All roads will lead to safety once Oak Bay implements its Complete Streets policy. Council members endorsed the plan during the committee meeting on Monday night.
“In general our community prefers to live at a human scale, a human pace,” said Gerald Smeltzer, chair of the Oak Bay Active Transportation advisory committee.
Seeing the roads, sidewalks and pathways as public resources for all, the policy will help the district accommodate and encourage safe access and use by pedestrians cyclists and motorists. It will help develop a complete streets network connecting businesses, schools, parks, libraries and other community resources.
“Given the pressures of the projects in our community … now is the time to consider and implement a complete streets policy,” Smeltzer said. “A policy like this is an effective tool for reducing infrastructure costs.”
With a policy, the municipality will be in a better position to access the estimated $53 million in government funding for projects such as the new Oak Bay High, the performing arts theatre, the Neighbourhood Learning Centre and the Bowker Creek restoration projects.
The district missed the boat during Beach Drive work at McNeill Bay, the mayor noted.
“All we did, because we didn’t have this policy in place, was fix the road,” Mayor Nils Jensen said. “We could’ve benefited from all of these multi-modal transportation opportunities.”
The policy passed committee approval in front of a full crowd during the meeting.
“This is an active community and these are some of the issues we’re all thinking and talking about,” said Coun. Cairine Green.
“We, as a community, are going to have a new relationship with our transportation corridor. … We can start to build some concrete projects in our community,” added Coun. Tara Ney.
Next up is developing a working plan and priorities.
“The heavy lifting starts from here,” Jensen said. “I can foresee real strides in this community in the next few years.”