MLA Adam Olsen agrees with criticism from a local advocacy group describing the proposed flyover overpass at Keating Cross Road and Highway 17 as ‘half a solution.’
“Clearly, the current proposal is only addressing the access of Highway 17,” he said. He made that comment when asked about comments from the Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria, which has criticized the proposed flyover on a number of grounds, including safety.
The comments from the group focused, among other points, on traffic travelling past Keating Elementary School from and to the commercial and industrial areas off Keating Cross Road.
Commercial and industrial traffic heading northbound must detour through agricultural and residential areas (with many passing the school) if they wish to access Highway 17, just as southbound traffic coming off the highway and bound for commercial and industrial areas off Keating Cross Road does.
Olsen has heard from many parents concerned about safety around the school and as far as he is concerned, the overpass addresses only “one of the two main safety concerns” raised in the past.
“It’s clear that it only provides access to one direction,” Olsen said. “There is a geographic reality that needs to be dealt with. I think what is most important is that people who live in the area and are affected by it, participate and have their voice heard.”
The provincial ministry of transportation and infrastructure said in a statement last week that the proposed flyover is the safest option, but acknowledged the safety concerns surrounding the school. The ministry and Central Saanich are exploring other opportunities as part of the project.
“The important aspect of public consultation is that the government takes what it hears and does something with it,” Olsen said. “So if we hear overwhelmingly from the public that their desire is to see that full interchange, then I think that is what the government has to recognize.”
More broadly, he said the current discussion concerning the flyover is only part of a larger conversation about the future of multi-modal transportation on the Saanich Peninsula that also needs to consider financial considerations and changing traffic patterns caused by COVID-19.
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