Traffic in our region is a problem. And, without a thoughtful action plan, it’s only going to get worse. During peak travel times, our major corridors are heavily congested. As we continue to grow, traffic is going to get worse – a lot worse. According to CRD forecasting, congestion will increase by 300 percent in the next 20 years. We must take action now to avoid a traffic nightmare that reduces everyone’s mobility.
Saanich’s official community plan (OCP) identifies five major centres where we will concentrate future residential density and commercial services. This is our blueprint for locating future growth. It also allows us to plan for improved mobility between the centres to avoid further traffic congestion. What we’re missing is an action plan.
Creating a Mobility Action Plan would be logical and easy. Based on our centres and on our major transportation routes we have an ideal framework. The Mobility Action Plan would put our future land uses together with designs for rapid transit, pedestrian, and cyclist corridors to connect the five centres and downtown.
The OCP also identifies neighbourhood centres, villages, and a rural village. The Mobility Action Plan would connect these areas with dependable transit service and pedestrian and cycling corridors.
A Mobility Action Plan offers many benefits for residents and the environment. Enhancing our transportation system with rapid transit, dedicated transit corridors, frequent and dependable service, and connected pedestrian and cyclist corridors will provide everyone with the transportation alternatives that are so desperately needed for journeys to work, to shop, to schools, and for social purposes. It will also move us toward our greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 33 per cent by 2020 and ensure that we avoid the environmental, social, and economic costs of traffic congestion that plagues so many other urban centres.
No one wants to wait in traffic on their daily travel, or to have their mobility restricted by a lack of alternatives that meet their needs. Let’s seize the opportunity and create a Mobility Action Plan and transportation network that will enhance Saanich residents’ lifestyles and serve our region with quality transportation alternatives for decades to come.