Wednesday, August 28, 2019

 Keating X Rd. Flyover Overpass
This month's announcement about a permanent fix to the dangerous left turn onto Keating Cross Road from the Pat Bay Highway is welcome news.

If you’ve lived in Saanich South for even a small amount of time, you know how essential the Pat Bay Highway is. It is our link to the ferries, the airport, many of our homes, and the businesses we cherish throughout the Saanich Peninsula – including the Keating Cross Road area. Because the Pat Bay Hwy is such a vital connector it is essential that it is safe and comfortable to navigate. But what I’ve heard from constituents time and again is that they did not feel safe making the left turn onto Keating Cross Road. They found crossing two oncoming traffic lanes from a dead stop nerve-wracking. Equally, cars travelling southbound need to be hyper-aware of cars who are trying to make the turn. I’ve heard from some constituents that they stopped going to local businesses on Keating Cross Road because they were afraid of the drive.

Today’s announcement is a huge boost for travellers' safety with the construction of a “flyover” overpass. Once built, you’ll cross directly over the Pat Bay Hwy to get to Keating Cross Road, meaning you won’t have to worry at all about oncoming traffic. As part of the project, Keating Cross Road itself will also be widened, and will include new sidewalks that will increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Safety on the Pat Bay Hwy has been a priority for me from the start. In my first year as MLA for Saanich South I did a community survey on the issue only to find that it – not-surprisingly – is a priority for many of my constituents as well. Over the years I held several community meetings about the Highway's safety – specifically the Sayward Road intersection. Thanks to the dedication of community members in Saanich South we were successful in getting the government of the day to make the necessary safety improvements – but it was a fight every step of the way.

I'm pleased to say that Transportation Minister Claire Trevena’s approach has been remarkably different. Last year Minister Trevena and I worked together to see an advance left turn onto the Pat Bay Hwy from Haliburton Rd. put into place. For years there had been an extended delay turning left onto the highway to travel into Victoria, especially during school hours – sometimes you had to wait as long as five light cycles! Not only was this a traffic congestion and pollution problem, but impatient drivers were sometimes making risky decisions so they wouldn’t have to wait for another light cycle. I was able to explain the need – and the benefits afforded by a solution and we moved forward quickly with change. I'm pleased to say that the new advance left has eased this problem and increased Pay Bay Hwy safety.

Minister Trevena has taken the same measured, active approach to the issue at Keating Cross Road.  She listened, understood there was a problem that impacted thousands of people, and went about fixing it. Today’s announcement wouldn’t have been possible without our partners in both the Federal and municipal governments, and the passionate community advocates who lead the charge for change.

It’s re-assuring to know that we were listened to, our problem is understood, and a solution is on the way.​