Saanich residents feel generally safe using roads in Saanich, but this feeling is waning.
According to the Saanich Citizen Survey, 86 per cent of respondents said they either feel “safe” (57 per cent) or “very safe” (29 per cent) when using Saanich roads. Fourteen per cent said they feel “unsafe” (13 per cent) or “very unsafe” (one per cent).
The report notes that overall resident perceptions of road safety have worsened in 2019, as the share of residents who rate roads to be “safe” and “very safe” has dropped five per cent from the last survey conducted in 2015.
This quantitative finding appears against the backdrop of a narrative that has raised questions about road safety in Saanich following various incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists on one hand and vehicles on the other.
They include among others the Ash Road collision in December 2017 that left now-12-year-old Leila Bui in an unresponsive statement and the October 2017 death of Khushal Rana, who was walking to work on Gorge Road, when a vehicle struck him. (He died days later, leaving behind a four-year-old son, and a wife, who later gave birth to twins). And the death of a 62-year-old woman in early February following a collision in Saanich’s Gordon Head neighbourhood.
The issue of road safety emerged as a municipal election issue, with several candidates calling for measures such as lowering speed limits and enforcement to improve safety.
Other findings of the survey conducted between Jan. 21 to Feb. 1 also speak to the importance that Saanich residents attach to road safety. Nine per cent of respondents identified traffic or congestion as the most important issue facing Saanich, tied for second with the environment, behind housing (22 per cent) and seven per cent of respondents identified road safety as the most important issue facing the municipality.