Improvements to the intersection of Cadboro Bay road and Thompson avenue are on the way.
Limited visibility, inadequate crosswalks and traffic speed were all concerns that had been brought up by the public and council alike.
“Some serious incidents occurred earlier in the year,” said Coun. John Herbert.
An independent consultant was hired to conduct a traffic study and came up with three options for improving the intersection.
Option one would add a curb extension at the southeast quadrant of the intersection, realign the existing crosswalk, add a bike lane on Cadboro Bay road and extend the sidewalk on Thompson avenue 50 metres, at an estimated cost of $47,500.
The second option served as an extension of the first, and would streamline westbound traffic on Thompson avenue, add two more crosswalks, and lengthen the southbound left turn lane on Cadboro Bay road. This would change the intersection into a more traditional three-way intersection with significant safety improvements, at an estimated cost of $135,500.
The final choice council was given was to install a roundabout, which after considering bike lanes, residential driveways and bus traffic, was deemed not feasible.
Dave Marshall, director of engineering for Oak Bay, presented the traffic study to council, and explained that if it accepted the recommended first option, it would not preclude further upgrading in the future. He described the options as stages, rather than as distinct choices.
“Fiscally (option one) is achievable,” he said. “You can build on option one, and you’re not throwing away any of your work.”
Coun. Michelle Kirby was strongly in favour of committing to building a traditional three-way intersection right away to increase safety.
“Given how close it is to the school, we can only encourage kids to walk and cycle if safe infrastructure is in place,” she said. “It just simplifies it for pedestrians and cyclists. I really think it needs to be done.”
Coun. Kevin Murdoch had concerns about committing to spending more than double the cost of the first option for upgrades that could prove unnecessary, and noted that it addressed nearly all the safety concerns.
“What if there’s something else that $90,000 could go toward in a year or two?” he asked.
Coun. Pam Copley agreed with Kirby’s comments on safety, and suggested that council could accept option one with an amendment to continue to monitor the intersection and revisit the possibility of option two within one or two years, instead of leaving it indefinitely.
Option one was referred to the budget committee for 2015, with the amendment that traffic and safety would continue to be monitored at the intersection and the possibility of upgrading be revisited within two years. Murdoch, Copley, Herbert and acting mayor Cairine Green passed the motion, with Kirby opposed.