Teale Phelps Bondaroff
Running for Saanich Councillor
What would be your highest priorities in the next four years to reduce the total energy use and emissions from transportation?
My top priority will be making residential streets safer for everyone. The default speed limit on residential streets in Saanich is currently 50km/h. This is far too fast given that only 15% of residential roads in Saanich have sidewalks on at least one side. Many of these streets are school routes and all of them deserve to be safe. If we are to encourage active transportation, with robust transit, walking and cycling networks, it is vital that people can safely accessing these along residential routes.
I will prioritize reducing the speed limit on residential streets from 50km/h to 30 km/h, and investigate reducing speed limits on collector streets to 40 km/h. Alongside slower speed limits, I will also work to introduce traffic calming measures, as well as increase enforcement.
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?
Absolutely. Our 30-year Active Transportation Plan sets out an excellent road map for reducing the need for private motor vehicles by expanding our cycling network, sidewalk infrastructure, and making improvements to public transit. I will champion the implementation of this plan.
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?
Yes. Congestion only expands to fill the existing space. If we widen our roads and prioritize large infrastructure projects intended to accommodate larger volumes of vehicle traffic, we will end up with more vehicle traffic, and more congestion. We can’t build our way out of congestion. What we can do is prioritize safe cycling infrastructure, walkable communities, and efficient, affordable transit, so people feel confident leaving their cars at home.
Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in Saanich?
What specific policies, projects and expenditures would you support in the next four years to make walking safer and more pleasant in Saanich?
Many streets in Saanich, such as Maplewood Rd. or McRea Ave., do not have sidewalks, which makes them unsafe for pedestrians. A sidewalk is defined as something that someone in a wheelchair or with a stroller can safely use (see the Active Transportation Plan, p.33, 1A.3). We need to accelerate Saanich’s plans for sidewalk installation, beginning in school corridors.
To make sure that pedestrians can safely cross busy streets, we need to increase the installation of pedestrian controlled crosswalks where necessary.
We should explore the possibility of creating ‘Woonerf style’ streets in Saanich. These are “living streets” where vehicles travel at walking speed and pedestrians have the right of way.
Do you support building a community-wide network of all ages and abilities (“AAA”) bike routes in the next four years?
Yes, it’s key that cycling infrastructure is accessible for people of all ages and abilities.
Do you support building a protected bike lane on Gorge Rd?
I support expanding our cycling infrastructure network, and I would listen to local residents and engineers to determine if a protected bike lane is the best form of infrastructure for this particular situation.
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?
Yes. We need to work within the CRD to support dedicated bus lanes and secure a leadership position for Saanich on these projects.
Would you support keeping the E&N railway as a railway and actively campaign for electrified passenger and freight services?
Yes. I appreciate how this would greatly broaden the range of long-distance transportation options available in the region. It would make it so much easier for those in car free households to travel up island and not have to rely on personal vehicles. Simultaneously I recognize my limitations as one councillor, and that this is a project that will require a multiplicity of partners.
Would you support and actively campaign for street-level electrified rapid transit in the greater Victoria region? If so, along what routes?
This is certainly an option worth considering, however given the current infrastructure in place, we would be better served in investing in existing bus, cycling and pedestrian options.
In the next four years, would you support removing the requirements for off-street vehicle parking from new and infill developments?
The parking requirement can be an impediment to densification. We can look at reducing the parking requirements as one way to facilitate densification in core village areas.
Additionally, Saanich’s bicycle parking guidelines were written in 1996 – they are outdated and do not reflect current bicycle usage in our community. Bylaws should outline the number of required bike parking and storage spots for residents and visitors in multi-family dwellings and commercial spaces.
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?
I have long been a supporter of placemaking. Over the past few years I have helped set up dozens of little free libraries across the region. This work has shown me that Saanich needs a staff person dedicated to community building; someone who works to develop social capital between residents, neighbourhood associations, and the District. The City of Victoria has such a staff member, and they serve as a conduit to connect people with resources and help them overcome barriers to creating community. It’s time for Saanich to catch up.
There is a pressing need for civic space in Saanich. While we have numerous locations identified as village centres, too many of these are malls and private property. The Nigel Valley Project presents us with an opportunity to create just such a space adjacent to City Hall. Here we should create a plaza, widen the Goose to accommodate greater traffic, and engage the community in developing a true Saanich civic centre.
We also need to engage with residents, neighbourhood associations, developers, and civil society, to create welcoming spaces through public art and placemaking across the District. Increasing access to microgrants is one way to achieve this goal.