Central Saanich’s recently approved active transportation plan aims to improve infrastructure to encourage more trips by residents on foot, by bike or transit. (Adobe stock)

Central Saanich’s recently approved active transportation plan aims to improve infrastructure to encourage more trips by residents on foot, by bike or transit. (Adobe stock)

Central Saanich gets in gear for increase in active transportation

Improvements to pedestrian, cycling and transit infrastructure in the works

The move to get residents out of their vehicles and onto their bikes, onto the bus and taking advantage of walkable environments around Central Saanich has taken another step.

The district has adopted its inaugural Active Transportation Plan, a guide designed to be a road map for the creation of a connected system where residents can safely make more trips on foot, by bike and by bus.

The plan includes new infrastructure, programs and policies that aim to target such community priorities as road safety and crosswalk improvements, safer school zones and addressing gaps in the network. The plan drew on input from more than 700 residents, whose responses to an online survey helped identify key themes.

Improving active transportation infrastructure was also one of the most important issues identified by respondents to the district’s recent community satisfaction survey – it topped the list for new services residents would be willing to pay for through increased property taxes.

“Active transportation is a priority of the community and council,” Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said in a release. “It offers significant benefits for us as individuals and for our community, including being an integral part of meeting our climate action goals, our health and quality of life.”

RELATED STORY: Central Saanich surveys residents’ thoughts on active transportation plan

Pedestrian safety is front and centre for future infrastructure improvements announced in the plan.

New routes proposed include multi-use pathways on Mt. Newton Cross Road from East Saanich Road to Highway 17, and on lower Benvenuto Avenue connecting Wallace Drive to Butchart Gardens; roadside pathways on Central Saanich Road south of Mt. Newton and along Hagan Road. A new crosswalk on Wallace Drive at Willow Way and improvements to the Keating Elementary crosswalk are also in the works, along with sidewalk connections on East Saanich, Wallace and Saanich Cross Road.

Cycling infrastructure plans include new dedicated lanes on Wallace Drive from West Saanich Road to Stellys Cross Road, and East Saanich to Prosser Road, plus additional bike parking facilities. Improvements are also planned for 17 bus stops around the municipality.

Implementation of the plan begins with the Benvenuto pathway and new bus stops, while the staff incorporate other elements of the plan into Central Saanich’s long-term financial plan, to come before council later this year.

The district’s Climate Leadership Plan has a goal to see 50 per cent of commuter trips made by foot, bike or bus by 2050, up from the current rate of about 14 per cent.

ALSO READ: Saanich Peninsula watershed among those being monitored for drought by province


 

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