WATCH: Congestion on Highway 1 causes headaches for a lot of people living in the West Shore. Monica Martinez takes a look at the issue and possible solutions.
It was a painfully slow commute into Victoria Tuesday morning after a three car crash near Helmcken backed up traffic to Goldstream and heavily delayed people’s work day.
The former chair of the CRD Traffic Safety Commission, Chris Foord, said even a minor crash can back traffic up for hours, and the problem will only get worse as the population in the West Shore grows.
But Foord said there is an obvious solution.
“The only real solution is to get on with an LRT line that is going to take us from downtown Victoria to Uptown right along the TransCanada and find its way out to Goldstream,” he said.
Royal Roads urban planning expert Chris Ling said there are other ways to reduce congestion.
“The only way of changing it is either by moving people into core areas or moving jobs into the West Shore or providing mass transit between the two places,” Ling said.
The province has spent millions in safety improvements along the Malahat and will break ground on the new McKenzie Interchange this fall, but that will do little to improve traffic flow during an accident.
“There’s only so much that can be done in those situations. I mean, the nature of geography of the region is you’ll never be able to fit a heck of a lot of routes between the West Shore and downtown. It’s always going to be based on the highway and one or two other alternatives that aren’t really very good,” he said.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said the region needs to find a faster way to get accidents off the road.
“You can get ambulance in right away. Why don’t we send another special unit and say take your pictures and lets get everybody out there in 10 or 15 minutes, lets get traffic moving,” Young said.
Tuesday morning’s crash took an hour to clear, but continued causing delays hours later. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.