Transportation Task Force meeting with Central Saanich Staff – Feb/23
This is a report of the meeting that took place February 28, 2023 with Dale Puskas, Director of Engineering
We presented vehicle and pedestrian safety concerns related to the intersections at Mt. Newton/Wallace and Mt. Newton/E. Saanich, as well as Wallace/W. Saanich. With regard to the former, staff indicated that they are well aware of issues related to Mt. Newton/E. Saanich and the relatively high volumes there. They have been considering options for the first two in tandem as any changes to one intersection will impact the other.
For example, if stop lights are installed at E. Saanich, eastbound vehicles stopped for the light will very likely create a backlog (?) extending to and possibly through the intersection at Wallace. A roundabout is not feasible at E. Saanich because there is not enough land available, particularly to accommodate large trucks and buses.
One of the solutions that they are considering is eliminating the right and left turn lanes, but maintaining the four way stop. This will increase safety for pedestrians and also eliminate confusion for drivers who are trying to figure out who is next in the sequence. Pedestrian activated yellow lights might be considered but they have the effect of adding to the visual confusion for drivers who have to process a lot of visual cues as they navigate the intersection.
Some minor changes will be made to the block between E. Saanich and Wallace over the next year or so, including adding a sidewalk on the north side and eliminating the hedge. This work will take place in conjunction with the building of the new building on the NE corner of Mt. Newton/Wallace.
With regard to Wallace/Mt. Newton, we noted a significant number of near misses with regard to pedestrians at that intersection. We asked if there was a way for residents to report near misses and the response was pretty much: no there isn’t because they already get an awful lot of calls about other matters. We pointed out that a tree at the SW corner shades/hides pedestrians and staff said they’d look in to whose tree/what can be done. They also said that proposed redevelopment at the NE corner would see elimination of a problematic hydro pole. Some of the problems are due to W. Saanich being wider than normal. This would make it a possible location for a traffic circle, which we didn’t oppose, but pointed out that finding the location of the crosswalks can be a problem for people with visual impairment.
Staff invited us to look at the Active Transportation Plan on the District website and noted that the current Transportation plan is over 20 years old and that they are starting the work to bring it up to date, referencing all modes of transportation.
Submitted by the Transportation Task Force – Kealey Pringle, Cheryl Upright, and Pieta VanDyke