Last week, after much compromise, the Capital Regional District board decided to move ahead with creating a Regional Transportation Service.
While the motion was originally put forward by View Royal Mayor David Screech, the number of compromises made to get approval left him expressing his frustrations on Facebook. Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton was also quick to voice her concerns against service.
After the CRD board meeting, she decided to take matters into her own hands, sending a letter to all of the other mayors on the West Shore and in the core. She also sent the letter to Premier John Horgan and the new minister of transportation and infrastructure asking that everyone sit down together to discuss finally getting priority bus lanes on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The reaction on social media was mixed, with a number of residents singing praise and others frustrated with a lack of infrastructure for the thousands of cars that travel into town every day.
But to us, a move to priority lanes for high occupancy vehicles seems like an obvious choice, one we know local politicians such as Hamilton have been calling for for years. Yet, the province refuses to fund them, even with the McKenzie interchange project finally under constructions.
While we have the wish list out, adding a contraflow lane – one that can be used in the morning commute into town and switch in the afternoon for the commute out of town – also seems like a wise investment considering the amount of development on the West Shore.
Yes, it will take a serious shift in residents’ commuting mentality, but as more buses and car pool vehicles continue to pass those stuck in traffic, a shift will occur. With more ridership – and funding – B.C. Transit will also be able to expand its routes and properly service the West Shore, and hopefully the rest of the region.
For those that need their cars during the day, traffic would move quicker as less cars are on the roads in general.
But if the province doesn’t work with local stakeholders to get congestion on the TCH under control now, the region will quickly outgrow any solutions the McKenzie interchange would bring, possibly before it’s even completed.