A letter sent by Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps sparked a lot of debate last week by local politicians and West Shore residents alike.
In the letter dated Jan. 25, Trevena said while the ministry is continuing to look at the E&N Corridor between Langford and Victoria as a possible way to improve transportation in the region, it might not be the answer everyone is looking for.
“This work is complex and restarting rail on this corridor may not be the quickest way to address the gridlock that we see today,” she said. “In the interim, we are accelerating the implementation of bus lanes along the Trans-Canada Highway to provide immediate relief to the current gridlock.”
While local politicians and residents on social media agreed that work needs to be done first on the Trans-Canada Highway, there was much debate as to what that work should be.
Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton noted more work needs to be done to encourage residents to get out of their own vehicles and onto public transit.
However, some residents were skeptical BC Transit would be able to meet the demand or that buses would be able to move fast enough to draw people away from their cars.
Langford Mayor Stew Young suggested widening the highway with extra lanes to accommodate the traffic traveling to and from the West Shore.
That idea was popular with a number of residents, some even suggested utilizing the space in the middle of the highway.
Some residents also suggested that if a commuter train along the E&N corridor isn’t feasible, then run buses to get them out of traffic and moving faster. But at the end of the day, residents just want to see some alternative to the highway.
No West Shore traffic debate would be complete without a renewed call for more government offices and employment options on the West Shore.
But unfortunately, it doesn’t look like a solution to the crawl will be found and implemented any time soon.