Tinto rocks to stay for now

After a great deal of discussion today around the council table and with the members of public that showed up, including the Monterey Middle School Principal Brenda Simmons, council ultimately opted not to remove the rocks on Tinto. Nor did they opt for new parking bays.

During the questioning, a few things very quickly became clear; that the residents that wanted the rocks gone didn’t particularly care if the parking was there or not, just that the rocks were unsightly. Secondly the problem traffic at the Monterey Ave end was due to the entrance being there. Not unsurprisingly, the lone resident of Tinto St. who opposed the removal of the rocks lives at the corner of Tinto and Monterey. Lastly, the problem traffic was not school traffic anymore, it was now evening and weekend users of the fields, primarily sports teams. One of the residents pointed out that this isn’t exactly a new issue, demand was high back in 1990.

Principal Simmons provided some information that had been lacking from teh debate previously. Firstly, the school needs the Tinto Street entrance as that is where they marshal their students in case of evacuation from the school. Second, almost half of the students already walk, bike or take transit to school, which far exceeds the working populations 1/5. And lastly, the school has a very defined traffic pattern, one that discourages use of Tinto St. at all. Despite this discouragement, one resident reported traffic on Tinto St. being a problem around school pickup and drop-off times before the rocks were placed there.

One of the better quotes of the night came from the Mayor:

This looks easy compared to bicycle lanes on Henderson

Ultimately council opted to ask the school board for the following two items:

  1. A second entrance on Tinto St., on the Oliver end to help spread out the traffic.
  2. To let a community member have keys to the school parking lot, which is currently locked from 11pm Friday night until early Monday morning to prevent vandalism.

They hoped that then they wouldn’t have to spend large amounts of money on parking bays or stalls, estimated in the $20,000 to $60,000 range, depending on choice of surface. The Mayor was also asked by council to play mediator once again, talking with the local residents, the school and at the suggestion of a Tinto St. resident, a member of Oak Bay Parks and Rec to represent the various sports teams that use the Monterey fields on the weekends.

Finally, amusingly, I leave you with this quote:

It looked like East Berlin

A Tinto St. resident describing his reaction after seeing the rocks along the boulevard.

New approaches to street design

Sharrows on San Juan Ave near Shelbourne
Sharrows on San Juan Ave near Shelbourne

Spacing Toronto, an excellent blog by the equally excellent people who create Spacing magazine, is running a well written piece on new approaches to street design. The key point made is that what we have done in the past, both being car-centric and usingĀ  cookie-cutterĀ  designs isn’t going to cut it anymore. They use the example of Annette St. in Toronto, which was to get bike lanes but then was downgraded to sharrows instead. Very much the Monterey Ave. controversy last summer (Committe of the Whole minutes: Aug 11 & Oct 6).

Complete streets are something I have mentioned here before and I truly hope they are catching on around here as well. San Juan Ave isn’t the only street that Saanich is working on and the CRD is working on their new Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan. Here in Oak Bay the Bike Master Plan a group of us are building is ticking along quite nicely, but we are always looking for more people. Email the projectteam if you want to help out with bike counts, mapping or anything else.