Holding debris from a damaged car bumper, Gerald Donaldson stands near the railing part of McTavish roundabout recently damaged by a vehicle. Donaldson fears flaws in the design of the roundabout threaten pedestrian safety in the area. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Holding debris from a damaged car bumper, Gerald Donaldson stands near the railing part of McTavish roundabout recently damaged by a vehicle. Donaldson fears flaws in the design of the roundabout threaten pedestrian safety in the area. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

North Saanich roundabout remains the object of safety concerns

Resident near McTavish roundabout blames design flaws

A North Saanich man remains concerned about the safety of a roundabout part of the McTavish Road Interchange, a major transportation node on the Saanich Peninsula.

The roundabout just west of Highway 17 links travellers with Victoria International Airport and connects residential neighbourhoods in Sidney and North Saanich on the western side of the Pat Bay Highway with other neighbourhoods in those communities and beyond. It lies just off a transit exchange and connects with another roundabout on the eastern side of the highway. A third roundabout on the western side connects to a transit exchange.

Gerald Donaldson said the recent collision of a vehicle with the north railing of the roundabout underscores the unsafe nature of the traffic circle.

“If I were walking here, I am finished,” he said, pointing to the damaged railing.

Donaldson first publicly raised issue in October 2019, telling the Peninsula News Review he had recorded six hits against the railing. Since then, he has recorded five more. Telltale signs include tire marks on the walkway, debris from fenders, lights and bumpers and displaced pieces of railings.

The damage appears especially prominent near a crosswalk that connects McTavish Road with Canora Road. “We are scared to use this crossing, and God forbid someone is seriously hurt or worse,” he said.

RELATED: North Saanich resident fears for pedestrians near neighbourhood roundabout

While Donaldson is critical of the behaviour of drivers, he also finds fault with the design of the roundabout. “As a former surveyor, the degree of turn (heading onto Canora) is impossible at the speed of traffic.”

Donaldson said the roundabout would be safer if crews reduced the degree of the road’s turn by using some of the central island, but his recommendation has fallen on deaf ears among provincial authorities.

Last week he did hear from North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr.

“He was very nice about it and he said he was really going to try to make an effort to influence the ministry of transport,” said Donaldson.

The ministry of transportation and infrastructure said in statement that all roundabouts are designed and built to engineering safety standards with field tests ensuring that vehicles of all weights and sizes can safely travel through at or near marked speed limits.

The statement said that the roundabout is clearly marked with a 30 km/h speed limit and encourages drivers to obey all speed limits while driving to conditions and educating themselves about driving through roundabouts.

The ministry said the area is not a “collision prone location” with about three to five collisions per year at the three roundabouts.

“We encourage Mr. Donaldson to contact our Saanich Area Office to share and discuss concerns,” the statement reads.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com