Moving Saanich Forward will guide the district’s active transportation decisions over the next 30 years. A series of open houses will be held in Saanich over the next two weeks. (Saanich News file photo) Moving Saanich Forward will guide Saanich active transportation decisions over the next 30 years. Its draft plan is currently undergoing review. District of Saanich

Saanich moves active transportation plan forward

Report includes 19 recommendations to improve walking and cycling in Saanich

Saanich residents would like to see some 200 kilometres of additional sidewalks, many in residential areas.

That is one of the findings emerging from the latest Moving Saanich Forward report released last month. It presents the draft of the long-term plan that will guide Saanich’s planning for active transportation, such as walking and cycling for the next 30 years and beyond,

Saanich launched this project under the title of Moving Saanich Forward in late 2016 through the spring of 2017 with an end date of Spring 2018.

“The sidewalk [issue] is a key thing that has come up,” said Coun. Judy Brownoff, chair of Saanich’s planning, transportation and economic development committee, when asked which of the findings surprised her.

Brownoff said the report wants to make sure Saanich residents will be able to use active forms of transportation safely and conveniently, whenever they step out of their homes.

“Yes, there will be always be car drivers,” she said. “But if you make these alternative forms of transportation [walking, cycling, and public transit] accessible and convenient, people will slowly start to use them,” she said.

The report organizes its recommendations under three headings – connections, convenience, and culture – and notes many Saanich residents are already using an extensive network of sidewalks, multi-use pathways and trails, and bicycle facilities. “However, there are a number of gaps and barriers in Saanich’s existing active transportation network.”

A lack of sidewalks can discourage people from walking as they are forced to walk on the street or on unpaved areas beside the street. “This is not only less accessible and desirable, it can also be unsafe,” it reads.

The report also recommends improvements to Saanich’s existing bicycle network of over 130 kilometres in identifying “significant gaps in the existing bicycle network as well as many areas with no bicycle facilities.” While Saanich is a bicycle friendly community, Brownoff said the long-term goal of the plan is to develop a network that would be suitable for persons aged eight to 80.

The report also calls on Saanich to improve local transit access.

“There are several reasons why integrating transit with walking and cycling is important, including the fact that most people using transit are accessing it by foot or by bicycle,” it reads. “As a result, improving access and connections to transit for people walking and cycling and improving the customer experience at bus stops and exchanges can help to not only promote transit but also to encourage more walking and cycling.”

The report also calls on Saanich to make active forms of transportation more convenient. “People walking, cycling and using other forms of active transportation typically travel shorter distances than people driving or using transit,” it reads.

The report, accordingly, underscores the importance of land use, asking Saanich to support higher density and mixed use developments offering more destinations within shorter distances.

“Areas that contain a mix of commercial, institutional, and recreational uses, allow residents the opportunity to ‘live, work, and play’ in the same area and to move between activities conveniently on-foot, bicycle, or transit,” it reads.

The report also calls on Saanich to develop a culture that encourages Saanich residents to use active forms of transportation through education and awareness. Active transportation is also about changing life-styles, said Brownoff.

Members of the public can comment on the draft online until Dec. 8 following open houses held last month. Staff will then review and refine public input over the winter, with final adoption and implementation scheduled for the spring of 2018, which also when the public will learn about costs.

While Brownoff said it is too early to comment on costs, she would like to see Saanich adopt a balanced approach when it comes to adopting recommendations.

Just Posted

CRD tightens leash on dog walkers

Five regional parks in Sooke now have new restrictions on dogs

Group seeks compassionate recognition for Sooke

A local peace advocate group is aiming to get Sooke recognized as… Continue reading

Suman, mom of Reena Virk, has died

Mother of 1997 murder victim became an activist against bullying

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

Fire in Sooke hills park likely caused by campfire

Crews currently focus on hot spots

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Car Free YYJ, family fishing, Sooke bluegrass, walk for cancer and a mascot’s birthday

WEB POLL: Would you be in favour of a ban on plastic straws?

Would you be in favour of a ban on plastic straws?… Continue reading

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Search for capsized fishers near Tofino enters fourth day

“There’s a lot of shock in the community in terms of how we could end up at this place.”

Most Read