an accomplishment in itself, said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton.
“It’s the first time in my experience I can recall getting everyone in the same room at the same time,” Hamilton said regarding a meeting to discuss traffic solutions for the Trans-Canada Highway. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
The meeting, which took place at the B. C. Legislature Monday, included Minister of Transporation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena, MLA Mitzi Dean, and a collection of mayors and representatives from Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Esquimalt, Victoria and Saanich.
Premier John Horgan also joined the discussion after a attending another meeting.
“We’ve had 10 years of studies that say the same thing,” Hamilton said. “The common thread is that we need to fix the TCH for public transit. You can’t get people out of cars if you don’t address transit, and you can’t do that without fixing the TCH. The people in the room get it because they live it and drive it.”
Hamilton believes the quickest solution for now is to do the work required to enable transit buses to run along the shoulder of the highway, aided by strategic cut-ins that allow priority crossing at traffic lights. “It may not be the best solution, but it starts the process of changing the behaviour of drivers,” she said. “Buses will never be a solution for everyone, but this would be a cheap solution to show the nine to five commuters and students to see there’s a time benefit.”
Because the TCH falls under provincial jurisdiction, having Dean, who also sits on the Treasury Board, and Trevena involved in the discussion is key, Hamilton said. “I think the minister gets it, and we have her commitment to ensure that it’s looked at in detail. We don’t need more studies, we need the work to begin.”