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

Feasting geese concern farmers

For farmers on the Saanich Peninsula, cereal crops like corn are starting… Continue reading

Cycling Without Age raises funds for program

Free rides for seniors coming to Sidney

Feast of Fields settles in for the summer of 2018

Vancouver Island Feast set for Kildara Farms in North Saanich on Aug. 26

An upstart ferry company might be a Malahat alternative

A new ferry service might alleviate Malahat congestion. Dogwood Ferries is a… Continue reading

Have your say about how Central Saanich grows

Upcoming open houses will affect long-term community plan

New stage highlight of Brentwood Bay Festival

Peninsula Country Market vendors and music accompany start of summer celebration

Sidney painter also a preacher

Patrick Chu opens new studio; off to China this month

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

Baseball HarbourCats sit at .500 heading into Bend road trip

Port Angeles wins two of three in weekend WCL series in Victoria

Weekend book sale at Nellie McClung library branch

All books free Sunday afternoon, with a $10 admission

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Aboriginal leaders say federal government needs to pitch in too

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Most Read