Milford Drive near Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood, a road never intended for commuter traffic, has seen vehicle use increase over the years, as well as speeds. The City will need to address the traffic flow issue soon, with more development coming fast in south Colwood. Joel Tansey/News Gazette staff

EDITORIAL: Esquimalt Lagoon area tragedy waiting to happen

Cut-through traffic in Colwood residential neighbourhood fuels calls for change

Residents along the commuter route that has developed through the residential neighbourhood leading to Esquimalt Lagoon have a legitimate beef about traffic.

No surprise, you say, since for drivers all over the West Shore, looking for different ways to beat the rush – even if only by a couple of minutes – has become somewhat of a bloodsport.

With residential density in the southern reaches of Colwood and Langford continuing to rise, including the buildout of Royal Bay, the amount of Saanich and Victoria-bound traffic emerging from those areas is steadily growing.

For residents of Hatley Drive and Milburn Road, and to a degree, Lagoon Road, their once-quiet residential neighbourhoods mostly attracted local vehicles and visitors not so many years ago. The rise in cut-through traffic is drastically changing their living environment. In combination with commuters from Metchosin, the twice-a-day rumble of vehicles has turned their streets into busy thoroughfares.

One Milburn resident called to say she feared for her safety when walking on the road, with some drivers roaring up or down the hill at 80 km/h or more – in a 40km/h zone. This is not only dangerous on roads not designed for such speeds, it shows a flagrant and ignorant disregard for people who live on these streets.

The same resident noted there are a couple of group homes on Milburn, one of which cares for mentally disabled individuals who are unable to move quickly. She worries that one day these vulnerable neighbours might be the unwitting victims of one of the aforementioned speeders.

Traffic is an ongoing problem for West Shore municipalities, which are grappling with accommodating a fast growing population with little increase in traffic infrastructure in neighbourhoods designated for growth.

This Colwood scenario is just one example of residents being adversely affected by the lack of appropriate planning for such growth, or city planners being taken by surprise at its speed.

We hope City council and transportation planners not only address this situation head on, but think hard about the effects of future development on traffic flows in the area before approving more density in areas with limited routes out for vehicles.

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