Richard Atwell

Running for Saanich Mayor

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

  1. To promote the use of the BC Transit NextRide App, scheduled to be released in Winter 2018-2019 in order to increase transit ridership.
  2. Continue supporting infrastructure projects stemming from Saanich’s Active Transportation Plan to reduce reliance on automobiles by making cycling and walking safer.
  3. Focusing development in the village centres were services are within walking and cycling distance.

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?

Reducing space for automobiles around key intersections like Cedar Hill Cross Rd at Shelbourne has had the unintended effect of pushing traffic onto side streets and through neighbourhoods.

While it is a worthwhile effort to increase space for walking, biking and public transit, care should be taken to avoid making what seem to be obvious improvements to the corridor at the expense of the neighbourhoods.

Future reconfigurations must be considered carefully by expanding the scope of work to include the impacts on neighbourhoods.

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?


The building of interchanges at several Pat Bay Hwy intersections which has been looked at by MOTI since 2007 has always been considered an expensive proposition. While the safety issues at the Keating Cross Rd. intersection would probably be best addressed by a fly-over, in the long term I don’t think that interchanges at every intersection should be built simply based on the forecasted populations for North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney.

While ferry traffic can be heavy at times, in my discussions with MOTI, timing of the lights with the ferry arrivals would be a far more cost effective solution for traffic flows than building interchanges.

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

Yes, as a sitting member of Saanich council I recently approved the Active Transportation Plan (ATP) for the very purpose of achieving these goals.

Whether through trail upgrades or modern urban streetscape design, there is a lot that can be achieved to improve Saanich’s infrastructure as it nears end-of-life and is ready for replacement.

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

My number one consideration for capital works during each budget cycle would be to ensure that proper sidewalks are incorporated into road paving budgets.

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

Saanich Active Transportation Plan (ATP) envisions a “AAA” network and I continue to support it.

Do you support building a protected bike lane on Gorge Rd?

Yes but not at the expense of a reduction in the number of lanes on Gorge Road.

However, most of the length of Gorge Road from Jutland to Admirals has a sufficient frontage on the south side to accomodate a two way raised bike lane akin to what has been built on Tillcum Road next to Hampton Park.

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?

As a member of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, I continue to support and vote for the Victoria Region Bus Lane Project from downtown to the westshore.

The population on the peninsula is not expected to grow at nearly the same rate as the westshore and as such I think that an effective and less expensive solution for Hwy 17 would be to add queue-jumper lanes to allow buses to advance to the traffic lights in order to maintain their schedules and increase ridership.

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

While the Lochside Trail, Interurban Rail Trail and Galloping Goose Trail and have had their tracks removed, the E&N is the last rail corridor in this region and should be retained.

A business case for the E&N, including freight and passenger trains has been made by private enterprise but at present lacks financial support from senior governments.

When you look at the traffic congestion from originates from DND in Esquimalt, I would support lobbying of the federal government which to date has not played an active role in addressing the impacts from that federal employer.

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

Not at this time. I think we should focus our energies on more realistic projects that improve livability for residents.

Given that the densification along the Douglas corridor will take 10-20 years, I think that such a project built now would presently require such a large provincial subsidy that the government would be unwilling to support the business case, especially at the Ministry is currently backing the bus lanes from downtown to the westshore in the short-term.

Also, the E&N corridor already exists as a suitable route to the westshore and I would support the pursuit of this option first. The province will be looking at E&N more seriously after the bus lanes to the westshore are completed and the impact can be quantified.

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

The removing of off-street parking means either the building of underground garages which can add $50-70k to the cost of a residential complex sitting above or the elimination of these parking spaces all together.

While I do not support the complete elimination of this option at this time, multi-family residents buildings on transit corridors targeted at students and those with lower incomes would be able to greatly reduce the number of off-street parking spots which I do support.

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?

Saanich has over 170 parks within walking and cycling distance of most homes. As our population grows, we need to consider how the densification of neighbourhoods will put increased demands on our parks and rec centres.

If re-elected, I would update Saanich’s Park Acquisition Plan so that future neighbourhoods are adequately served by parks and recreation services.

Public space is simply good design but councils can play an important role by establishing an appropriate community amenity contribution policy to ensure that neighbourhoods benefit from development.

Beyond four years, we can look to rebuilding of our villages centres, for example the Munro Centre, Saanich Plaza and Gateway Village across from Municipal Hall to add more public space to the Uptown district. University Heights is another project expected to come to Saanich council in the next few months that will include more public space.

1 Comment

Trevor Barry · October 9, 2018 at 11:30 pm

Mayor Atwell, respectfully, and I provide this comment as I would do as a citizen, without politician hat on – Uptown Douglas MUST be prioritised above/over/before E&N corridor.
Uptown-Douglas is economic development in Saanich.
Uptown-Douglas is #SmartGrowth
Uptown-Douglas is economically and energy-efficient infrastructure
Uptown-Douglas supports regional planning performance: TOD, TDM, mode-shift, public safety.
Uptown-Douglas supports your own administration’s 30yr vision
It puts provincial assets into the hands of local government.
It prioritises provincial spending on transit, versus Saanich spending on roads/utilities that get used and abused by the rest of the region, especially langford.
No regional transportation authority (albeit nascent) worth its salt would prioritise E&N.
E&N is passage, not place (for commuters).
E&N is impacting real (affordable) neighbourhoods.
E&N could easily induce more ugly messy unfair exurban sprawl in the west shore, exacerbating existing infrastructure deficit and intergenerational equity.
Plus! as you alude, “NextBus” tech is coming, and it will shift modal split to realise latent demand for transit. And this will happen while transformative disruptive change (remember your comments to me this past year regarding Steve Jobs and Segway popularity influencing urban design?) means automated machines, running on electric instant torque, can squeeze close together along a rightofway, and capacity and throughput increases even while speeds reduce and roadsafety improves.

Anyways, rant over. #UDCplan, man. its the way of the future. the near future.(and it can be BRT before LRT, in fact, I insist)

~trevor4saanich, Trevor Barry – “the voice of millennials and every Saanich citizen who believes in economically-efficient ideas for a sustainable future”

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