We, an assembly of road users in the District of Saanich, have drafted this letter urging Mayor and Council to treat road safety as an emergency. We call on Saanich to take immediate, wide-scale action to prevent further deaths and injuries on our streets.
Every person outside of a motor vehicle is a vulnerable road user. Regardless of their transportation choices, most residents of Saanich are vulnerable road users at times. We believe that safe roads benefit all residents, and we stand united as pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
Generations of underinvestment have led to dangerous street infrastructure in every area of Saanich, both urban and rural. Rapid, district-wide changes are needed to remedy these dangers. However, Saanich continues to prioritize the speed and comfort of motor vehicle traffic over pedestrian and cyclist safety. As a result, residents in every neighbourhood fear for their lives and wellbeing, and vulnerable road users continue to be needlessly injured and killed.
The impacts of climate change are escalating, and meaningful climate action requires an urgent shift toward active forms of transportation. Inadequate pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is the most critical barrier to achieving this shift. Saanich can encourage active transportation by providing safe and accessible infrastructure district-wide.
We call on Saanich to treat road safety for vulnerable road users as an urgent issue requiring rapid, district-wide changes. Saanich should firmly commit to Vision Zero and embrace the infrastructure changes that would make it a reality.
We call on Saanich to rapidly build out a district-wide network of safe infrastructure using strategic road closures, filtered permeability, and street design changes. Saanich should employ low-cost, quick build solutions to accomplish these aims.
We call on Saanich to expedite the move to a 30 km/h speed limit on all residential streets, as endorsed by Council in the spring of 2021. Residential streets where drivers continue to travel in excess of 30km/h should be modified to reduce driver speed.
We call on Saanich to provide all arterial roads with complete sidewalks and protected cycling lanes to protect vulnerable road users. Arterial roads that cannot support these upgrades should cease to be arterial roads and should be redesigned to reduce vehicle speeds and volumes.
We call on Saanich to thoroughly investigate all injuries and deaths on our roads and for this process to result in rapidly deployed changes and upgrades to prevent further incidents. We call for an outcome-focused investigative process that centers on increasing the safety of vulnerable road users.
We call on Saanich to always prioritize the safety and convenience of vulnerable road users over the speed of vehicle traffic across the District. Residents of Saanich have had enough. It’s time to end injuries, death, and fear on every street in Saanich.