North Saanich council has tasked staff with a report on plans to change parking near a popular community spot in the Deep Cove neighbourhood.
Council approved the additional report unanimously after having heard from Rosemary Scott, owner of the Deep Cove Market at the corner of West Saanich and Birch roads, near Deep Cove Elementary School.
Last month council unanimously agreed to replace the nine perpendicular spots along West Saanich and Birch with two parallel spots on West Saanich and three perpendicular spots on Birch for a total of five.
The decision followed the presentation of a traffic study that found safety concerns for pedestrians and motorists at the site.
The report will supply a map of the area slated for improvement, spell out the risks for perpendicular parking along West Saanich and include a revised cost estimate as well as challenges connected with creating any additional parking spots along Birch Road with the contemplated spots along Birch also intended to be perpendicular.
Council also passed motions that would see staff meet with Scott, ask staff to share information about the project with the public through municipal communication channels and Mayor Geoff Orr respond to Scott on behalf of council.
Orr said the report serves two related purposes – responding to Scott’s concerns, but also supplying the public with more comprehensive information given the interest in the subject.
Scott, who has collected some 1,000 signatures in opposition to the measures, opposes the introduction of parallel parking along the frontage of her store and had earlier reiterated that opposition Monday. “I believe this proposed parking will be dangerous to traffic and pedestrians,” she said. Specifically, she has expressed fear that parallel parking would encourage illegal manoeuvres (U-turns) along West Saanich Road.
She has also expressed fear that vehicles parallel-parked along West Saanich would lead to collisions with pedestrians as motorists open their doors, along with other safety concerns related to parallel parking. This said, Scott also signalled a willingness to work on other items with North Saanich, which has jurisdiction over the parking spots along West Saanich Road.
Staff, citing a municipal-hired consultant, had said earlier parallel parking would improve safety. Staff had also raised the possibility of creating additional parking spots along Birch Road and staff have addressed Scott’s concerns in defending the advantages of parallel parking.
At least one member of council later publicly disagreed with Scott’s assessment.
Coun. Brett Smyth said Scott is stuck in her opposition to parallel parking along the front of her store. “But I support this because that is the most rational way to move forward … this idea that people can’t figure out how to park is, well, I just got a load of it on my farm. I’ll leave it at that.”
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