I moved to Shirley in 1993. We used to go to downtown Victoria, at least, two times a week. We treated the Colwood crawl with a sense a humour for years.
I drove truck in Vancouver, Toronto (and southern Ontario) and Seattle at different times during my working career. Over the last 25 years I have watched the traffic crucible into Victoria get worse, with no vision or remedy.
It seemed that the Victoria engineers, planners and governance were on a campaign to discourage traffic downtown – bike lanes that make no sense, lack of left turn lanes on major thorough fares with timed traffic lights to facilitate traffic movement, designated traffic lanes that make no sense and no reversible lanes. I go downtown maybe once a month, only if I can’t get what I need on the West Shore.
Victoria in not the quaint imitation British village in the hinterland of the British Empire that was once perceived. It is a medium sized international metro area that can’t govern its integral parts. Each municipality is a fiefdom in and of itself.
The E&N isn’t rapid transit. In 1993, there was the Bud car to Duncan gone shortly there after. Can the tracks support a faster noisy version of the Bud car from Langford to Esquimalt? Wait, it can’t go downtown, no tracks on the bridge boondoggle. Sorry, train enthusiast, steel tracks on ground level won’t do and a Sky Train version is really expensive, steel wheels on steel tracks are noisy (I was a Carman Mechanic for the CPR), and then there is the problem of people leaving their cares/cars in Langford to ride to where again? Perhaps, Stew Young can make some money for building car parks and/or garages tied to the E&N?
Traffic is indeed a regional problem, it will take a regional view to come up with ways to accommodate traffic and/or move people. What ever we do, it needs to be unique, perhaps even a tourist attraction. So, perhaps it is time for a Flash Gordony idea – tear up the present E&N tracks and build an overhead monorail with a paved trail and bike lane underneath. A monorail similar to the one in Seattle – faster, quieter than traditional rail. Much of it can be prefabricated, erected and bolted in place on poured foundation blocks.
You would have a high speed monorail in both directions from Langford to a terminal in Esquimalt with bus connections to where you need to go.
P.S. You could run it down Highway 17, to downtown.