Wednesday, February 28, 2024

District of Saanich adopts first-ever active transportation plan


Saanich has adopted its first ever active transportation plan, setting the course for improvements to pedestrian, cycling, and trail networks over the next 30 years.

The plan, Moving Saanich Forward, reached final approval by council on Monday, June 18. It’s the result of 18 months of consultation with residents, businesses, and other levels of government.

“An active transportation plan will help provide a more balanced transportation system, support healthier options for getting around, improve safety for all road users and strengthen community and neighbourhood connections,” said Director of Engineering Harley Machielse.

“We would not have been able to develop this plan without feedback from thousands of residents. We appreciate Saanich citizens taking the time to help us craft this plan.”

Plan establishes vision for increasing active transportation

Active transportation is any mode of transportation that’s human-powered. Walking and cycling are the most popular, but it can include anything from rollerblading and skateboarding to pushing a stroller and using a mobility aid.

“There is a significant demand for active transportation in Saanich,” reads the plan. “Results from the public engagement show that residents of Saanich think active transportation is most important for health, commuting and environmental reasons.”

One of the plan’s goals is to double the proportion of all trips made by active transportation. In 2011, 82% of Saanich traffic was by car, with only 7% by bus, 8% by walking, and 3% by bike.

(District of Saanich)

Moving Saanich Forward includes 19 strategies to promote and develop active transportation in the district, ranging from building more sidewalks and bus shelters, to improving land use to improve connections.

And yes, it also includes plans to build new additions and enhance existing sections of the community’s bike lane network.

“Developing an AAA [All Ages and Abilities] bicycle network was identified by Saanich residents and stakeholders during the Active Transportation Plan engagement process as one of the most important ways to encourage more cycling trips,” the plan reads.

That means Saanich residents can expect protected bicycle lanes, multi-use pathways, and bicycle boulevards as future additions to the district’s transportation network.

The plan also outlines steps for improving and enhancing the district’s sidewalk and trail networks, and for improving transit access.

Myles Sauer
Former staff editor and writer at Victoria Buzz.

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