École Willows Elementary parents hope to see Oak Bay consider the Cadboro Bay corridor from Foul Bay to beyond the school in next year’s budget.
They’re looking for “a corridor that works for everyone,” says parent and spokesperson Roy Brooke.
The roadway is already looking at upgrades south of the school.
Oak Bay is crafting a plan to embark on bike lanes from Foul Bay Road to Bowker Avenue, with a proposed completion date of summer 2018. As part of the Bowker building at Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road, Abstract Development put $100,000 toward work on that intersection. It was identified by the community early in that discussion as a major safety concern and Oak Bay plans to implement changes with those funds.
“It struck a number of us that there’s no sense having a good intersection floating in a sea of garbage,” Brooke said.
The Cadboro Bay Road corridor includes wide corners and bad sight lines from Estevan Road right through to Fort and Foul Bay, Brooke notes, saying it’s not “encouraging” for the young or elderly walkers or riders. Then there are the two schools, with 2,000 children in a 650-metre stretch.
“You have all of the kids squashed into an area and the infrastructure has to reflect that,” Brooke says.
Traffic, pedestrian and cyclist movement is particularly challenging on Cadboro Bay at Willows school during drop off and pickup times.
“The community has identified traffic as being a high priority and I’ve observed traffic flow issues in that area,” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties, Oak Bay Police Department. “I’m encouraging parents who drive their kids to school to consider dropping them off a bit further away, if their child is at a stage where they can safely walk. This would help reduce the chaotic drop off and pick up situation at the school.”
He recommends commuters find alternate routes that don’t require transiting through a school zone.
“We continue to have a high visibility presence in the school zones throughout Oak Bay but changing behaviour can take a multi-pronged approach so we’re very pleased to work with the PACs,” he said.
Brooke would like to see the cars, bikes and pedestrians of all ages share that stretch of roadway that currently feels unsafe for many demographics.
There were 25 collisions reported between October 2015 and October 2017 in the area from Foul Bay Road and Cadboro Bay Road to the 2700 block of Cadboro Bay Road (the Thompson Avenue area), says school liaison officer Markus Lueder. “Personally I think that is quite hefty and so any improvements that would encourage road safety would be very worthwhile.”
Looking at the local interest in that area, and at the regional lane upgrades and installation in adjacent Victoria, the PAC feels now is the time to look at the entire segment.
“I’d like to see Fort and Foul right through to Uplands considered, with the best infrastructure for drivers, walkers and cyclists alike implemented,” Brooke says.
“It doesn’t have to be expensive to be safe,” Brooke said, noting concrete planters properly placed can have an effect. “Painted lines do nothing for encouraging people who would otherwise not cycle.”
Later this month, Grade 5 students at Willows will get in on the project. PAC representatives will bring Abstract Developments and architects working with them alongside a representative from HASTe (Hub for Active School Travel), will present the class with some outlines of safe concepts and what makes them safe.
Then the class will walk the road itself. “They’re going to come up with their own designs that would work for everybody,” Brooke says.
He hopes to have students develop plans that would make everyone from their younger siblings to grandparents feel safe on the corridor. The students will bring those ideas to council “as those directly impacted by the infrastructure.”