LETTER: Speeding drivers jeopardize safety in rural Saanich

There was a very serious single vehicle traffic accident on Oldfield Road at 5 p.m. on April 19. Those on hand have described an alarming scene.

Livable Roads for Rural Saanich (LRRS) is an advocacy group committed to working with Saanich to improve road safety on five roads: Prospect Lake, Goward, southern Old West Saanich, Sparton and Oldfield.

LRRS knows that any accident is investigated on the specific facts surrounding it. Eyewitness reports tell us that speed was a contributing factor in this case. However, it needs to be understood that this is part of a pattern, by some, of reckless, dangerous driving on these roads: southern Old West, Oldfield and Sparton. This behaviour is not an isolated incident. It is simply one of the worst examples of speeding on Oldfield, with a near fatal conclusion. Other drivers and residents were put at serious risk.

Daily, and nightly, residents of these roads experience excessive speed. Since an accident is not always the result, this comes to no one’s attention except the residents. Even when slower, the speeds, in excess of 50 km/h or not, are most often too fast for anyone else to enjoy using the road or to enjoy their neighbourhood. Vehicles often simply do not slow down for other users. This is a subjective but accurate assessment. This is a historical and serious pattern, made worse and worse by the increased volume of commuter and other traffic, often itself at speed and on a deadline, and by the lack of remediation by Saanich.

While LRRS appreciates any work the police do on enforcement, traditional enforcement is not the solution, and this is not the time to repeat again the many reasons we know this to be true.

We are growing increasingly frustrated and angry that residents’ concerns have not been acted upon.

We know that serious problems may finally be addressed on Prospect Lake Road, as a safety audit is now being conducted. These three roads also need some combination of official speed reduction, traffic calming measures, education and a strong message from Saanich municipality that the rural neighbourhoods do matter, in spite of their lower population.

Pam Harrison

Livable Roads for Rural Saanich

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