Cyclists share the road with vehicles along the Shelbourne Road corridor in Saanich. Surveys show residents would like to see the road widened

Saanich residents call for wider Shelbourne Street

Thumbs-up for bike lanes, but not at expense of traffic flow

If consensus created the most viable results, big changes would come to Shelbourne Street.

Instead of a narrow four-lane road, with pencil-thin sidewalks on either side, most Saanichites would prefer four lanes for vehicles plus wide sidewalks, bike lanes and grassed buffers.

The widened road – increasing from its current 20-metre right of way to 26 metres – would require Saanich to make big investments, buying street frontage along kilometres of Shelbourne to make that dream a reality.

But until it can do that, a friendlier corridor will remain a dream deferred for the foreseeable future.

“We’re not going to be able to satisfy everything that everybody wants,” said Harold Stanley, a Saanich planner who’s taken the lead on the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan. “The crux of the whole thing is trying to incorporate the different forms of transportation into the narrow right of way.”

The plan has set out to create a 25-year vision for the four-kilometre stretch of Shelbourne Street north of Hillside Centre.

Of the 334 people who gave feedback online and at open houses late last year, the majority supported keeping the street four lanes for vehicles, with the majority preferring a wider road for bikes and better sidewalks.

To widen the street, Saanich would need to purchase land from property owners along Shelbourne, which could take years. It would be a willing seller, willing buyer process.

“When we identify several homes that we would like to convert to either park or road, we don’t go down the street and simply force the purchase,” Mayor Frank Leonard said in an interview earlier this year. “We approach the homeowners and say ‘If and when you’d like to sell, we’d like to be the first in line.’”

In the meantime, Stanley points to positive feedback on creating a north-south “greenway” using designated side streets as a cycling thoroughfare, similar to what is seen in Vancouver.

“Obviously the cyclists would prefer to have bike lanes or a cycle track with buffers on Shelbourne, but based on how we would probably get that, with redevelopments, it’s going to take quite a long time,” Stanley said.

Also covered in the Action Plan survey are questions about building height and development setbacks in the targeted urban centres. Saanich aims to create a dense urban core at Feltham Road, McKenzie Avenue, Cedar Hill X Road, and near Hillside Centre.

“We’re trying to densify the villages and centres in the valley,” Stanley said. “People would hopefully spend more time in each centre with regards to getting everyday goods and services, as well as employment opportunities. Density cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions – people don’t have to travel far, so we’re trying to incorporate transit, cycling, walking into the valley as much as possible.”

Stakeholder meetings on the Action Plan are continuing, but Stanley hopes to have a completed draft plan presented to the public in the coming months. Once more feedback is received, he hopes the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan will be before Saanich council in the late fall.

“We heard quite loud and clear when we started off on this plan that the status quo is not working (along Shelbourne Street),” Stanley said. “If we don’t do something to fix it now, the issues and problems –  bad architecture, traffic issues, the lack of infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians – will probably get worse. We have to get something done now to address all these issues.”

To see the survey or to view the plan so far, visit saanich.ca/business/actionplan/shelbourne.html.

 

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Derelict trimaran removed from Oak Bay waters

Boat has been aground near Oak Bay Marina for over five months

Victoria Board of Education reviews its catchment boundary plans this week

Following consultation process, SD 61 ready to recommend shift in school learning lines

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Province funds $88.6M for two new schools in Langford by 2022

Langford gets 500-seat elementary school and a 700-seat middle school

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read