2018 Survey Results

Recently, we asked members and social media followers to take part in our survey. Thank you for your responses! We’ll use the results to further refine our approach to pedestrian advocacy. Here’s what you said:

What are your favourite things about walking in Greater Victoria? The word cloud below sums up your responses:

Downtown is for everyone!

We asked you where you walk. Fifty-one of 70 respondents named “Downtown Victoria” as one of two areas they spend the most time walking in, making this the most popular response. Other popular responses were other City of Victoria neighbourhoods, along with the municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich. There were zero responses for Sooke and the Highlands, but all other areas (including Sidney) appear to be home to Walk On members and followers!

What needs work?

We asked respondents to tell us what they felt was most needed to make Greater Victoria more walkable (up to five responses). Here’s what you said:As you can see, the most popular response was in favour of policies that encourage mixed-used, walkable neighbourhoods. Other top responses called for better-maintained sidewalks, reduced speed limits, and more marked crosswalks.

The many thoughtful additional responses to this question provide a goldmine of information and ideas about what needs to happen to make Greater Victoria more walkable. There were so many great ideas expressed, we had trouble narrowing them down, so buckle up! We’ve grouped some together but as you can see, there is a lot of variety. Thank you for taking the time to give us your thoughts on this question–we will make sure to put them to use, including by sending your concerns onward to local decision-makers.

Additional amenities that would benefit pedestrians:
  • “More garbage/compost bins. There are so few!”
  • “More washrooms”
  • “[It] would be fantastic to see more street trees planted in neighbourhoods.”
Concerns about driver education and enforcement, especially regarding unmarked crosswalks:
  • “Drivers [are] not aware that under the Motor Vehicle Act pedestrians are allowed to cross at corners even if they are unmarked. (This should be obvious because how else would one legally leave a block that does not have crosswalks on it!). Is a pain and is scary when angry motorists honk at pedestrians who are crossing from one corner to another when there is no marked crosswalk.”
  • “Education and enforcement relating to vehicle drivers and cyclists being required to yield to pedestrians.”
  • “We need clear driver education that unmarked crosswalks are the same as marked/signaled crosswalks, and frequent enforcement drives to reinforce this message.”
  • “Crack down on distracted drivers.”
  • “I want police to conduct operations that ticket drivers who do not stop for crosswalks and who ignore the white stop lines at intersections (encroaching on crosswalks).”
  • “I want to see more enforcement of the law for motorists who ignore the law at crosswalks (including regular, i.e., unmarked crosswalks) and at stop signs and red lights.”
  • “Education for drivers. I have almost been hit by a car several times – at all times during the day.”
  • “There needs to be a cultural change where motorists assume more of the responsibility for operating dangerous machinery at speed.”
Concerns about sidewalk conditions:
  • “I find that walking along the sidewalks is potentially dangerous. I have tripped numerous times on the uneven paving…I now have my arm in a cast…I have heard of numerous people tripping on the sidewalks. Of course it doesn’t get reported like my injury. If there is some kind of record kept, I’m hoping that the municipality will have an idea how bad things are. Even one injury is too many.”
  • “Victoria is a very walkable city but the sidewalks are old and poorly maintained. I have had 3 friends trip on different uneven, raised sidewalks in the past 2 months. They all broke bones! All 3 were falls that could have been prevented if the sidewalks had been better maintained…Victoria is a city full of seniors, I am sure one of us trips and breaks a bone every day.”
  • “Sidewalks in Oak Bay are either in great disrepair or non existent.”
  • “I want sidewalks to be clear of vehicles and plant growth.”
  • “Remove obstructions on sidewalk”
  • “Public and private property trees & hedges encroach onto the sidewalk, making some impassable”
  • “I want less clutter on the downtown sidewalks; specifically sandwich boards, restaurant eating areas, and bike racks on narrow sidewalks leaving sometimes only a meter of space.”
Pedestrian-only streets:
  • “I want more roads temporarily closed for walking.”
  • “We need a car free street in Downtown Victoria”
Additional input about crossings:
  • “I feel the most dangerous think I do every day is cross the street. Drivers consider pedestrians as simply an obstacle put in their way. No matter how vigilant you are or how brightly dressed, the drivers just do not see you and they do not care. More driver education is needed….The traffic lights are designed only for drivers, pedestrians need more time to cross, especially the young and old. There should be a delay in the traffic lights to allow pedestrians to cross safely before drivers are allowed to turn.”
  • “We need Scramble Crossings on busy pedestrian intersections, where all traffic stops to allow pedestrians to cross.”
  • “[I want] more flashing cross walks outside of downtown (Bay street in particular, the crosswalks have no activation and drivers are looking to the next light at high speed and don’t stop).”
  • “CoV has been installing traffic lights at major crosswalks in neighbourhoods such as North Park and Hillside/Quadra. Much appreciated. Please continue and expand these pedestrian safety features to other arterials.”
  • “Better lighting is important for drivers to see pedestrians especially near crossings.”
  • “I want protection at crosswalks and reduced speeds by using curb extensions.”
  • “I have mobility issues. The walk times at some key intersections are too short for me. The walk timings need to be studied with focus on speed of walkers and habits of drivers, for example: if there is an advanced left turn north-south, drivers going west only look to the north when making a right turn going south, if you are a walker going north you almost get clipped with these right hand turning cars, the advanced left off and walk signals should have a delay. “
  • “Reconsider bike lanes and the interaction between cyclists and pedestrians.”
  • “I want more of the flashing crosswalk markers like the ones that were put on Cook street in North Park, those should be standard at all mid-block crosswalks outside of the downtown core where pedestrians aren’t as frequent so drivers often don’t stop because they don’t expect pedestrians to be there (Bay street in Fernwood is particularly bad for cars not stopping at crosswalks…”
  • “I think that the 5corner intersection on Menzies needs to be re thought. Walkers, busses scooters canes cars trucks and me, all very confusing and dangerous even though everyone tries to be in the moment. Accidents waiting to happen.”
Additional input about reduced traffic speeds:
  • “I want more infrastructure interventions to reduce speed limits, not just signs. I want more bollards to re-route traffic but allow bicycles and pedestrians. I want more indirect routing for cars and trucks.”
  • “A street that by design, not rules, encourages more active transportation and slower cars is more palatable to people than taking the same street they’ve been driving 50km in and making it 30km with few discernible changes. Reducing road widths, having bumpouts at crosswalks, encouraging plants and gathering spaces, all help convey a message of ‘hey, let’s hang out here’.”
  • “We need systemic fixes to improve the safety of people walking and biking in Victoria. #1 would be a default speed limit of 30 kph on non-arterial streets with an understanding that streets need to be calmed primarily by better design and education, not just by posting speed limits.”
Other input:
  • “A big problem with walking is often the number of dogs you encounter. Many are off leash and/or out of control. Dallas Road is a perfect example of this. The off leash area should be separate from the walking path. More education to dog owners is needed.”
  • “It is very popular to encourage people to give up their cars and get out and walk. But when a pedestrian is hit by a car nearly every week in British Columbia, it is difficult to feel confident about walking. Much more needs to be done to keep pedestrians safe.”
  • “I want less trucks on secondary streets (i.e. Bay street).”
  • “Wider sidewalks are a must! The North Park Village re-design should have included wider sidewalks – walking down Cook Street can be difficult when it is busy.”
  • “[I want] requirements for new developments to offer wide salewalks with grass/trees between sidewalk and road.”
  • “I want municipalities…to formally adopt Vision Zero in each municipality as the Province has with the Moving to VisionZero plan and RoadSafetyBC. I want municipalities to recognize and ACT on the reality that the built environment they manage at the community-level has population health effects and consequences to their citizens and everyone who commutes through or visits those communities. Active transportation, road safety influence preventable injuries and deaths among vulnerable road users. Transportation-related injuries and fatalities don’t only select for citizens and taxpayers of any given community – they are relevant to tourists, international students, visitors and trade/business. I want them to recognize the interdependence of safe, active transportation, road safety for vulnerable road users, the fundamental requirement for safe system infrastructure, reducing automobile speeds on neighbourhood roads, the importance of walkability and community connectivity to age-friendly community planning which allows people to age-in-place instead of having to leave when they can no longer drive a car, because so many of our communities have been built as car-dependent for access to services and amenities. I want municipalities to commit to NOT following the 1950’s sprawl and crawl car-centric planning style of Langford’s council and mayor, and instead take the lead on healthy built environment and active transportation which supports SAFE walking and road safety for vulnerable road users.”
  • “In general, I’d like to see the walkable parts of the streetscape not be treated as secondary, or afterthoughts! Especially downtown, there are often more folk on the sidewalks than driving down a given block – yet the sidewalks are a mere tiny percentage of the street area, and often in poor shape and cluttered”
  • “I want roads patched so massive puddles don’t put pedestrians at risk for drenching by passing cars. “
  • “…it would be nice to see initiatives aimed towards safety lighting that cuts down on ambient light pollution to the environment, with IDA-approved flat lens full-cutoff features and lower wattage.”
  • “I would like less hard surfacing of walking routes – the Goose, the Connector and now the Great Trail are now bike routes and do not encourage walking because of the hard surfaces.”
  • “Complete sidewalks to bus stops would be good. A study should look at bus stops and sidewalks that seem to start and stop in odd fashions. I often need to cross the street to find the sidewalk link or walk on the street since sidewalks stop.”
  • “Wider sidewalks will better accommodate both independent walkers and those walking with wheeled devices (strollers, shopping baskets, Zimmer frames)”
  • “We need a planning culture that encourages densification in neighbourhoods (without high rises necessarily) by lot size changes, more permissive zoning and more. We need a reinforcement of our community plan priorities, that put planning for walking, biking and transit above driving.”
  • “We need police/media to stop victim blaming on pedestrian accidents with a focus on what they were wearing/doing at the time.”
  • “Separate walking and biking areas by expanding mixed use trails.”
  • “We need neighbourhoods where I can send my child on a 15-20 minute walk to school without too much worry.”

Thanks again to everyone who responded to our survey! Reading all of your thoughtful responses helps keep us motivated to advocate for a more walkable Greater Victoria!