Rural Saanich residents can expect a safer commute as the District of Saanich moves forward with a new light-controlled intersection concept at the West Saanich Road, Prospect Lake Road and Sparton Road intersection. The new concept comes after public input was gathered for the proposed update.
The concern over rural roads has been common among Saanich residents.
In June 2018, Livable Roads for Rural Saanich among other groups voiced their concerns to the Saanich Council the public heard from the group that several rural roads in the northwestern corner of Saanich, including Prospect Lake Road, were never designed to handle the speed, volume or size of traffic currently seen.
Livable Roads for Rural Saanich, “is grateful it is being dealt with now. It is an essential point solution for a very dangerous intersection on a truck route near a school.”
The West Saanich Road intersection has been notorious for causing road issues among residents and motorists as it lacks proper bike lanes and sidewalks.
The district chose the new traffic light after a call for public input in November 2019. The initial consultation for the intersection improvement gave residents a choice between a traffic light and a roundabout. According to an engineering report, the traffic light could cost the district $1.6 million, while a roundabout could potentially cost $1.7 million.
A total of 231 residents responded to the district and recommended further changes to the intersection concept. The intersection research memo speculates that although a roundabout would cut down on car emissions, surveyors opted for a traffic-light controlled intersection due to a familiarity with a light-controlled concept.
Among a new traffic light, the district will also add a wider concrete path, 13 angled parking spots on Sparton Road, additional parking in front of Prospect Lake Park, a cycling lane that would allow cyclists to merge onto Sparton Road and improved crosswalks.
The district believes that the new traffic signal will improve traffic by limiting the impacts to the surrounding businesses and create a safer area for pedestrians and cyclists.
Construction is set to begin in fall 2020.
-Files from Devon Bidal and Wolf Depner