Sidney Crossing, Sandown traffic impact not connected in studies

Sidney town council concerned two developments’ traffic impacts are not connected, nor studied as a whole.

The proposed Sidney Crossing commercial development. The proposed pedestrian crossing (left) has been moved in the plans to a sport further north.

The proposed Sidney Crossing commercial development. The proposed pedestrian crossing (left) has been moved in the plans to a sport further north.

Two new commercial developments in North Saanich and Sidney could have significant impacts on the amount of traffic on local roads and Sidney town council is hoping that will be studied.

Town staff this week presented their analysis of traffic impacts caused by both the Sidney Crossing and Sandown Commons developments.

On Feb. 22, the Town received a copy of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s acceptance of a traffic impact study completed for the developer of Sidney Crossing back in December of 2016. That study outlined nine main improvements to the road network to accommodate expected traffic increases.

Two days earlier, North Saanich sent Sidney a copy of a transportation review on the impact the Sandown development will have on local roads. That report did not recommend any changes.

In its study of the Sidney Crossing site, Watt Consulting found there could be as many as 1,120 trips during peak hours of operation of the proposed 97,240 square-foot Sidney Crossing.

To accommodate that increased traffic flow, the consultant made nine recommendations, from extending turning lanes on Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) and adding sidewalks, to installing a westbound left turning lane on Beacon Avenue West and realigning Stirling Way to Galaran Road and installing a single lane roundabout.

Under the Town’s memorandum of understanding with the Victoria Airport Authority in relation to the proposed development, Sidney also needed to accept the traffic improvements.

The Sandown traffic report shows peak hour vehicle trips at 1,150. That project will use a left-hand turn from McDonald Park Road and the Pat Bay Highway to access the site, in addition to the existing right-hand exit for southbound traffic. The ministry had indicated upgrades here are not required.

Both Town staff and Sidney councillors are concerned, however, that neither report takes into account both developments happening at the same time. In his report, Sidney’s Director of Development Services, Engineering, Parks and Works Tim Tanton states, “it appears unfair that one developer (Omicron) is fronting all the cost for improvements that will benefit both developments.”

Councillor Tim Chad says nowhere in the Sandown report is that fact taken into consideration.

“Traffic from Sandown will pass onto Sidney roads,” he said.

Coun. Peter Wainwright added that stands out and does seem odd, considering the amount of added trips in both reports. He said it’s not reasonable to have Sidney Crossing people (Omicron) pay for any impacts caused by the Sandown development — especially since Sandown has all of its approvals from North Saanich.

“I want to know, is this going to be a problem?”

Tanton added three parties — the Town, Omicron and the province — could be left holding the bag if proposed traffic upgrades don’t work in accommodating the increased traffic expected form both projects.

Coun. Mervyn Lougher-Goodey noted, however, he thinks most drivers will take the easiest route to and from each development, downplaying any potential impact.

“I figure people will go the easiest way to Sandown and that’s on McDonald Park Road.”

Sidney council received Tanton’s report for information with no further action.