Moving forward on cycling and walking
When I chaired the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Committee the committee had been working with engineering to define what "proper" pedestrian environment should be, in the villages. Benches, yes, garbage cans, yes, safe sidewalks, yes, and regular maintenance of any overgrown shrubs, yes ... I am quite sure we will see the benefits of updating our pedestrian priority tool. (This picture is the start of Saanich's Family Bike Ride on Shelbourne - 700 participants first year!)
A table "Commute to Work" highlighted where we have come in Saanich. For instances, in 1996 5.3% walked and 3.8% rode their bike. By 2006 numbers had increased to 5.7% walked and 5.3% biked. The CRD does an Origin and Destination Survey and this work shows if we are succeeding in getting more people moving about other than in a car.
There is a lot of talk around investing, prioritizing and development cost charges to help pay for more.
The facts are Saanich has a cycling and sidewalk priority list for each mode. Based on adopted plans including Local Area Plans. Saanich currently has a municipal wide development cost charge for cycling infrastructure and sidewalks where defined (ie majors and collectors).
The real issue is that we have updated our Pedestrian Priority tool and it includes more areas of evaluation including walking to centres, state of the sidewalk, walking to transit and much more. This tool allows Saanich to fine tune investments.
In fact, with this new tool, even some residential roads will be targetted for sidewalks. The original Pedestrian Priority tool was developed and adopted in 2006, and a lot has changed in Saanich since then, and I want to continue to promote a walking culture, especially to those major centers.
I think there is an opportunity as well, to work with current and new businesses moving into the centers, to look at going back to delivery service. I remember a long time committee member, who passed away a few years back, and who rode a scooter, always talking about how when he worked in Ottawa he took transit everywhere and the stores delivered! Something old needs to become new again.
Stay tuned for more information on walking and cycling in Saanich.
Below is some information that may be helpful around cycling in and around Saanich.
Cycling in Saanich
Cycling Contacts and Links
Connector route or extensions::
Street condition or hazards::
Lochside Regional Trail Condition/hazards:
Saanich encourages and supports the use of bikes on all Municipal roads, and has adopted a Commuter Bicycle Network to identify streets which will eventually be modified to accommodate cycling. Saanich also has a Bicycle Advisory Committee, made up of interested citizens, the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, and Municipal staff from Engineering, Public Works, Planning and Police.
Go to Saanich Website to view the Cycling Network Map
Local Connector Routes
A local connector route signifies a bicycle route within a neighbourhood for local residents that links major neighbourhood amenities such as parks, schools and other institutions and services, or links to regional trails or other external destinations. These routes are intended for the recreational or inexperienced cyclists, and also cyclists who seek a quieter route which avoids major roads.
Local connectors are often indirect routes and are located on low traffic volume streets. Generally, there are no road improvements associated with the designation of a local connector route.
Local connectors are designated in the Local Area Plans when identified and approved by Council. The local connectors are indicated with yellow signs as shown on the right. The symbols are located on sign posts along the local connector route. Arrows denote the route direction, especially at intersections where it will indicate if the route continues straight or turns.
Saanich has designated a number of commuter bicycle routes which provide for direct access within and through the municipality to link major employment destinations. They have higher volumes of vehicle traffic and are intended for the experienced cyclist.
Bicycle Touring Route
The Saanich Bicycle Touring Route circumnavigates the Municipality of Saanich. Wherever possible, it follows the Galloping Goose or Lochside Regional Trails; elsewhere it uses rural or residential roads. The eastern section offers spectacular ocean views; the northern section passes Elk and Prospect Lakes, both with excellent swimming and picnic facilities; to the west are rural undeveloped forested areas and farms; the southern section follows the Galloping Goose Regional Trail overlooking the Portage Inlet.
The total circle route is approximately 45 km, but cyclists preferring a shorter route may follow a smaller loop by taking any of the many other bicycle routes within Saanich. Bicycle symbols on a bright yellow back-ground clearly mark the route direction as it passes through Saanich.
Galloping Goose Regional Trail
The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is an off-road multi-use trail system along an abandoned rail right of way. The trail serves a variety of users from all age groups, including walkers, cyclists, and roller bladers and accommodates strollers and wheel chairs.
The Lochside Regional Trail begins at the Switch bridge and travels north to Sidney and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.
In 1999 Saanich constructed a bridge crossing over Blenkinsop Lake. The bridge design incorporates features to protect the valued environmental and ecological features of the lake.