For two months in a row, a serious car crash shut down West Saanich Road.
On Friday evening, a vehicle collided with a utility pole on the 4800-block of the street, closing it in both directions for hours.
“While the collision is still under investigation, early indications suggest the driver swerved to avoid an animal on the roadway, causing the vehicle to go off-road and collide with the pole,” said Saanich Police media relations officer Const. Markus Anastasiades.
Mosi Bakery Cafe and Gelateria is one of the businesses located on West Saanich Road. Its owner, Stefano Mosi, says after six years of driving in and out of these roads every day, he believes the speed limit needs to be reduced.
“The speed limit is definitely excessive,” said Mosi. “It’s not so much the speed limit being excessive, it’s the cars’ tendency to go over the speed limit that’s excessive, so you have to reduce it.”
Last month, a head-on collision claimed the life of one driver less than three kilometres down the road from yesterday’s crash.
Now, locals are wondering if these two incidents are enough to lower the speed limit, at least in some high-traffic areas.
“That’s a lot, for one road,” said local Andrea Radley. “I think people travel really fast on here, especially living around here and having children potentially at the school over here it would be nice if it was slower just for safety reasons.”
West Saanich Road is rural but busy.
It leads to the Hartland Landfill and acts as a collector road for those driving to Central Saanich. It’s also adjacent to Prospect Lake Elementary.
After seeing too many close calls, Mosi says something needs to be done.
“Parents will park over here and walk their kids to the school. There’s a crosswalk, a crossing guard, but nonetheless, I’ve seen close calls even then where cars don’t even notice that there’s kids on the road and there’s been near misses,” said the business owner.
Previously, the Saanich mayor has said the city is willing to change speed limits where needed, like at the nearby Prospect Lake Road.
“We are aware of the resident’s concerns,” Fred Haynes told CHEK News on February 4, the day of the other serious accident on West Saanich Road this year.
“The ICBC work that was done on Prospect Lake Road, well that’s now reduced to 30 kilometres an hour.”
For now, the mayor says he will wait for the police analysis of these crashes, to see if and how the city can make West Saanich Road safer.