Been extremely out of active politics basically since the Langford - Juan de Fuca by-election. Extremely good reason and all but great to be getting back into active politics. Got a new reason to be majorly engaged too - a son - so now have a moral duty to try to make things better. First on my list right now is road safety. Road safety has always been important to me - and based on my run for Sooke council it is also important to a lot of other people although possibly not voting level of important. William is starting to crawl, and next thing I know he is going to be learning to walk. Quite frankly 50kph is way too fast for residential roads - with 80% chance of fatality if a pedestrian is hit front on by a vehicle. I've said it before and talked about it with a variety of people. My urgency and the level of effort I will put into it when it is my son who will be learning to walk on the roads versus me biking and walking is dramaticly increased.

I strongly believe that Duncan's recent change is the best way to move towards safer roads for everyone - 30kph for residential roads, 40kph for connectors, 50kph for main roads where safe. I would love to see all of East Sooke follow that path. My idealized case is approximately:

  • Gillespie has a few further improvements and is upgraded to 60kph
  • East Sooke road has a lot of improvements and is kept at 50kph
  • Mt Matheson stays at 50kph until near the top
  • All the other side roads drop down to 30kph

Here's a rough map. White roads are staying at 50 other than Gillespie, Blue at 30kph.

However, despite some mixed feelings I'm starting small with this project. With significant neighbourhood support - more than half the residents of my road have signed - we are asking that the TranBC reduce our speed limit to 30 in the small residential Park Heights Neighbourhood. The response door knocking was incredibly positive - I talked to less than 10 people that weren't positive enough to sign it, and many of those who didn't sign were positive of the idea but weren't sure of the details. There definitely were people I didn't get to, some people have signage saying no solications or no politics, or locked gates or a lot of don't bother me energy in their signage, and in many cases no one was home. 

Many very good discussions were had at doorsteps - sometimes by people who did decide to sign it and sometimes by people that were engaged but in the final analysis weren't keen on signing it. Here are some points against reducing the speed limit and my answers

  • "People don't drive the speed limit already and it is too slow":  Not much to respond about this. The average speed of cars on Park Heights is definitely over 40, I believe it is over 50 but no one has measured it certainly. Not really any argument possible when all someone cares about is a speed of travel which we know is dangerous.
  • "Pedestrians should be responsible": Yes absolutely, everyone should look after their own safety as best as they can. To me that very much includes making the environment safe. We don't accept smoking inside restaurants, why should we accept dangerous rates of speed in residential neighbourhoods? Park Heights and connected roads are deadends with kids, pets, horses, farm animals and wildlife, and no sidewalks. It would be extreme to spend the amount of money required to build sidewalks and safe infrastructure to  have these roads be safe for everyone with cars going at 50kph. 
  • "It opens the door to making more roads slow and police enforcement" I absolutely think more roads should be slow, but not Gillespie and East Sooke Road - see above for map. Police enforcement? Well I've always felt a speeding ticket is entirely a self-own. You can choose to follow the speed limit or not. I don't see the numbers of drivers versus the speed limit considering the number of police in the Sooke region to ever be important enough that the RCMP will decide to do ticketing there - speed enforcement on Sooke Road is extremely hit and miss.
  • "It won't matter people will ignore signs": Unfortunately I suspect that yes, some people will ignore the signs, but most won't and most of those that don't follow the signs will drive at 40kph instead of 50-60. Drivers in North America have a very high tolerance for driving 10 above the limit, but less so for above that. If 90% of people follow the signs that is massively better anyways.
  • "I'd support it if you were asking for 40": Well maximum distance is 2.3km, that is a 1 minute difference. That doesn't seem very important to me.
  • "Should be a neighbourhood issue - talk to a neighbour if they are going too fast for safety" I am wiling to talk to neighbours and encourage slowing down. But we don't live in isolation, we have many park visitors, trades, services, friends who drive this road. Signage is a lot more efficient than trying to flag down every new driver to drive the neighbourhood and talk to them.

At the end of the day, I and many - a super majority of those I talked to in fact - believe that road safety is important and that reducing the speed limit is a good tool to use to achieve that. I think we all know it isn't a magic wand or guarantee but agree it will improve the neighbourhood level of safety for our children, us and animals whether pets, or wildlife.

See the petition and get involve in the project page (plus citations for my core claims).

Park Heights Neighbourhood Speed Limit Reduction

The Park Heights neighbourhood in East Sooke is a small rural/residental neighbourhood with a maximum driving distance to ESR of slightly over 2km. Nick is aiming to make it safer for residents, pedestrians and wildlife.

    Depending on governmental response and further discussions with neighbours a bit further afield, I may bring a petition for more of East Sooke's residential neighbourhoods soon but would prefer some interest from people living directly in the other neighbourhoods first.