Last June, we sent out a survey to the Sir James Douglas Elementary and École Margaret Jenkins School communities regarding how families travel to school, road safety concerns and awareness about the Richardson Street bike corridor under construction – which includes traffic diversions.
Unfortunately, there was no direct engagement by the City of Victoria with the Parents Advisory Councils in the development or implementation of the Richardson Bike Corridor, which is why we felt it important to gauge parents’ awareness, to hear common safety concerns and to better understand how people are travelling to and from the schools.
Many of us walk, bike or drive our kids to school every day and have watched cars speed through school zones and stop signs, trucks barrel past kids waiting at crosswalks or, in some cases, witnessed cars, cyclists or pedestrians struck. Our goal is to ensure safe routes around schools for all kids and to speak up when action is needed.
We would like to update you on the results of the survey, traffic changes and improvements over the summer, and to remind families to plan for travels to and from schools to accommodate these changes.
PACs Richardson Street Corridor and School Street Safety: Survey Summary
- 252 Respondents (90% associated with either SJD or EMJ)
- 75% of respondents live in Fairfield-Gonzales or Rockland (12% Oak Bay, 5% James Bay, 8% other)
- Streets the respondents most travel are: Richardson (100+), Moss (60+), Fairfield (55+), Brooke, Thurlow, Dallas, Chandler and more
- In response to the question: How do your kids get to school?
- 177 walk
- 149 bike
- 109 drive
- 20 not parents of school-aged children
- 9 take transit
- 6 scooter
- 2 skateboard
- 71% of respondents were aware of the Richardson Corridor road closures and traffic diversions, of which 54% had many concerns, 28% had some concerns and 16% had no concerns about impacts – see comments for details about concerns
- 75% of people surveyed said they did not receive any direct communication (mail, email, phone call) about the design of the project, while 11% said they did.
- 70% did not come across engagement about the project, while 20% did and 11% can’t recall.
- 73% of respondents wanted to see road safety concerns addressed before the traffic changes and 15% said they were fine to wait and fix problems as they arise
- More than half of the people surveyed felt traffic data collected during COVID-19 was not sufficient to be included as a basis for safety analysis
- More than 171 comments were received about current safety concerns around schools and the highest concerns by far were speeding in school zones and on school routes, unsafe crossings and cars not stopping for pedestrians.
The Survey results have been shared with City of Victoria transportation staff and council members, as well as the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association. We are working together to address existing road safety concerns and to make sure there is appropriate data to inform future actions – namely any impacts by the bike corridor traffic diversions.
This group also requested and received from the City the available data for total traffic volume loads over the past 6 years on the neighbourhood streets between Richardson and Fairfield Road. The determination was that there was zero data collected on a school day for these streets outside of the 2020/21 pandemic years. This puts the onus on parents and neighbours to report any significant changes in traffic patterns as a result of the newly established traffic diversions on Richardson Street.
Traffic Calming Measures
There have been some road safety improvements completed over the summer, which we are glad to see, including new speed reader boards along Fairfield Road and a new 4-way stop and painted crosswalks at Kipling and Thurlow.
Additional projects in the works include: a pedestrian-leading interval at the intersection of Moss and Fairfield during AM and PM period and improvements to the Fairfield/Linden crosswalk.
Ensuring safe routes around schools is something we can all get on board with and reducing car traffic is one way to help. In May 2021, more than 400 students participated in Active Transportation during Walk and Wheel to School month. This resulted in way less congestion around the school in pick up and drop off times. Now that SJD and EMJ are on the same bell schedule, it’s even more important to plan your trips well. For more information, reach out to your school PACs.
Thank you for participating and for your feedback. Have a great 2021/22 School Year!