It’s not as sketchy as Trevor Noah taking over the Daily Show, but I do wonder why access to Oak Bay’s famed 6.8 km Centennial Trail from the west is only by way of a death-defying jaywalk across an often-busy strip of Foul Bay Road, at a corner, no less (Foul Bay at Brighton; see picture).
A crosswalk of some sort across Foul Bay would be safer and more in keeping with the idea of a pedestrian loop than the status quo. Furthermore, a safe crossing would send a clearer message that building the trail wasn’t a joke or afterthought, but a serious effort towards active transportation.
I asked Oak Bay Councillor Michelle Kirby about the issue last month. In partial response, she cited costs as a barrier and then put the question to the Mayor, the rest of Council, the Police and Engineering Department. To date, I have not heard back from them.
A reasonable question might be, “why worry about a single crossing?” Indeed, there are much broader, strategic issues that will affect the extent to which Oak Bay (and the region) is truly friendly for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and abilities. However, small, fast, local improvements generate rapid results, add up rapidly when done in concert with many other placemaking efforts, and support broader, strategic efforts.
Councillor Kirby noted that others shared the frustration with the Centennial Trail access and that it is on an Oak Bay list of projects. She said that other priorities, however, and sewage in particular, mean that there are insufficient resources for a pedestrian stop-light, which is the costly option preferred by Oak Bay Engineering.
My question is this: if the frustration with the access point is shared by many people (as Councillor Kirby notes) but there are insufficient resources for the expensive pedestrian stop light, then could constructive, inexpensive, community-inspired placemaking options be developed for the crossing and provided to the Engineering Department of Oak Bay?
Guest Author Bio
Roy has held leadership positions in Canada, Europe and Africa. His experience includes urban and organizational sustainability, national politics, international development, and humanitarian affairs.
Between 2003-2011 he worked for the United Nations, including the World Health Organization, United Nations Environment Programme and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, mostly based in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2008/09 in Kigali, Rwanda, where he was UNEP’s Environment Programme Coordinator.
Locally, Roy served as Director of Sustainability for the City of Victoria between 2011-2013. He now leads a consulting practice focussed on organisational and community resilience and sustainability and has clients in Canada, the UK and Switzerland.
Visit Roy’s Blog / Website: brookeandassociates.com