What are the problems?
Saanich’s Active Transportation Plan Update goes before Saanich Council for approval on December 4. Capital Bike would like its members to consider communicating opinions on this update to Saanich Council. The Saanich Local Area Committee of has written a response (below) which will be submitted to Council, but your support would strengthen our position.
We are asking Capital Bike members residing in Saanich to write to Saanich Council to support our position. You can do so by sending an email to Saanich City Council.
If you mention that your email is in regard to the ATP Plan Update item on the December 4 Council agenda, your email will be included in the public record.
In May of this year, we submitted a brief to Saanich staff regarding a draft of the Update. None of our recommendations, including fairly small additions to fill in cycling infrastructure gaps, found their way into the final version.
The final version of the Update is posted in a place on the Saanich website and is difficult to find. It is not posted on the “Active Transportation Plan” page. It will appear online along with Council agenda materials, but we don’t expect this posting to be up until Thursday, November 30. In the meantime, it has been posted under the agenda materials for the October 26 meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (this version is missing updated maps). Check out the Plan:
- The document is long and contains a lot of positive language for rationale and general goals.
- The main issues revolve around the actual proposed implementation plans.
- The description of the actual project plan starts on page 113 (page 132 of the PDF).
- Table 5 is the most important piece.
For any questions, contact us:
Capital Bike Response to Final Version of the 2023 Active Transportation Plan Update
We endorse the goals articulated in the 2023 draft of the Active Transportation Plan. They articulate to the wider community why active transportation is so important to the health and well-being of the residents in Saanich and to the mitigation of climate change. The Plan will also help Saanich meet its ever-important climate objectives. We hope that a correct reading of these goals would lead to an AAA network within 400 m of all destinations within the urban containment boundary.
We thank the municipality for all the work done since the approval of the 2018 plan, both for the projects completed under the scope of that plan, and additional projects completed in response to emergent needs. We also appreciate our partnership with the district of Saanich in our efforts to develop the health of the cycling community.
Although we do see this plan as a significant step toward a safer and more convenient cycling experience, we do see gaps in the proposed implementation details.
- We think having an interconnected network, allowing for uninterrupted journeys, is important. We take note that the City of Victoria has built out a well connected all ages and abilities (AAA) network over the course of 5 years and we have seen that this network has vastly improved cycling patterns in the core.
- We would suggest that the language of Action 1A.6 be changed to reflect the importance of AAA infrastructure with the following addition, “Continue to develop a complete and connected bicycle network within 400m of all destinations for people of all ages and abilities.
- Special attention should be paid to portions of journeys where cyclists are forced to merge with traffic or dismount to avoid “kill zones”. There are instances where fairly short additions would vastly increase the value and safety of the emerging network.
- As an iteration of the Capital Projects Guide which is already done, we would like to see an annual project list reporting on the past year’s successes and the plans for the forthcoming year.
- We are not completely satisfied with the pace of construction. It is not clear to us, given the build rate in the short-term and medium-term project categories, that the envisioned network can be completed by 2050, in other words, nearly 3 decades (a full generation) from now.
- We would have liked to see more attention paid to rural Saanich. We hope to see a strong strategy be developed as part of the Road Safety Action Plan. We think that traffic calming can be a major part of the solution here.
Capital Bike believes that the District of Saanich has the opportunity over the next decade to be a leader in the adoption of active transportation infrastructure in the region. Although we think this ATP falls short of achieving this goal, we are looking forward to seeing if Saanich will make up the difference by leveraging the time and energy available while developing the Road Safety Action Plan and making good use of other resources available for addressing emergent needs.
Chair, Capital Bike Saanich Local Area Committee
Co-chair, Capital Bike Advocacy Committee