At its July 24 and Oct. 10 meetings, Oak Bay council voiced its intent to drop the speed limit on McNeill Avenue, devolving the 4,500-vehicle-a-day collector road to a local road, and diverting its traffic to neighbourhood streets.
That devolve-and-divert action is familiar. The July 24 staff report on traffic calming for McNeill noted “Richardson Street was essentially changed from a collector road to a local road.” Of the streets that will take on the 4,500 cars diverted from McNeill, few have the stop signs and crosswalks McNeill has. Many don’t have sidewalks.
Council’s devolution of collector road status for McNeill wasn’t in the traffic calming reports for McNeill. But staff cautioned council that lowering McNeill speed meant “more significant changes would need to be made to the roadway to slow vehicle traffic… increased traffic volumes on alternative routes such as Central, Windsor, and Oak Bay Avenue would also need to be assessed.” Advised that its plan would require changes to the Official Community Plan — and broad consultation — council backed off.
Still, on Oct. 10, council moved a motion to lower the speed limit on McNeill. Staff again reminded council of the need for an Official Community Plan amendment and broad consultation.
Council has identified McNeill traffic calming as a step in its McNeill devolve-and-divert plan. If you live in the area bounded by Foul Bay, Windsor, Newport, and Central and welcome vehicles and safety risks diverted from McNeill, take no action; council’s on your side.
But if you oppose adding traffic and safety risks to your street, and live on Runnymede, Runnymede Place, Mountjoy, Falkland, Victoria, Hampshire, Monterey, St. Patrick, Oliver, St. David, Transit, Island, Byng, Linkleas, and St. Louis, contact Oak Bay council (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tell them that addressing traffic safety issues and risks on collector road McNeill by devolving McNeill and diverting its 4,500-vehicle load and safety issues to other streets isn’t safe, isn’t good planning, and just isn’t the answer.
Council’s devolve-and-divert plan for McNeill is a major neighbourhood change. More voices need to be heard: Make one of them yours.
Adam J. Leamy