Saanich’s slower speeds are welcome
Re: “Saanich green lights reduced speed limits on nine corridors,” March 15.
I welcome the slower speed zones. The stretch from Royal Oak Drive to Ash Road and beyond is very hazardous, motorists unaccountably speed there and are often unwilling to let a motorist slow down to determine a desired turn or direction or street address.
Not to speak of the hazard to pedestrians.
It is hazardous at night and in dusk, as well. I have often wondered who the majority of motorists are there — UVic staff and students, or residents?
Wilkinson Road should be added to the list.
What is required, as well, are speed cameras — or a clear explanation as to why they are not used — and more severe penalties for speeding and careless driving.
There is a noticeable group of drivers in this region who lack common sense in driving, and who treat the automobile as a weapon of impatience.
This resident applauds Saanich for this plan.
No need for reductions on car-choked roads
I agree with the recent letter about Saanich’s decision to change the speed limits having little effect — but it missed two of the key locations where reduction of the speed limit is counter-productive.
The first is along Tillicum from Burnside south to Craigflower Road. Now that both Saanich and Esquimalt councils have reconfigured the road for the installation of a segregated bike lane, it’s turned Tillicum into a quagmire of backed-up traffic no matter what time of day one travels over it.
The second location is along Saanich Road between Douglas and Blanshard. Once one crosses Douglas from Boleskine, Saanich becomes another choked mess.
These reductions do nothing to reduce greenhouse gases as everyone sits in traffic waiting for the lights to change in the hopes of making it to their destination.
Why not spend the money on hiring more police officers or on a public relations media blitz on the virtues of slowing down.
Now where did I put my “Mr. Yuk” stickers to slap on those silly speed reader boards?
Don’t expect lower speed limits to work
Saanich has decided it needs impose a whole new set of rules to improve safety on our streets.
I wish them well knowing that the new rules won’t work any better than the old rules and bad things will continue to happen on our streets.
Law-abiding citizens, who are few and far between when it comes to following the rules of road, will adjust to and abide by the new rules while the scofflaws will continue to speed!
The police who are unable to enforce the current rules shouldn’t be expected to help with the new rules either.
Instead, council will continue to pollute our streets by adding more signs to designate the 30/40/50 km/h zones, adding more white pylons at crosswalks and adding speed bumps everywhere. It will be the latest in neighbourhood beautification and will do little to achieve the objectives that have been established.
For context, I’m one of those older drivers who cause havoc on the road by driving the speed limit.
Lower speed limits will need enforcement
Reducing speed limits without enforcement is a waste of time and money.
The 40 km/h limit has been on Gorge Road from Government Street to Harriet Road for several years and very few drivers obey that limit.
Constant tailgating, reckless lane changing and increased speeding are par for the course. The same councils that are bringing in the new limits are also cutting police budgets so it is unlikely we will see any increase in enforcement.
Time will tell how successful the lower speed limits will be.
Speeding toward tree and shade equity
With the adoption of a drastic reduction in speed zones for some Saanich roadways, and the stated intent to adopt a blanket 30 km/h maximum for all residential areas, Saanich council moves ever closer to emulating their neighbour in Victoria.
For anyone who has ventured down Fairfield in downtown Victoria, it becomes painfully obvious that 30 km/h is well-nigh impossible to maintain.
So, in effect, Saanich council will raise our taxes to then spend the money putting up new speed zone markers which will have the very real effect of making all drivers scofflaws on a daily basis.
One of the stated reasons for the speed zone changes is for the comfort of cyclists and pedestrians, missing the point entirely that the roadways are for the vast majority of the population who drive.
One of the first maxims of public policy is not to enact rules which cannot or will not be obeyed.
Such actions erode respect for the rule of law and further denigrate our opinion of our elected leaders.
As an example to better understand the ideology behind council’s actions, the new mayor of Saanich was on the radio explaining his envisaged tree planting program and (unironically) extolling the need for more “tree and shade equity.”
Goodness knows where that might lead us in terms of tax supported policies.
The vote on the speed zone policy at council was unanimous. Ersatz leaders seem to be ubiquitous.
Pickup trucks, SUVs cause more deaths
Saanich council has decided to reduce speed limits on various roadways with the intended purpose to reduce pedestrian deaths and injury.
Firstly, essentially all of these deaths and injuries are entirely preventable.
These situations arise out of inattention by drivers and pedestrians, or both. Living downtown it is routine to see drivers drive through yellow and red lights and pedestrians to step off the curb with their eyes glued to a cellphone.
The second major problem that seems to be ignored by both city councils is the proliferation of SUV and large trucks on the road.
If they bothered to do some further research they would also discover that a pedestrian is far more likely to die if hit by an SUV or a truck travelling at the same or lower speed than a car.
At least one study suggests a pedestrian is eight times more likely to die if struck by an SUV/truck versus a car. A car travelling at 50 km/h is less likely to cause the death of a pedestrian in the event of an accident than an SUV travelling at 40 km/h.
Perhaps next thing council should do is put an even lower speed limit on larger vehicles or, better yet, maybe they would like to ban them entirely. No point in worrying about being practical.
It would be interesting to know how many members of these councillors own an SUV or truck, which are an inherently bigger risk to pedestrians.
Speed bumps plus enforcement
So what’s the plan here? Cut down on cars on the road and increase bus ridership. Or just piss people off.
Because you will piss people off and they will drive just like they did before this wonderful directive. And those that adhere, will piss people off, because they are going the new speed limit.
Unless, of course, you use speed bumps to deter speed. If you have ever not reduced your speed on a speed bump, then you know the effects on the suspension of your car.
They too are a deterrent to speed. And of course we will have the police monitoring the speeders and ticketing them to deter them from speeding again.
Separate infrastructure for cars and bikes
A letter complaining about the speed changes to some roads in Saanich makes a valid point: drivers will not slow down just because a new speed limit is placed on a road. Instead, drivers rely on perceptual cues and will tend to drive at a speed that feels safe to them.
However, the example of Gorge Road East is a poor one: yes, speed limits were lowered and, yes, drivers keep on driving way over the speed limit.
But the writer failed to note that there is a very narrow bike lane on Gorge which makes it unsafe to drive at the old limit of 50 km/h if there are cyclists on the road. I hope he will give me a break and slow down as he passes me while on my bike.
The real solution is to offer separate infrastructure for bicycles and cars and to have raised pedestrian crosswalks which will nudge drivers to slow down at intersections.
Additionally, if there is a need to reduce the speed on some of our roads, then let’s be serious about it and put them on a diet, as it was recently done with Tillicum Road.
Whether this prescription is car-hating or not, I will leave it for the reader to judge.
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