Greater Victoria residents are once again being asked to identify the capital region’s worst sidewalk.
The two winners of the photo contest, sponsored by pedestrian advocacy group Walk On, will each net a $50 cash prize, but it’s mostly just a fun way to promote safer sidewalks around the region, says an organizer.
“The main goal is to get people aware of looking at their local infrastructure they use as pedestrians,” Natasha Moroz said.
Photos can be entered on Facebook and Instagram by tagging organizers @walkonvictoria with the hashtag #JankyJune.
Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock hopes #JankyJune participants’ photos will help inform the municipality’s upcoming road safety plan, which is currently open to public feedback. Saanich residents can map out unsafe areas on the municipality’s online submission page at tinyurl.com/3m4x9mt3.
“If you do snap a photo of some poor infrastructure or a lack of infrastructure [in Saanich], make sure you put that on the map so that it gets incorporated,” he said.
Sidewalks and bike lanes were not on the minds of city planners when the district was first being laid out, the mayor said.
“There’s been a lot of work underway to catch up,” said Murdock, adding road safety is a priority for him and for most of Saanich council. “Unfortunately, I think it’ll be a few years to come before we get to a place where there are way more safe travelling spaces for people to be getting around in the community.”
One of last year’s winning photos was actually submitted by Murdock himself. It showed a section of Cedar Hill Road sidewalk that had two trees and a telephone pole in the middle.
“Saanich should have a policy requiring utility providers to place the pole out of the right of way. Why was it ever allowed??” asked Murdock on Twitter at the time.
The other winning photo was of an unpaved pedestrian shoulder at the busy intersection of Cedar Hill Cross Road and Cedar Hill Road, just a block away from Lakehill Preschool, two churches and the commercial strip along Shelbourne Street.
Both the “winning” entries have seen no improvements.
A report outlining the district’s next steps for the Cedar Hill Cross Road corridor is expected to be out in the fall.
Saanich spokesperson Kelsie McLeod said in a statement that the district is undertaking a traffic study for “cost-effective mitigation measures” for that stretch of road.
A survey this year about the road, which carries about 19,000 cars a day, drew more than 800 responses, she said.
Increased pedestrian infrastructure has already been installed along that route between Merriman Drive and Jennifer Road. Eight other quick-build active transportation projects have been approved in the past year.
Moroz is still expecting the district to feature prominently in this year’s photo contest.
“Saanich always comes through. They’re a large municipality, they’re growing rapidly. We always gets lots of submissions from Saanich,” she said.
Founded in 2014, Walk On, Victoria promotes safe, comfortable pedestrian infrastructure around the region.
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