Langford must be major player in transportation plan

A Saanich resident writes an open letter to Langford Mayor Stew Young regarding the City and a CRD transportantion plan.

Open Letter to Mayor Stewart Young:

Again I see that your municipality has served public notice that you do not support the efforts by the Capital Regional District to assume a regional transportation function.

As a former Colwood resident I find this response puzzling. Your residents are at the back end of traffic congestion and cannot travel to the major employment and learning centres of our region, or to the ferries or airport without crossing three to five other municipal jurisdictions. How do you intend to negotiate with others and resolve your problems unless we have regional solutions?

As reported I understand your concerns are two-fold; first; a worry about escalating costs by the CRD, and second; an expectation that the road congestion is a provincial matter to be resolved by improvements to provincial highways.

In response I would offer the following:

As to cost, the initial administrative steps will have nominal costs or staffing and the CRD board has proposed a 10-year program to phase in a transportation service, with any possible increased costs to be pre-approved.

While the current regional traffic flow is directed towards provincial Highways 1 and 17, a regional transportation plan must identify the need and funding for municipal arterial roads. To your credit, this is something both Langford and Colwood have done, and except for the Douglas corridor, all other municipalities have failed to make similar investments outside of three bridge replacements. Most other municipalities are giving higher priority to traffic calming.

Apart from the need for arterial routes, the OCPs of several key municipalities have failed to deal with traffic congestion and safety for such pinch points as Interurban/Helmcken roads, the Island View Road left turn lane in Central Saanich and Beacon Avenue in Sidney, all of which can only be done in conjunction with others.

Given that residents, commercial vehicles from the West Shore, and tourists are stalled in traffic jams en route to the airport, ferries, etc., how do you expect to serve your own residents if you refuse to participate in regional solutions to traffic flows or a shared approach to expanding transit or introducing rail?

Doing so only delays any progress in this regard, despite projections of daily peak movements to increase regionally by 150,000 trips in years to come.

James Anderson