EDITORIAL: Rethinking our transportation

Infrastructure upgrades in Canadian cities were made with one mode of transportation in mind: the car

Our cities are changing.

A couple of decades ago, any infrastructure upgrades in Canadian cities were made with one mode of transportation in mind: the car.

With some exceptions, if roadwork or a major construction project didn’t help improve vehicle transportation, it likely didn’t get done.

Much of Colwood’s existing infrastructure is evidence of that. Along many of the city’s major streets and thoroughfares, sidewalks are either on a single side of the street, non-existent or glorified shoulders that double as places to park. All in all, it makes for a less than inviting experience for pedestrians.

Cyclists are a little better off in some areas, but in others they are more or less shoved to the side of vehicle lanes.

Across North America, we’re seeing a rapid change in the way we’re looking at cities and transportation. The car, while an important aspect of that, isn’t the only consideration when building out new streets, lanes, avenues and boulevards.

Mixed-mode transportation routes were a key component of a recent City of Colwood event that featured planning expert David Witty, but truthfully the City had already recognized that on its own. The Royal Bay development area was praised by Witty for that, with well-designed roads featuring inviting sidewalks and bike lanes. If proper planning continues, then the Royal Bay community is sure to be much friendlier for those who want to get around on foot or by pedal.

The bigger challenge lies in updating the city’s existing infrastructure to meet those evolving needs. The Metchosin Road upgrades are a nice start, but more work will need to be done before Colwood becomes a true mixed mode transportation community.

Clearly, Colwood’s next decade or two are critical for its future, and the municipality has a tremendous opportunity to become a true gem within the region.

To accomplish that, it’ll need to continue driving (cycling, walking, skipping, whatever their choice) down this road toward modernized transportation infrastructure.