Elise Cote holds her daughter, Lucia, while going over the events of Tuesday’s collision at Tillicum and Davida roads. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Crash renews Saanich residents’ concern about safety on Tillicum Road

‘These streets are not just traffic arteries, but arteries for families’

Saanich residents living near Tillicum Road are asking the District solve to the traffic issues and protect pedestrians following another collision.

Elise Cote was walking home with her children on Tuesday when she saw another crash had occurred near her home. Saanich police explained that a driver rear-ended a stopped car, knocking it off Tillicum Road and into a pole on Cote’s neighbour’s property on Davida Road.

Cote was upset; this time, no one was injured, but she walks her children past that spot every day.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened and Cote feels it won’t be the last. Fender benders and collisions are common in areas where the traffic arteries like Tillicum Road meet community side streets, she explained.

According to ICBC statistics, between 2013 and 2017, there were five collisions at that intersection – four of which involved casualties and fatalities.

Cote loves her neighbourhood because it’s walkable, but it’s become so unsafe that her partner would rather she drive the children to school than risk walking.

Several Saanich councillors have come by to talk to Cote and see the issues, but she said nothing has changed.

Cote feels that ignoring concerns around Tillicum Road is “unacceptable.” She and her neighbours are calling on Saanich to prioritize “vulnerable road users.”

“These streets are not just traffic arteries, but arteries for families,” she said.

Cote feels a “road diet” would help solve the problem. Currently, Tillicum Road has two lanes in both directions and no cut out turning lane. She would like to see one lane in each direction as this would control traffic, reduce passing-related accidents and make room for bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

She also hopes for more side streets to be closed at one end to eliminate high-speed through traffic.

Cote hopes that in the short term, Saanich will work with the province to reduce speeds on arterial roads and side streets and have police enforce speed limits.

Fellow concerned residents Charity Millar and Lauralee Wood agreed as they also walk and bike in the area while taking their children to school. Both emphasized the need for better street infrastructure.

Cote says she complained to the District by email in the past and spoke to the Saanich Engineering Department as directed. A file was started but nothing was done.

Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson for the District, said Saanich has not received a formal complaint.

“We wouldn’t be able to comment until our staff have been able to investigate,” wrote McLeod in a statement.

McLeod also pointed out that the Saanich Active Transportation plan includes many projects destined to be completed throughout the District “to improve the comfort, safety and enjoyment of residents.”

Some roads in the Gorge-Tillicum area were included in the Saanich Active Transportation Plan, but Cote feels the scope needs to be broadened as the number of young families, cyclists and pedestrians in the neighbourhood increases.

Cote said she will continue to lobby the councillors who’ve been by and work with the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association. She hopes her presence and continued use of active transportation despite the dangers will send a message to leaders.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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