EDITORIAL: Pristine roadway is not a speedway

Long term plan needs to be considered for Ocean Boulevard

Much was made in the “outside world” about the recent closure of Ocean Boulevard in Colwood – the strip of road separating Juan de Fuca Strait and Esquimalt Lagoon.

Particularly stormy weather that tossed logs onto the road caused the City of Colwood to close the area to vehicle and pedestrian access for several days until it could be cleaned up. City crews did a good job clearing the debris once the storm subsided, and restoring the road’s shoulders to allow walkers room to coexist with the many vehicles that use the road.

The mess caused some people to question whether the City should permanently close the road. Such a move likely wouldn’t sit well with morning commuters from Colwood and Metchosin, who regularly use it as a short cut. Traffic is like water, it flows wherever there is an opening, and these folks are trying to save time by entering Island Highway at the north end of Ocean Boulevard, instead of wading into Sooke Road traffic at Metchosin Road, or using Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and travelling through Langford to get to Highway 1.

Ocean Boulevard, again, the section that runs through the pristine combination of bird sanctuary and beach, was never intended to be a commuter road and using it as such is not a sustainable plan. Not only is the speed limit along that stretch just 30 kilometres per hour, the greater community uses the area as a place to connect with nature, not mingle with steel-encased commuters aiming to beat the rush by a few minutes.

While we in this part of the world haven’t yet been forced to pull up our waterfront stakes and relocate to higher ground due to rising sea levels, that section of road may one day be largely covered with water at high tide, especially during the winter. That may be a long way off, but Colwood has to think about such things when planning for the future of that route.

Not to mention that when the Royal Bay development comes on stream it’ll add more vehicles to the mix in south Colwood. No doubt the City will encourage drivers to use Latoria Road and Veteran’s Memorial to reach the TCH, but many will try Metchosin Road until they’re convinced it is no faster.

We’re not calling for Colwood to close the actual ocean section of Ocean Boulevard, but it’s definitely a problem that needs some kind of long-term solution, well before Royal Bay gets built out.

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