Joshua Steeper

Running for Central Saanich Councillor

What would be your highest priorities in the next four years to reduce the total energy use and emissions from transportation?

Improved traffic flow: fewer braking/accelerating cycles and reduced idling time makes for a nicer drive and shrinks total emissions. At a time when the Provincial and Federal government is spending heavily on transportation, this is one of many reasons to advance the Keating overpass project.

Over the next 4 years, would you support increasing the space for walking, biking, and public transit and reducing that for private motor vehicles in your community? How would you do that?

We are a rural community. Both farm tractors and private motor vehicles are key transportation tools. Reducing space for them is not an option. I do support enhancing accessibility and spaces for walking, biking, and public transit, simply not at the expensive of private vehicles. We have two very walkable towns, Brentwood Bay and Saanichton. Priorities will be to enhance town connections to regional trails and to improve walkways on arterial roads – safety of our pedestrians on these arterial roads is a growing concern.

Would you actively encourage the provincial government to prioritize public transit, walking and biking infrastructure over roadway expansion projects such as the proposed interchanges on the Pat Bay Highway?

Instead of competing interests, funded projects can and should serve multiple needs. A Keating overpass can (and should!) include safe passageways for pedestrians and bicyclists. One of the arguments I hear against taking public transit is the time it takes to complete a journey from our community into the downtown core. Reducing roadway congestion through the proposed interchanges will enhance uptake of transit services, not reduce it!

Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in Central Saanich?

Yes! We have recently seen a series of accidents involving pedestrians. Safety is front-of-mind and will be a priority for the next council. Piecemeal sidewalks, overtaxed stop signs, and poorly located roadside parking are great places to start.

What specific policies, projects and expenditures would you support in the next four years to make walking safer and more pleasant in Central Saanich?

(1) Connect and complete sidewalk network on Central Saanich Road where school buses drop off children, near Keating Elementary

(2) Ensure safe walkways exist along roads served by public transit routes

(3) Walkway/overpass to Lochside Trail from Tanner Ridge (4) Improve accessibility of beach access points to the Saanich Inlet

Do you support building a community-wide network of all ages and abilities (“AAA”) bike routes in the next four years?

In principle, yes. In practice, it would not be a top transportation or budget priority.

Do you support upgrading Lochside Dr to a AAA bikeway?

The section of Lochside Drive in Central Saanich is a beautifully shared roadway: residents, farmers, agri-business, and commuters use it regularly. I’m not convinced that shifting the balance in favour of bicycles best reflects the needs or interests of our community.

Would you support completing the 24/7 bus lanes along the Douglas Street/Highway 1 corridor, as well as along other routes such as the Pat Bay Highway as a high priority for municipalities and the BC government in the next four years?

Though subsidized, I believe public transit expansion should have a business case behind it. While I would enjoy the option of a late-night ride home from a night downtown, I cannot see how 24/7 service would be a prudent expense.

Would you support keeping the E&N railway as a railway and actively campaign for electrified passenger and freight services?

No. The ship has sailed on the E&N railway. Actual needs must trump historical usage and nostalgia.

Would you support and actively campaign for street-level electrified rapid transit in the greater Victoria region? If so, along what routes?

The cost of such a project would not make sense for our rural community. Traffic volume would not justify the service.

In the next four years, would you support removing the requirements for off-street vehicle parking from new and infill developments?

Parking is often in short supply as-is. Land owners should be encouraged to find innovative solutions, not exasperate a problem. I am open to collective options, such as funding community parking lots or adding a public parking level to new multi-story developments, as a limited alternative to on-site parking.

In the next four years, how, would you activate and bring more people into public spaces within your municipality, including sidewalks, public squares, streets and parks?

Our community organizations have done superb work in putting on events and improving public spaces. The Brentwood Community Association has just completed a new stage and park improvement project. We are on the right track!

Next council needs to continue the course, building on the successes and strengths of our active community. Support for these efforts is far more effective than a new program or policy.


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