A slew of new road safety upgrades are on the way for Saanich’s Prospect Lake Road following a number of serious collisions in the area and increased community concern.
On July 16, the District of Saanich announced improvements planned for the rural road, based on recommendations that came out of a road safety audit conducted in March. The District budgeted $50,000 for the project, a collaboration with ICBC and McElhanney Ltd., a third-party contractor.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said such extensive reviews aren’t done for all areas, but Prospect Lake Road was chosen because it’s “an accident-prone corridor.”
ICBC crash data shows that nearly 90 collisions on the road were reported between 2014 and 2018. There were also three crashes in an eight-day span in the fall of 2019, including a Sept. 30 incident that resulted in the death of 51-year-old motorcyclist Jon Kocsis. Saanich requested the road safety audit through ICBC shortly after.
“We heard the concerns from the community relating to safety on their roads and proactively did a careful review of the area to see if improvements could be made,” Haynes said.
The results of the audit were laid out in a July 10 report, along with a series of recommended short-, medium- and long-term improvements to be made to improve the safety of Prospect Lake Road in the next five years and beyond. The success of the audit, Haynes said, is due in part to the “valuable feedback” from residents.
Short-term improvements – changes to be made in the next year – include improving existing signage and street markings, installing new signage where needed, reducing the speed limit from Estelline Road to Goward Road to 30 km/h and adding a center-line rumble strip near Munn Road.
The report also suggests reducing traffic to one direction near Calvert Pond by narrowing the road to increase safety and calm traffic. Haynes called this an “innovative” approach to traffic calming that is used extensively in Europe but has never been done in Saanich. Drivers will be asked to yield for oncoming traffic in the area, a move Haynes said will make the road safer, reduce speeds and increase travel time on Prospect Lake Road. He hopes that last point will direct more traffic back toward the highway.
Medium and long-term changes include improving sightlines, adding more effective reflective markings, extending the center-line rumble strip, improving the intersections of Prospect Lake and Munn roads and Prospect Lake and West Burnside roads, installing a shoulder or widening the road and adding further traffic calming measures.
Jeff Shaw, director at large with the Prospect Lake District Community Association, said locals have been calling for safety improvements for years and will be “pleased with the outcome” of the audit. He expects the speed reduction to be implemented by the end of the summer and other short-term improvements to come over the next year.
Other road safety improvements already underway in the area include the reconfiguration of the intersection of Prospect Lake, West Saanich and Sparton roads.