Two-way debate at forum

Beacon Avenue the subject of a traffic direction forum Oct. 8

Nick Coates

By Tim Collins/Contributor

It was all the rage during the 1980s and ‘90s to streamline traffic flow by moving to the creation of one way streets, according to Steve Duck of the Sidney Traffic Improvement Group (STIG). But applying that concept to the one way section of Sidney’s Beacon Avenue was the wrong way to go.

“The whole concept was uninviting,” said Duck. “It was a concept made popular by traffic engineers who wanted to move as many cars as possible through a city as quickly as possible. That’s not what Sidney’s main street should be about.”

Duck pointed out that municipalities right across North America have been reverting back to two-way traffic in their commercial areas. That’s why the group has been lobbying town council to reconsider the choice made back in 1996 that led to the current one-way thoroughfare in the heart of downtown.

The question has been under review for some months. Early in 2013, a traffic study was commissioned by council and conducted by Victoria’s Urban Systems. That study was sent on through the Community Development Committee to council and included the statement that “the one-way section of Beacon between Fifth and Second Street was counter-intuitive and did not appear to enhance the mobility of the area.”

It was suggested that public consultation be held on issues which included the two-way /one-way question for Beacon Ave.

Council, however, declined to call for public consultation, instead voting unanimously to refer the issue back to administration for a report to be considered as part of the town’s Strategic Planning Session, slated for October 24.

That isn’t good enough for Duck’s committee of concerned businessmen. They are hosting their own business consultation at the Mary Winspear Centre on October 8, at 4:30 PM where they hope to generate significant support for the change.

“The current configuration is hugely unwelcoming to visitors,” said Scott Hoadley, a member of Ducks organization of concerned businessmen. He points to the fact that traffic coming off the Anacortes Ferry should be a prime source of visits to Sidney’s downtown businesses. “Instead we give them the option of turning left to go to straight to Victoria. If they do turn right and come to Sidney we slingshot them around our main street and out of town as fast as possible. It makes no sense,” said Hoadley.

Of course not all the literature supports the return to two-way streets. For example, the 2012 Thoreau Institute report on the issue concluded that “one way grids and one-way couplets are a superior method of moving people and vehicles” and that “the idea that pedestrian-friendly design can be enhanced by creating more pedestrian-deadly environments is just a planning fantasy”.

“The question for us shouldn’t be how fast we can move people down the main street,” said Duck. “We want visitors to slow down and to enjoy our town, and see what we have to offer.”

As for the contention that there may be an increase in pedestrian/vehicle collisions, Duck isn’t convinced. “What’s the first thing your mother taught you,” he said. “Look both ways before you cross the street … We’re a pretty bright group here in Sidney. I think we can remember that.”

Material made available by Duck’s organization estimates that the cost of reverting to two-way traffic would be approximately $60,000, and would include items like signage, line painting and the reconstruction of sections of corner “bump-outs”. The group maintains, however, that they are not proposing any changes to street parking, streetscapes or sidewalks, crosswalks or special events like the Summer Market.

“All of that would be maintained,” said Duck. “Change scares some people but all we want is to what’s best for Sidney. The question for us shouldn’t be how fast we can move people down the main street. “We want visitors to slow down and to enjoy our town, and see what we have to offer.”

A copy of the Urban Systems traffic study can be found at www.sidney.ca/Assets/Engineering+Services/Downtown+Traffic+Movement+Study.

 

 

Just Posted

For Central Saanich couple, fight against MS is a matter of family

Altenkirks sell greeting cards and wooden bowls to raise money for MS Society

Victoria feels the pinch at the pump as gas prices jump 18 cents

Gas up to 157.9 cents per litre at some stations

Oak Bay win first Bridgman Cup since 1973

Annual UVic event is an indicator for coming South Island finals, Island finals and provincials

‘Panda’ Goodlife runner searches for his head

Facebook post for help leads to ‘unconfirmed panda head sightings’

Saanich staff recommend rejecting ALR exclusion of former Royal Oak golf course

Finial decision rest with Agricultural Land Commission

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Most Read