You’ve been there. Waiting in traffic for what feels like ages to get in and out of Victoria on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The phenomenon is referred to as the “Colwood Crawl,” but it doesn’t actually run through Colwood.
Former Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton said she thinks the term was coined around 2009 and stuck around because it’s one of the more catchy nicknames for the traffic snarl that keeps people waiting in their cars for close to an hour most days.
“It rolled a bit easier than what we like to refer to as the Malahat Mess, the Langford Languish, the Saanich Snarl, the View Royal Vortex … they settled on the Colwood Crawl,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton noted her work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in the past years has identified that the traffic issue isn’t directly in Colwood. She said it has just become one of those terms that will be hard to shake until transportation isn’t a problem anymore.
Hamilton said a lot of the traffic problems start before Langford and continue on due to various issues such as overpass lanes that drivers use to skirt around traffic, or points of converging traffic.
And while the highway doesn’t run through Colwood, Hamilton said the traffic problems get pushed out to neighbouring communities when drivers use smaller neighbourhood roads to try and surpass highway traffic.
“They’ll go twice the distance dipsy-doodling just so they don’t have to stop,” Hamilton said. “I’m not sure how many cars they beat at the end of the day but they think it’s faster.”
Hamilton said it wouldn’t hurt for municipalities to have a larger, overarching plan for roads and access. However, she said when there are so many partners working together, it can get tricky. “Municipalities, at the end of the day, have rule over their own roads.”
Hamilton also said a big reason for traffic issues is the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road.
“I don’t know that we’re going to get away from that, I don’t think we’re going to have families choosing to live in condos downtown,” Hamilton said. “And yet we need to service downtown in a way that keeps traffic moving.”
She’s hoping that there will be continued interest throughout the region to collaborate on what solutions to traffic problems might look like.