A group of residents is calling on Saanich for increased safety measures in the neighbourhood.
Speed has long been a concern for those living on Cumberland and Union roads – the site of a fatal collision in September 2019. A petition started by resident Craig Fraser asks Mayor Fred Haynes, council and the engineering department to implement speed control and other safety measures in the area. The petition had 560 signatures as of July 30.
According to Fraser, the residents of Union Road – which lies between Quadra Street and Blenkinsop Road – have been voicing their concerns about “high-speed vehicle traffic” in the neighbourhood for about 20 years.
In the early 2000s, the neighbours petitioned Saanich to address safety issues with no results.
“In the past several years, there have been animals killed, vehicle collisions/accidents and, most tragically, the recent death of Danny Schupbach,” Fraser wrote in the petition statement.
On Sept. 16, 2019, Schupbach, 19, was killed while riding a motorcycle near the intersection of Union and Cumberland roads.
At that time, Fraser told Black Press Media while the speed limit is 50 km/h, drivers pass through at “highway speeds.”
Following that crash, neighbours again approached Saanich for traffic calming measures. Fraser said Saanich has begun a sidewalk installation project in the area but that it doesn’t address neighbours’ concerns.
“Speed humps, stop signs, reduced speed limits and more have been suggested and rejected,” Fraser said.
He feels it’s “only a matter of time before there is another serious accident or fatality.”
Haynes acknowledged the concerns raised by the neighbourhood and said road safety is a priority for council. He added that Saanich recognizes that drivers’ speed and behaviour – which he said borders on “hooliganism” – need to be addressed “especially in our residential neighbourhoods.”
In March, Saanich council agreed to consider taking part in a three-year provincial pilot project to look at reducing residential road speeds to 40 km/h or less starting this fall. Other municipalities – locally and across the province – have also agreed to look at joining the project to take a “regional approach” to speed reductions.
Haynes said he has contacted Saanich police about the issue as well. In 2019, Saanich police told Black Press Media that statistically, the intersection was not considered a high-crash or high-speed zone; a speed assessment conducted in 2018 showed that the average speed in the area was 39 km/h.