Tag Archives: pedestrian

Securing right of way for Swartz Bay to Downtown trail

Saanich Council supports recommendation to secure land for portion of Interurban Rail Trail
May 28, 2012 CFAX 1070

Saanich Council has voted in favor of a recommendation to request a portion of federal government owned land be secured for the Interurban Rail Trail, should the property be sold.

Saanich Councillor Dean Murdock says Monday night’s vote was unanimous.

“and it was in favor of asking CRD Parks to communicate with the federal government to secure the right of way through the property of The Centre for Plant Health, through their property, so that the trail line, the Interurban Trail Line, can be completed through that section of the property”

Murdock says the area has been identified in the Centennial Trails Project as part of a trail line running from Swartz Bay all the way into Downtown Victoria along Interurban Road.

Saanich residents deserve neighbourhood sidewalks

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release
November 1, 2011

Saanich residents deserve neighbourhood sidewalks: Murdock

Victoria – Saanich Councillor Dean Murdock thinks your neighbourhood needs a sidewalk.

Announcing his mobility plan today, Murdock said quality sidewalks and bike lanes are a priority for most of the Saanich residents he’s met on the doorstep.

“In almost every neighbourhood, in every part of Saanich, people tell me they are concerned about the safety of their kids and elderly parents,” said Murdock. “Walking in the gravel next to a busy road isn’t just intimidating, it’s dangerous. People deserve to feel safe when they’re walking in their own neighbourhoods.”

To address Saanich’s sidewalk deficit, he proposes a 10-year plan to re-invest in sidewalk restoration and installation in priority areas.

“There are a lot of crumbling sidewalks in Saanich, and even more gravel paths where a sidewalk belongs,” Murdock said. “We’ll work with community associations to identify priority improvement areas.”

“Investing in sidewalks and bike lanes is more than investing in concrete and asphalt,” Murdock added. “It’s an investment in a healthier community, climate protection, the environment, safety, and mobility.”

The plan will use development cost charges, provincial and federal infrastructure grants, and the municipal infrastructure improvement fund to upgrade sidewalks and bike lanes over 10 years.

The first-term Councillor is seeking re-election to Saanich Council and a seat on the CRD Board.

Municipal elections are November 19.

A 10-year Mobility Plan for Saanich

Investing in sidewalks and bike lanes is more than investing in concrete and asphalt. Pedestrian and cyclist rights of way allow commuters to travel without an automobile, cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and preserve the quality of our air.

Proper sidewalks allow seniors to safely access goods and services within the community on foot. Sidewalks ensure that our children can reach their schools safely. Sidewalks and bike lanes are an investment in a healthier community, climate protection, the environment, safety, and mobility. It is time for a reinvestment in pedestrians and cyclists by:

– Creating a 10-year sidewalk revitalization plan.

– Working with community associations to identify priority areas for sidewalk restoration or installation.

– Concurrently constructing sidewalks and bike lanes with road improvements.

– Dedicating larger portions of funding to sidewalks and bike lanes.

– Accessing grants from senior levels of government to improve pedestrian and cyclist corridors.

– Redesigning Development Cost Charges to create a municipal mobility fund to construct sidewalks and bike lanes across Saanich and not limited to areas within immediate proximity of new developments.

3-storey commercial building offers early preview of Shelbourne Valley transformation

Signature building to serve as catalyst for Shelbourne renewal
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

While staffers plan out the future of Shelbourne Valley – complete with dense centres and walkable villages – council OK’d what it hopes will be the “catalyst” for that change Monday night.

A small three-storey building – which will house a Vancity credit union, a medical practice and office space – will replace the single-floor dry cleaner and barbershop at the corner of Cedar Hill X Road and Stamboul Street.

Complete with renewed pedestrian walkways, geothermal heating, a green roof and a green wall, council lauded the applicant for collaborating with the community to put forward the best possible proposal.

“They don’t just have an open house and show residents this is what’s going in, they work together with the community to develop something that fits,” said Coun. Dean Murdock.

“This will stand out as the best community development in the area,” Coun. Susan Brice said. “I suspect it’ll be the catalyst to entice other property owners in the area to get moving.”

The building, which was sent to public hearing, includes a 95-per-cent parking variance. (Zoning requires 83 stalls, and only four are proposed.)

Located on the south side of Shelbourne Village Square, there already exists 107 stalls in the parking lot and traffic consultants determined peak parking demand for both the existing mall, which houses Tim Hortons, Macs and Bosley’s Pet Food Mart, and the new building would be 96 stalls. There is also space for roughly 55 cars to park on Kisber and Stamboul streets.

Councillors also commended the applicant’s transportation demand management plan, which includes widening area sidewalks, installing plenty of on-site bicycle storage, building a new bus stop on Shelbourne Street and offering an enticing bus pass program for Vancity employees.

Councillors Leif Wergeland and Judy Brownoff suggested making some design improvements so the non-green walls aren’t so “stark.”

“It’s interesting how these areas and corridors evolve,” noted Coun. Paul Gerrard, “but the one thing they have to have is a signature building. I think this’ll kickstart other buildings to equal it.”

Creating transportation options in large developments

Kicking the car habit
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

Saanich is getting serious about changing the municipality’s current car culture.

Last week, council started the process to create a policy to ensure alternative transportation funding is expected anytime a developer wants a parking variance for a multi-family residential unit in the municipality.

“We want to try to maximize the potential of alternative transportation because (developers are) trying to reduce the amount of parking required, and we want people to be encouraged to move from the default position of always using a vehicle,” said Coun. Susan Brice, who chairs the planning, traffic and economic development committee.

“At this point, where we’re asking developers for just a ballpark amount of money (usually $1,000 per unit), saying it can be put towards transit passes, buying bikes or scooters – I think it just waters it down and we run the risk of having money put into a pot that doesn’t contribute to alternative transportation.”

Coun. Dean Murdock said developments will be judged individually so those in areas well-served by transit and bike routes are given more stringent requirements.

“There are advantages here for council, land-use planners, developers and ultimately the residents, (that will come from) locating these new developments with considerable density in major centres on major corridors,” he said. “The last thing you want to do is contribute to traffic in those corridors. So incentives need to be created for people to take public transit, or cycle or walk to their destination.”

Council has seen transit pass programs, bike purchases, car sharing options and shared electric vehicle purchases as commitments from developers.

“We need to explore the success and challenges that go along with those components, so the proponent (of a development) understands our expectations in advance,” Murdock said.

“That way council can take comfort that the proponent has considered the best incentives to encourage residents to choose alternative forms of transportation.”

The reason this is only now coming to the attention of councillors is because of a shift in the types of development being proposed to Saanich.

“We’re seeing more dense residential development in major centres. When you don’t have the surface available for parking, it means you have to go underground, which is a considerable expense for developers,” Murdock said. “Council can say that we’ll tolerate a variance, reduce the amount of parking stalls, and, in exchange, contribute a portion of the money a developer saves to alternative forms of transportation, so residents will not need those additional parking stalls.”

Brice expects the committee will have a policy outlining guidelines ready for council by late spring.

“Up until now, we’ve been working with goodwill. I think everybody’s been trying to advance the issue but it has to be more than just token. We have to look for ways to quantifiably say this investment is likely to result in a change of behaviour.”

Making sidewalks a higher priority

For the second year in a row, Council increased the sidewalk construction budget by a half-million dollars. This provides a much needed boost to spending to accelerate pedestrian infrastructure projects all over Saanich. The increase in sidewalk spending represents a significant shift in priorities in favour of pedestrian mobility.

Proper sidewalks let people of all ages do more than just get from one place to another. They foster a sense of community. When we go out walking, we meet our neighbours and see and feel the natural beauty that surrounds us here in our community. Walking also reduces our greenhouse gas emissions by letting us avoid using the car. We are much more likely to walk to the grocery store, or just take an evening stroll, if we have a safe and pleasant walking surface.

There are safety and health benefits too. Our population is aging, and many seniors who don’t feel safe on worn or uneven footpaths need a proper sidewalk to stay mobile and healthy.

Serving pedestrians with sidewalks and crosswalks has a much-needed traffic calming effect. Studies have proven that routes with sidewalks, bike lanes, and natural vegetation result in lower driving speeds. Commuters see that our streets are not through-ways or highways, but are the veins of life of our neighbourhoods.

Sidewalk spending is an investment in more than just concrete and asphalt. It means healthier communities, climate protection, better environment, safety, and mobility.

This year’s budget makes pedestrian mobility a greater priority. I believe it is important that Council continues to invest in making Saanich a more walkable community.

Saanich is a great place to live. Let’s give people the chance to get out there and enjoy it!

Cloverdale centre must be pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly

Council tells Thrifty to fix parking-lot plan

Times Colonist
April 17, 2010

A proposed Thrifty Foods expansion at its Cloverdale store needs a parking lot that is more pedestrian-friendly before it’s approved by Saanich council.

“There’s more that could be done to make it inviting for pedestrians,” said Coun. Dean Murdock. Council asked for more ideas on how to mix walkways and bike areas with an expanse of asphalt.

Thrifty Foods wants to expand its store into the space previously occupied by several smaller shops.

The expanded store would be the only business in the complex, on the southeast corner of Quadra and Cook streets at Cloverdale Avenue. The expansion plan presented to Saanich council this week suggests several improvements for bikes and pedestrians, but council wants to see more.

“There’s more that could be done to make it inviting and a destination for pedestrians and cyclists, including benches and water features,” Murdock said.

The application will return to Saanich council, likely next month.

Thrifty’s reno sent back
Keith Vass – Saanich News

Plans to expand the Thrifty Foods store at Quadra and Cook streets are on hold.

Saanich council tabled the grocer’s development permit application to expand its floorspace and add new exterior canopies.

Coun. Dean Murdock, who moved to put the project on hold, said there were no issues with the planned expansion, which will see Thrifty’s displace the small shops that currently share the plaza at 3475 Quadra St.

“There were some efforts to recognize pedestrians and cyclists in the design and configuration of the parking area, but still a number of challenges (exist),” he said.

The grocer has been asked to return with a design that offers better access on foot and bike as well as plans to reduce the need for staff parking.