Hard to be hopeful about latest rail plan

Alternative to Colwood Crawl still desperately needed

While some local politicians are cautiously optimistic about the future of commuter rail in the region, skeptical and cynical might be better terms to describe how many West Shore residents are feeling.

We can’t blame residents for being slightly jaded. Multiple announcements in recent years from the E&N rail bed’s owner, Island Corridor Foundation, have promised passenger rail service from Langford to downtown. Not only is such service still absent here and elsewhere on the Island, there’s been little to no sign of the critical track upgrades needed to move any project forward.

The latest proposal from prominent developer Ken Mariash has caught the attention of many – especially those desperately seeking an alternative to the Colwood Crawl. It’s promising to say the least, but many hurdles must be tackled before trains would start running from Langford to Victoria.

To make this work, major stakeholders such as the City of Langford, the Town of View Royal and others must sign on to support the new service. One such player that has so far been noticeably quiet about the proposal is BC Transit.

With rail left out of the plan for the new Johnson Street bridge, passengers arriving in Victoria West would either have to walk into town or find other transportation to their final destinations. Getting BC Transit – or another service provider – on board with shuttle services or adjusted bus routes seems critical to securing the ridership numbers needed to make this latest plan a reality.

With the footprint of the new Mackenzie interchange project growing daily and the relentless population growth on the West Shore, the pressure to reduce vehicle traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway is increasing.

Given the time it takes to plan such ventures, it may be a while before we know whether this new rail proposal will succeed or fall flat.

One thing is for certain, it’s an attempt to come up with a long-term plan for what is currently a wasted transportation corridor. If it fails, municipal officials should perhaps work with the ICF to rip up the tracks and use the corridor for priority bus lanes.

Just Posted

One year later, life is much different in Saanich for the Bui family

‘We still hear cars screeching at the intersection,’ says mom of Leila Bui

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Sidney

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Fairfield computer store faces $20,000 loss to burglary

Thieves broke into EB Computers on Sunday morning

Save-On-Foods fills up the pantry of Jeneece Place

Retailer stocks up kitchen of local facility for the fourth straight year

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

VIDEO: Newcomers join favourites in rounding out Sunfest’s amazing lineup for 2019

The Washboard Union, Cody Johnson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Aaron Goodvin: it just gets better and better

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Sea Kings’ final flight holds special meaning for Vancouver Island family

Dozens of people turn out with family of pilot to wave farewell to Sea King helicopters

Retailers feel the squeeze of their generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Most Read