Saanich crosswalk (photo courtesy District of Saanich)

LETTER: Saanich walks the talk on safety improvements

Summer is in full swing and as the temperature increases, so do the number of residents who are enjoying the great outdoors. Whether it’s by bike, on foot or otherwise, Saanich is taking steps to ensure your safety through infrastructure improvements.

Did you know last year Saanich built the most crosswalks we ever have? That’s right – 16 to be exact. Families can now cross Shelbourne at Torquay to get to Gordon Head Recreation Centre and Lambrick Secondary School, and many walking/cycling groups are taking advantage of the Blenkinsop crossing at Judge Place.

Another way we’ve been walking the talk on safety is by installing leading pedestrian intervals at crosswalks. This means when you push the ‘walk’ button, the signal will allow more time for pedestrians to cross before traffic can progress forward. These have been installed at 15 intersections and later this year we’ll add six more. Adding time for pedestrians at signals is a great safety measure, but too many times I see people walking at night wearing all dark clothes. I suggest adding some contrast to your fashion by wearing at least one light-coloured piece of clothing for visibility.

Our region is a dream location for cyclists and many use this method of transportation year-round. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just getting started, there are routes for everyone, and we all want to be as safe as possible while we’re at it. It’s crucial that we all follow the rules and respect each other’s rights as set by the Motor Vehicle Act. This especially includes slowing down as a driver, making sure it’s safe to pass, and then passing safely. If the road is hilly or curvy, wait until you can see far enough ahead. And when you’re cycling, please, signal your intentions, have lights on your bike, and be predictable.

Guided by our Active Transportation Plan, we spend about $2 million each year making improvements on bike lanes, sidewalks and other projects. We design our cycling infrastructure to be suitable for all ages and skills, so get moving and have fun.

Fred Haynes

Mayor of Saanich