Brakes put on Granite Street stop sign

Oak Bay staff reject call from residents to erect a stop sign at Granite Street and Victoria Avenue

A stop sign is “not warranted” at Granite Street and Victoria Avenue, according to municipal staff.

Residents of the area sought to create a three-way stop at the intersection, citing traffic, parking and pedestrian concerns along Granite from Henderson to Foul Bay.

At a committee of the whole meeting a year ago, council of the day made several recommendations addressing traffic issues raised then by residents of south Oak Bay. Last May council directed staff to bring forward a report to Committee of the Whole with respect to the potential installation of a three-way stop at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Granite Street. The report from staff received April 20 reflected that request.

While residents who attended were disappointed at the ‘not warranted’ result, they were happy to learn that Oak Bay is contemplating funding a consultant to establish a Complete Streets Program and a Traffic Speed Study to address a variety of concerns throughout the municipality.

Former mayor Diana Butler, among the concerned residents, said she hopes those who live in the area will “have real input” on that traffic study.

Staff reported they have done six traffic counts in the past six years, four on Granite and two on Victoria, and monitored speed during those counts, on both sides of the sloping road. They found that 85 per cent of drivers were travelling at 41 km/h or slower (the posted speed limit until recently was 50, it is now 40 km/h). They saw no congestion.

According to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada, all-way stops are warranted when traffic volumes on all intersecting roads are generally equal and the combined pedestrian and vehicular volumes on the minor road average 200 per hour for an eight-hour period.

At this intersection, the staff report said, the volumes entering are relatively equal at about 1,300 per day, with 70 to 80 vehicles at peak hours, suggesting it doesn’t meet the criteria and an all-way stop is “not warranted”.

 

 

Parking variance accounts for ‘worst-case’ scenario

Council, sitting as committee on April 20, approved what seems on the surface like a large parking variance. They were taking into account the worst-case scenario for parking at a new business proposed for Oak Bay Avenue.

A proposal for a coffee shop at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Hampshire Road – in a 1913 building that currently houses five commercial and eight residential units – would need a parking variance. The site officers 11 parking spaces behind the building. Jesse Owen proposes to operate a coffee house within one of the commercial units, changing the historical use of the space and triggering a review of the site’s non-conforming status for parking requirements.

For general commercial use, Oak Bay’s parking bylaws would require a commercial unit of similar size to provide five off-street parking spaces. As a restaurant use it would require six off-street parking spaces, resulting in a variance of one parking space.

Staff and the applicant both pointed out that the property is in the centre of Oak Bay Village where on-street parking is available; in a high pedestrian area; and has nearby public transit.

Rather than simply offer that one-time variance, staff suggested, and council agreed to a 52-space variance.  Considering the age and history of the building, staff suggested a parking variance for the site as a whole, recognizing existing on-site parking and minimizing future parking variance potential as commercial units change use.

The parking facilities bylaw would require, should all commercial spaces be filled to the “worst-case scenario” of parking at the site, 63 spaces. This variance, and others agreed to by committee during the meeting, require public notification prior to being subject to approval by council.

 

 

A taste of recreation

Sandi Piercy was elected as commission chair and Chris Smith was elected as commission vice-chair of the Oak Bay Parks and Recreation Commission for 2015 during an April 1 meeting.

 

More than 200 people applied for 55 summer staff positions at Recreation Oak Bay. Summer camp interviews are done and the practical night portion of the process was held on March 31 in the indoor sports field.