OUR VIEW: Reaching the other side

Are residents of Sidney prepared to use a new pedestrian overpass of the Pat Bay Highway?

Town of Sidney councillor Steve  Price is betting they will, for their safety’s sake.

Plans for a new overhead walkway are coming to fruition after more than six years in the works. It could be much longer than that, if one considers the need for a pedestrian walkway close to downtown since the highway split Sidney in two back in the 1960s.

Two walkways have already been built south of town and north. The latest one will be located slightly north of Beacon Avenue and cost upwards of $2.2 million — or more than that should council seek a design that will help show off the beauty of the community. The cost is covered by gas taxes collected by the municipality as well as $1m from the province and more cash from ICBC and the Victoria Airport Authority.

At the same time, the question has to be asked: will this proposed overpass become redundant when a new commercial project proceeds on 10 acres of land right across the highway from the Mary Winspear Centre? There is already a level pedestrian crossing along Beacon Avenue over the highway. Won’t most people take the straightest path?

Not according to Price, a long-time advocate for the pedestrian overpass. He said the existing level crosswalk would be closed when the commercial land is developed and people will be directed to the nearby overpass.

That’s going to take a lot of education and even active prevention of people taking the path of least resistance. Making sure pedestrians are safe is a good thing.

Hopefully this project makes it easier to reach the other side.


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