The recently unveiled South Island Transportation Strategy aims to reduce vehicle dependency in the region by focusing on improving and expanding current transit and active transportation options.
Of the more than one million trips taken daily by people in the capital region, almost 70 per cent are either as a driver or passenger in a private vehicle. And with South Island population expected to increase by 23 per cent in the next decade, it’s important to think ahead, stated the province in a Sept. 18 news release.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is working to implement short-, medium- and long-term improvements. They include adding electric vehicle charging stations, bike lockers at community locations, developing new park-and-ride stalls in the capital and Cowichan Valley regional districts; encouraging the growth of inter-regional trails in the CRD and CVRD, adding bus lanes to the Old Island Highway and improving transit stops serving Indigenous communities.
By integrating park-and-ride facilities, bike and pedestrian trails with transit service at regional hubs, the province hopes to make outlying, less expensive areas of the region more accessible, therefore creating more affordable housing options.
As work on the strategy gets underway, the ministry plans to continue improving the safety and reliability of provincial highway infrastructure. Continued investments in active transportation are a top priority, the release stated, and the ministry will ensure roads, bridges and interchanges are designed and built with the safety and convenience of people walking, cycling and wheeling in mind. About five per cent of all daily travel within the CRD is by bicycle.
Currently, work is advancing on the proposed Hwy. 17/Keating Cross Road flyover project, the Leigh Road/Hwy. 1 four-laning and median barrier project and on Hwy. 14 near Sooke.
For an “immediate, positive impact to transit” the ministry is looking at adding transit queue jumper lanes along the Hwy. 17 corridor. As a medium-term improvement, officials are looking at expanding transit priority lanes on Hwy. 1 toward the West Shore, building on the almost five-kilometre bus lane corridor along Hwy. 1 and Douglas Street.
To read the full strategy visit bit.ly/2FUxmyZ.