[BTA News] No highway through Sooke Hills Park, Yes to bus lanes! CRD Meeting Feb 27

In this newsletter:
• Invest in transit, and protect the Sooke Hills Park!
• Province foot dragging on filling Hwy 1 bus lane gap
• CRD needs to hear from you – in person or by email
• Electric bus article
• Breaking – Victoria to fund youth transit passes!

Invest in transit, and protect the Sooke Hills Park!

The Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park is part of the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt, the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) green belt linking Saanich Inlet in the east to Juan de Fuca Strait in the west.

The provincial government wants to build an “alternative emergency” Malahat route through the CRD’s Sooke Hills Park. This highway would cost many millions of dollars to build, and would require expensive maintenance every year – and it would be useless when heavy snow closes the Malahat as happened recently.

We need better and more reliable public transit service over the Malahat, and throughout the region. We must invest in transportation solutions that address the needs of local residents while rapidly reducing greenhouse gas pollution as called for in the Climate Emergency declaration unanimously passed by the CRD. Improvements should include procedures to minimize delays after Malahat closures, including improved ferry travel options.

The CRD can refuse permission for the highway to be built through the Park.

Province foot dragging on filling Hwy 1 bus lane gap

As you may have noticed, the Highway 1 northbound shoulder bus lane is now open from Tolmie Avenue to the Burnside Bridge, and is already making buses about 10 minutes faster at peak times. Construction is also well underway on the sections near McKenzie.

We expected that the provincial government would have announced funding to fill in the gap, and complete the bus lanes all the way to the 6-Mile Pub by now (gap is marked in red on map). This project could be completed quickly and for a very reasonable cost. But instead, the BC government seems to be prioritizing a highway through Sooke Hills Park above completing the bus lanes and other transit priorities.

CRD needs to hear from you

The Capital Regional District (CRD) needs to hear from you on Wednesday February 27th @ 10:00am
Parks and Environment Committee
CRD headquarters, 625 Fisgard, 6th floor Boardroom

You don’t need to register to attend, but you do need to register to speak.

Please attend and – if you want to speak at the meeting register to speak here. Please let the CRD know you expect the following:
• No new roadways through the Sooke Hills Wilderness Park or any contiguous CRD protected lands that act as critical wildlife habitat and buffer zones for our regional water supply.
• Clear communications to the provincial government that public transit investments, such as completing the Highway 1 shoulder bus lanes from McKenzie to the Six Mile area, rather than road projects are essential given the Climate Emergency.

Also, please consider writing to the provincial government and CRD representatives about these issues. You can find their emails here.

Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper is also a great way to speak up for better transit.

Electric buses article

One of the Better Transit Alliance’s founding members went to an electric bus conference in Europe, and wrote an article about it. Check it out in the National Observer.

Breaking – Good news!

Today Victoria City Council voted to fund youth transit passes from Sunday parking revenue. Find out more here.

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