Some of their findings and recommendations may differ. But two separate transportation reports relating to the proposed Christie Point redevelopment agree that existing external traffic is the biggest problem for vehicle flow around the area of Island Highway, Shoreline Drive and Admirals Road.
Some months ago Christie Point Apartment owner Realstar Management hired Victoria company Bunt and Associates to undertake a traffic impact assessment for the proposed 473-unit, multi-phase project, to help the Town of View Royal find solutions to ongoing travel snarls in the area. To solidify the traffic-related information available for the ongoing discussions about the redevelopment, earlier this year the Town engaged Opus International Consultants to do a peer review of the Bunt study.
The creation of double through-lanes westbound from Admirals Road, to a merging point close to the pedestrian overpass on Island Highway, was a solution both studies encouraged, along with a signalized redesign of the intersection at Shoreline and Island Highway, where traffic from Christie Point emerges.
Before receiving the Opus study findings for information at the April 18 meeting, View Royal council debated such technical aspects as the length of the merging lane and the need for a pedestrian controlled crosswalk at Shoreline Drive as part of the signalized intersection.
Both Mayor David Screech and Coun. John Rogers pointed to the potential for further backing up commuter traffic coming in and out of town with a non-vehicle triggered red light, especially when “the objective is to keep traffic moving,” Screech said.
Engineering department director John Rosenberg told council the timing and availability of that option could be controlled based on time of day. Those details, other council concerns, and recommendations from the two traffic reports will be further analyzed in a staff report on safety and traffic management issues, Rosenberg said.
Among the Opus findings, it determined that Bunt – which put more stock in Realstar’s efforts to encourage alternative modes of transportation for residents – underestimated the amount of traffic generated by a fully built-out Christie Point development during the peak commuting time between 3:00 and 5:30 p.m. Although Opus said its per-unit “trip generation” stats were closer to the industry standard and would produce 40 per cent more traffic, both reports agreed the net increase in flow of vehicles over the current rate from Christie Point “would be negligible” compared to the existing glut of traffic using Island Highway.
During public participation earlier in the meeting, area residents voiced concerns about general traffic issues.
David Babiuk, who lives on the Saanich side of Portage Inlet, listed a series of upcoming projects that will add traffic to the problematic intersection of Admirals Road and Island Highway. He included the 96-unit Econo Lodge repurposing project, a development on Glentana Road that could see four single-family homes replaced with 46 units, additional trucking coming out of Hallowell Road related to industry on Esquimalt First Nation land and even the Onni Group development at Colwood Corners.
With the McKenzie interchange project not completed for at least another 18 months, he added, traffic will continue to reroute down Island Highway, a local road owned and maintained by the municipality. “The traffic congestion issue is not just a Town of View Royal issue,” he said, imploring council to have View Royal take the lead in working with other municipalities and the province to address this ongoing issue.
The Realstar application is due to be discussed in detail at a joint advisory committee meeting this Tuesday (April 25) at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 45 View Royal Ave. The project, after further adjustments to the Realstar plan and presentations to council, is expected to reach the public hearing stage sometime in June.