Jump to content



[Trans Canada Highway] The Malahat

  • Please log in to reply
2238 replies to this topic

#21 Caramia

  • Member
  • 3,835 posts

Posted 04 November 2006 - 09:07 AM

Thanks for that Litman link. He has a good point. And while it is true the busses would get stuck in the same traffic, if that traffic was reduced by buses and vanpools (I like the ones with fold out work tables and cappucino machines but I would probably end up riding on the subsidised ones :( ) then they may not get as stuck.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#22 Mike K.

Mike K.
  • Administrator
  • 82,493 posts

Posted 15 February 2007 - 12:32 PM

The transportation report should be released soon. Transit is also weighing in on the potential of a Cowichan/CRD connector.

Know it all.
Citified.ca is Victoria's most comprehensive research resource for new-build homes and commercial spaces.

#23 G-Man


    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 13,771 posts

Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:27 AM

For anyone that wants to contribute their opinion:

The Malahat Study Stage 2 Open Houses are being held this week in Victoria March 28 and Duncan March 29. The venues are St. Joseph the Worker Parish, 785 West Burnside Road and Travelodge Silver Bridge, 140 Trans Canada Highway respectively. The times are 3 – 8 pm for both. We urge you to attend the Public Open House and/or fill in a comment form on http://www.th.gov.bc...lahat/index.htm.

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 


It has a whole new look!


#24 Mike K.

Mike K.
  • Administrator
  • 82,493 posts

Posted 31 March 2007 - 08:59 AM

Blacktop solution runs into green roadblock

Time Colonist
March 31, 2007

Let the backlash begin. You just knew that when a government-funded study suggested the only real solutions to the Malahat’s traffic troubles were A) a wider highway, B) a wider, straighter highway, or C) another highway, with all the options involving punching holes in parkland, that outrage would soon follow.

Both the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Island Corridor Foundation — comprising local politicians along the E&N rail line — are taking shots at the Transportation Ministry’s just-released Malahat Corridor Study, calling it biased toward blacktop.

Boiled down, the study says the Malahat is neither terribly dangerous nor terribly busy, but when crashes do close the highway it’s a pain in the butt for motorists trapped for long periods with nowhere to go.

The study dismisses options such as bridges, trains, ferries and way-out-inthe-bush highways as either too expensive, moving too few people, or doing nothing to provide an alternative when the Malahat is blocked.

What’s left is a short list that includes express bus service between the Cowichan Valley and Victoria (which everybody seems to want), plus four highway-based options. Two of the four would involve widening and/or straightening the existing highway, which might reduce accidents, but still wouldn’t provide an alternative route. The other two choices would see new stretches of highway built — both through existing parks.

“There’s no way that we’re going to let a highway go through one of the key valleys that we saved,” the wilderness committee’s Ken Wu said yesterday. He was talking of the so-called Niagara Main option, which would see a new highway built from the Malahat summit to the south end of Goldstream Park. It would run through Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park Reserve — the Vimy Ridge of the local environmental community, which won protection for the area in a titanic battle in the 1990s.

Likewise, the other new-highway option includes another road through Goldstream Park, which would leave the remaining forest incapable of supporting large wildlife, says Wu. Even plans to tinker with the existing highway would mean taking a whack of ancient trees out of Goldstream, and would perhaps threaten the park’s famous salmon runs.

Both the wilderness committee and ICF figure the study buries the environmental consequences and is too quick to dismiss alternatives to road-building. “Widening highways leads to more cars on the road and greater suburban sprawl, and ultimately more traffic congestion,” Wu said. “It’s like buying someone who has a tendency to overeat a set of giant pants in anticipation that they’ll gain weight at some later date.”

The ICF, which advocates greater use of the rail corridor, also said the study ignores the impact of funnelling more and more cars onto the local road networks of the south Island, ultimately threatening the sustainability of communities.

This all could, at least in the short term, be much ado about nothing. Since the study concludes that no action is urgently required, we shouldn’t expect the government to run out and drop $400 million on a new highway tomorrow. Cynics suggest the whole exercise was never anything more than a means of keeping the heat off politicians.

Still, it’s obvious that the government is going to have to act sooner or later. The highway may not have reached capacity yet (save for Friday afternoons, when traffic flees Victoria like there’s been an anthrax outbreak at Douglas and Yates streets) but we are steadily marching (or driving) to the point where, if nothing is done, the highway won’t be able handle to demand in a few years.

The question remains: Bigger highways, more buses, or the train?


Know it all.
Citified.ca is Victoria's most comprehensive research resource for new-build homes and commercial spaces.

#25 Rorschach


    Truth is my bitch!

  • Member
  • 758 posts

Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:58 PM

I think the idea of just lowering the speed limit on certain stretches of the Malahat should be undertaken immediately without any additional study groups weighing in on the problem.

#26 viewership

  • Member
  • 36 posts

Posted 31 March 2007 - 05:11 PM

Lowering the speed limit will do nothing unless it's enfourced or people will pay no attention and go on driving the same way. It's a good idea--I agree people go too fast through many places--I just don't see it happening

#27 UrbanRail

  • Member
  • 2,114 posts
  • LocationVictoria

Posted 31 March 2007 - 06:47 PM

Heres my take on this subject.
Just because the study says build more roads, doesnt mean that will happen.
There has been a shift in thinking in the local population, local government and local media, etc. about how we move on the lower island. The negative reaction to the study is a pretty good indication of this.

Some improvenments on the hwy are bound to happen.
Putting transit buses on the hwy between Duncan and Victoria may seem like a good start, but unless they plan on putting hov lanes along the Malahat (which I doubt will happen) they will just be stuck in the same traffic as everyone else.
Rail is a better alternative, plus with the expanding cycling network and an improve Mill Bay Ferry service will give residents of the south island, more alternatives to getting around.

At the same time, commuter rail will encourage more dense development along the corridor, which is already starting to happen.

The study by Stantec and MOTH had no intention in giving rail a fair chance. Just look at their display boards. There were no pictures of modern equipment, good examples of stations, tying rail to denser development and good transit connections.

All there was, an outdated picture of the Dayliner from 1989 and some garbage about subsidies, plus low ridership forcasts.

This played a huge part in giving the public an negative preception of rail.

Also the study didnt even take into account where all these extra cars and trucks will go when they enter Victoria, where the roads are already reaching capacity.

As more development occurs both north and south of the Malahat, there will be greater pressure to force the provincial government to do something fast.

Commuter rail is coming and its not a matter of "if" its a matter of "when".


#28 Ms. B. Havin

Ms. B. Havin
  • Member
  • 5,052 posts

Posted 31 March 2007 - 09:13 PM

Admittedly, I'm skimming the surface here, but I wonder if this blog post by Pricetags, [url=http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2007/03/27/no-silver-bullet/:deb9b]No silver bullet[/url:deb9b], doesn't sort of parallel what we're dealing with... It's about what's wrong with the notion of a "Third Crossing" in Vancouver, which kind of has some parallels with our problems with the Malahat -- in very general terms. I gathered that part of the argument was, "don't do it (expand single car capacity), because not doing it is better in the long run." There's even a Vancouver Islander in the comments board...

PS This guy isn't talking out of his hat, either. He's [url=http://pricetags.wordpress.com/about/:deb9b]Gordon Price[/url:deb9b], 57, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#29 van-island

  • Member
  • 92 posts

Posted 06 April 2007 - 05:38 AM

That v-islander would be me!! :-D

Basically I think that the government is still living in the 1950's in respect to their perception of how transportation systems function. I am currently living in Japan, and the way of thinking here regarding transportation is pretty much a 180 compared to most of North America.

Car driving here is a luxury; taxes are high, toll roads are abundant, and traffic is horrible in most places. As a result, the government has (for the past 100+ years) focused heavily on creating an extensive rail system that covers damn near 100% of the country. So the prevailing public sentiment regarding trains is positive (and proud, especially in regards to the Shinkansen). Contrast this with BC, where people gulp at the thought of toll roads or higher taxes on cars or gas, and train travel is thought of distastefully as some leftover from the colonial days.

Vancouver did the right thing when they said "no" to increased capacity for the personal automobile. The problem is, Vancouver is a big city with clout, while the island is a bunch of fragmented municipalities. Even so, the mayors and councils on the island know what they want, and like Urbanrail said, the backlash is coming - it's just a matter of us getting organized to fight the MOTH and guv.

#30 valdez12

  • Member
  • 39 posts

Posted 06 April 2007 - 09:00 AM

Ya we can learn from elsewhere.. I agree..

While I am not against public transit, it does not solve all needs. The Malahat needs to be improved regardless. I am a bit of speed demon on there, I'll admit so lowering speed limits will just increase my road rage and make my blood boil more.

Amongst other, I've driven italian freeways in the southern Alps with tunnels and bridges to make your mind spin. I recall thinking "this is what the malahat needs as I was cruising along at 130kph in the rain and I FELT SAFE!! in my rental euro-diesel-econobox. Try that on the Malahat!

Make it a "world class" freeway (it can be done with bridges and tunnels), put a toll on it and voila, driving a priviledge and this will encourage car pooling, trip reductions, etc... and in parallel put in a GOOD bus system for Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay and Duncan WHICH DOES NOT EXIST NOW!! That's why there's so much traffic and it is unsafe.

This would be the quicket solution to the greatest amount of people. There's no bus system now and no room for one, but if a dedicated lane existed and the bus system was good, it would help a lot.

If the highway toll is $1-2 and a bus trip was $2 to downtown from Millbay, you bet it it would encourage bus travel.

#31 Icebergalley

  • Member
  • 596 posts

Posted 11 April 2007 - 09:06 PM

Found this Todd Litman VTPI 2006 analysis..


Rethinking Malahat Solutions: Or, Why Spend A Billion Dollars If A Five-Million Dollar Solution Is Better Overall?

This report evaluates various options for addressing traffic problems on the Malahat highway corridor, north of Victoria, British Columbia.

#32 Holden West

Holden West

    Va va voom!

  • Member
  • 9,058 posts

Posted 13 April 2007 - 08:41 AM

Jack Knox in today's TC:

"Local historian Maureen Duffus wrote in, following the release of the most recent government-funded study of traffic on the Malahat:

"You might be interested in reports to the Commissioner of Lands and Works in the 1870s. They were carried out as a result of Cowichan Valley settlers' appeals for a more direct route to Victoria. The wagon road on the west side of the mountain involved a tiresome two-day trip.

"Their reports dismiss the route along the Saanich Inlet as too expensive, a waste of money, moving too few people (only a few riders and farmers who might drive stock over it) and 'quite impracticable.' The surveyors were of the opinion that the steep grades, rock slides and innumerable turns and twists ensured that no suitable line could be found east of the mountains. [They] recommended instead some minor improvements to patch up the old wagon road.

"The settlers had to put up with the old road, or a steamer service across Saanich Inlet, for many more years. Finally, an independent Cowichan landowner single-handedly surveyed the now famous route. He and other farmers gathered signatures and took their 10-foot-long petition to the legislature. Richard McBride's party saw possible votes from these disgruntled Cowichan Valley settlers. They won the 1903 election, and a promise was made. The first car made it over the mountain road in 1911."

Read more at Maureenduffus.com
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#33 hungryryno

  • Member
  • 79 posts

Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:39 AM

The Malahat is not the problem; it's the people driving it!

The nicest part of the drive between Victoria and the mid-island is the Malahat. Why? Because there aren't any traffic lights on it.

There are 62 traffic lights (soon to be 63) between Douglas / Superior and Departure Bay Ferry. Thats 62 lights in 114 kilometres of driving; or roughly 1 traffic light for every 1.9 km. However, there aren't anylights between Langford and Mill Bay, which is about 25 km. So in the remaining 89 km there lies the 62 signalized intersections. That's 1 light for every 1.4km

It's just like the Redwood Hwy in Northern California. Control the idiot drivers and viola :!:

By the way the 62 traffic lights on the Trans-Canada Hwy from Vic to Nanaimo is about equal to the number of traffic lights on the Trans-Canada from Horseshoe Bay to Regina (over 1500km)! Go figure, eh!

#34 hungryryno

  • Member
  • 79 posts

Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:42 AM

Photo Radar DID work on the Malahat, and we all know what happened to photo radar.

#35 Ms. B. Havin

Ms. B. Havin
  • Member
  • 5,052 posts

Posted 14 April 2007 - 04:28 PM

Interesting stats on the traffic lights...! Here's a theory of sorts: the traffic lights are supposed to be a kind of "blind" technological solution that regulates everyone, but they in fact just end up stressing everyone out, regardless of whether or not s/he is driving badly, madly, legally, or within the law. The speed/photo radar catches just the bad apples (and then stresses them out by fining them), but for some reason, we don't do that anymore.

Why not?

Why stress everyone, when you could really limit the aggravation to the bad drivers?

Somehow the traffic light stats you gave us, hungryryno, make me think that we're trying to "solve" other social problems in similar ways -- by stressing everyone ("spread the pain"?). But somehow that just makes it worse. Wouldn't it be better just to finger the bad guys and deal with them directly?
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#36 G-Man


    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 13,771 posts

Posted 14 April 2007 - 08:49 PM

You can shave a lot of theose lights off if you take the Nanaimo bypass and then double back at the end.

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 


It has a whole new look!


#37 hungryryno

  • Member
  • 79 posts

Posted 15 April 2007 - 10:06 AM

That's if your going anywhere north of Nanaimo.

Don't get me started on the Nanaimo Parkway. There was the PERFECT opportunity to build a proper expressway with no traffic lights... instead there are six. And the access from the north onto the old highway? An off-ramp was built to make it look like a flyover onto the old road, but no - it's a traffic light.

One more statistic: there are twenty-four speed limit changes between Victoria and Nanaimo. Yes - count them next time you take the drive. 24

And that's our National Highway!

#38 gumgum

  • Member
  • 7,069 posts

Posted 17 April 2007 - 07:46 AM

Think the Malahat's bad? Check [url=http://www.linkinn.com/wiki_101.php?add=&id=434&select=&version=1:e1c95]these[/url:e1c95] roads out.

#39 G-Man


    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 13,771 posts

Posted 17 April 2007 - 07:55 AM

I've been on the Bolivian one. It is scary. There is actually a worse one I was on in Peru. The hiking trail pics make me want to puke.

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 


It has a whole new look!


#40 gumgum

  • Member
  • 7,069 posts

Posted 17 April 2007 - 09:28 AM

^Yeah. Imagine busting your butt up this mountain to discover that you have to pass through this:

Mt.Huashan, China

You're not quite at the end of this discussion topic!

Use the page links at the lower-left to go to the next page to read additional posts.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users