A Saanich woman is thrilled to hear the municipality plans to improve pedestrian safety with a new crosswalk.
“It’s pretty exciting to lobby for something you’re passionate about and actually have it lead to a change, albeit a small one,” said Elanor Teel, when asked about Saanich’s plan to build a crosswalk at the corner of Cedar Hill Road and Doncaster Drive.
According to the notice area residents recently received, work gets underway in January.
Proposed elements include the crosswalk itself, as well as flashing beacons activated by buttons. “So lots of bling,” Teel joked. The plan includes new sidewalks on both sides of Cedar Hill Road and a relocated, improved bus stop nearby.
Teel said “sheer annoyance” inspired her to lobby Saanich for the crosswalk.
Before switching to the University of Victoria, Teel attended Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus for two years. Unwilling to drive her car or take the bus, Teel would either walk or cycle to campus from her home near Uptown, a 40-minute walk or so. “But I love walking, and this is the best route, because it is kind of scenic,” she said.
Teel said she could have crossed Cedar Hill Road where it meets Finlayson, but that would added time to her travels.
She also started to notice that at lot of people cross Cedar Hill Road from the other side of Doncaster Drive on their way to nearby Cedar Hill Golf Course, including seniors with their golf carts, as well as school-aged children on their way from and to class. Wetherby Park, a popular destination with locals, also lies near the intersection.
“I was annoyed personally, but then I realized, ‘wow, there are a lot of people using this exact spot, and I wanted it to make safer,” she said.
So starting in March 2017, she started to lobby Saanich for improvements. She first reached out to Coun. Colin Plant and then councillor Dean Murdock, who in turn put her in touch with Saanich’s director of engineering, Harley Machielse.
“He was really helpful,” said Teel. “He said, ‘we have lots of requests every year, and I don’t know if it will work.’ I said, ‘OK,’ but I kept bugging him.”
This persistence, coupled with Saanich News media coverage, paid off.
“My little sister … she likes walking too, so I’m hoping that she can use this crosswalk to get to school eventually.”