The elimination of rumble strips from the Burnside Road West improvement plan received a sigh of relief from the cycling community in the area.
Many residents voiced their apprehension about the planned rumble strips, since the road is already narrow. The district reviewed this feedback and decided not to move forward with that part of the project.
The project still includes repaving the road, replacing a roadside barrier and adding additional signage near West Burnside and Prospect Lake Road.
Saanich resident and road safety advocate Shawn McKean said this is not enough to improve the overall safety of the road.
“I live on Prospect Lake Road, between Munn Road and West Burnside. We don’t have a network of other roads or trails to travel on. There is absolutely no alternate, safer route for cyclists and pedestrians to access outside of the neighbourhood,” she said.
She also added that this road is known in the community for its blind corners, often taken too quickly by motorists. McKean expressed disappointment in the lack of infrastructure to support those who choose active transportation.
“All we’re asking for is when Saanich develops plans that they start learning how to look at these proposals through a person not in a car,” she said.
McKean and her husband are both cyclists and have scaled down to one small car to lessen their impact on the environment.
McKean said more residents of Saanich and Greater Victoria would embrace active transport if they felt they were safer on the roads.
Coun. Zac de Vries said part of the problem is that many proposed solutions for road safety are very urban-oriented, even though Saanich is half urban and half rural.
“Appropriate solutions are needed in the rural context, too,” he said.
Former Saanich councillor Dean Murdock, an avid cyclist, added the design and rules on roads should create conditions where everyone can safely, comfortably and conveniently get from point A to B.
“Some changes to the road design and reducing the speed would ensure people can move around safely and wouldn’t discourage them from travelling on foot or on a bike,” said Murdock.
He also emphasized that this call-to-action is not meant to inconvenience drivers, but rather, to prioritize the safety of the district’s most vulnerable road-users.
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