MEDIA: Flyover proposed for Central Saanich ‘safest option’ according to ministry: Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria calls for full movement interchange, Black Press, Mar. 10, 2021. LINK: https://www.vicnews.com/news/flyover-proposed-for-central-saanich-safest-option-according-to-ministry/
Grumpy Taxpayer$ wonders why the province is proposing to build half of a Keating Cross Road overpass,when no taxpayer would accept building half a sewer treatment project or half a McKenzie interchange.
It’s clear there’s an absolute and urgent need for the flyover interchange: It was a dangerous crossing when the highway was built in 1966; remediation is 55 years overdue. But, some are worried that any objection could delay the project – a half solution is better than none.
Are we prepared to accept a half a solution, a decision impacting the entire region for decades to come?
A Highway 17 Planning Study prepared in 2014 identified two designs. Concept 1 with the flyover Keating westbound traffic coming off the Pat Bay and Concept 2 to address eastbound Keating traffic heading north on the Pat Bay. The report says, “It should be recognized that Concept 2 was the preferred concept identified by Central Saanich and the Highway 17 Joint Peninsula Taskforce.” Yet, only half of the flyover is now proposed.
Why was Concept 2 not proposed for discussion? Why is a full movement interchange not the primary consideration?
Keating Cross is the primary access for major tourism attractions, (one million people annually just visit Butchart Gardens), and it’s home to half of all manufacturing in the region which promises to be an economic growth engine for years. That said, northbound industrial vehicles, semi trailer transports, tour buses, and private vehicles are routed through residential streets to get to the Island View intersection.
Are we restricting the growth and prosperity of the regions by making road access difficult?
The most disconcerting impact is that increased heavy traffic is now routed past the Keating Elementary school. Truckers will tell you, it is an accident waiting to happen. How many millions have we spent, and rightly so, to make our schools safe. Facing the potential of untold tragedy involving children, who among us want a ‘half a solution’ decision on our conscience.
Do we ignore the safety of our school children in transportation planning?
The report concludes: “Consistent with the local area plan aspirations, the Keating overpass structure could accommodate bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect the eastern and western areas of the District.” The half a solution approach defers these necessary improvements.
In 2019 the province estimated the cost of the flyover at $44 million split between three levels of government. But, any additional costs for a full flyover is nominal when considering its importance to regional transportation.
Considering what’s at stake, is this the best place for half a solution?
Grumpy Taxpayer$ raise these concerns as part of a bigger issue – ineffective governance, incomplete public consultation, and failure of the CRD to establish a regional transportation authority.