Navigating Sooke: Transforming Traffic Challenges into Solutions

Last updated February 13, 2024

Travel to/from Sooke is a challenge as our population grows and Highway 14 provides the main point into/out of our community.

The District understands the frustrations that come with daily commuting, especially during the evening rush hours, when travel can be particularly prolonged.

It’s not desirable in any way and Council and staff are not complacent with this reality.

Balancing infrastructure upgrades with minimizing disruptions is a complex task, but it is a priority.

We recognize the challenges our community faces and are actively exploring short, medium, and long-term solutions to address the traffic woes. Here’s an overview of some of the initiatives underway:

Transportation Master Plan Implementation

We are swiftly moving forward with the implementation of our Transportation Master Plan as quickly as resources allow. This plan aims to enhance traffic flow off Highway 14 on local roads, which is within the District’s immediate purview (whereas Highway 14 is provincial jurisdiction).

Follow the implementation of the plan at

Collaboration with MOTI

Discussions with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), responsible for Highway 14, are ongoing. We are working collaboratively to find effective solutions to alleviate congestion and enhance overall transportation efficiency.

Council has invited MOTI representatives to attend an upcoming public meeting. MOTI will be attending the April 8th Regular Council Meeting to provide a presentation and receive Council questions. The meeting will take place at the Sooke Municipal Hall, 7pm start, while also being live-streamed with a recording available for persons to watch/listen to at their convenience.

A recent $87 million investment was made to improve road safety. More on this project, including results from public engagement, are available on the project information page.

Carpooling Considerations

It will take everyone working together to realize solutions, and this includes members of our community. Most travelling on Highway 14 during peak times appear to be single occupancy vehicles. There is a Sooke Carpool Group for those looking to ride share. While we know carpooling doesn’t always work for everyone’s schedule, perhaps it’s something to consider once or twice a month, if not more frequently.

The District is looking into a mobile app and channels with major employers and/or key locations (i.e. Langford, downtown Victoria, CFB Esquimalt, Victoria Shipyards, Victoria General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital) to serve as a tool to connect residents. We hope to have an update on this next month.

Pedestrian Enhancements

To support alternative travel methods, especially around schools, we are focusing on pedestrian enhancements. Collaborations with School District 62 are underway to improve school locations and access points, with the potential to help lessen key bottlenecks on Highway 14 which occur around school sites. When development proposals come forward, through the internal referral process staff identify alignment with the Parks and Trails Master Plan to help realize this infrastructure at the most opportune times.

BC Transit Operations

While we understand early in 2024, BC Transit is experiencing recent challenges with staff shortages leading to trip cancellations, Council remains committed to advocating for greater BC Transit capacity and reliability – especially during peak times.

Before the cancellations, BC Transit had introduced a 40% expansion in spring 2023, resulting in a 26% increase in ridership.

On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, MLA Parmar spoke about the frustrating situation affecting persons commute on social media sharing,  “I had a chance to reach out to the Minister of Transportation, just to get a bit of an update and wanted to share with you that BC Transit unfortunately is dealing with an aging fleet and that’s led to some buses that have unfortunately had some mechanical issues. But, not to worry, they’ve got mechanics working on them and in the long run, our government is working with BC Transit to ensure that they’ve got a (newer) fleet so we’re not having to deal with old and aging buses.”

Local Employment Opportunities

Creating greater local employment opportunities is part of our strategy to reduce commuting and ease traffic congestion.

The District has hired a Community Economic Development Officer. This is a new position for the District. They are responsible for fostering economic growth and sustainability by implementing strategies, programs, and initiatives that support local businesses, attract investments, and enhance overall economic well-being including jobs opportunities paying living wages – or better.

Specific Project Highlights Underway

  • Church/Throup Roundabout: Completing the Church/Throup roundabout this spring to enhance traffic flow alongside expanded development at 2182 Church Road.
  • Charters Road: In November 2021 after an atmospheric river event, Charters Road was limited to single lane alternating traffic. To repair and upgrade this road to better service the community, the District has secure approximately $7 million in funding. Work commenced January 2024 and is set to be complete by year end and will include restructuring, reopening the road to two lanes and the addition of sidewalks and bike lanes.
  • Highway 14 and Church Road, including Lanark Road Connection: Alongside the 6569 Sooke Road development a new bus bay will be added, as well as a local road connection via Lanark Road to assist with travel flow in the area. Timelines for this work on developer contingent. Building permits, once issued, are valid for 2 years pending requests for extensions.
  • Highway 14 and Charters Road: Alongside the 2170 Charters Road development, a light to facilitate safe turning in both directions and accommodate increased traffic will be installed. Pedestrian safety improvements in the area will also be made. (While a roundabout was explored, the land is insufficient to accommodate one.) As soon as a timeline for these works is known, this page will be updated.
  • Throup Road Extension: By bringing Throup Road connector to 50% design we can apply for grants to help us lessen the financial impact on taxpayers. This connector would travel behind SEAPARC to Throup Road and provide an alternative travel route from Phillips Road.
  • Trail Expansion Projects: This is occurring in areas throughout the community, such as the recently installed a safe pathway between Golledge Avenue and Stan Jones Park as part of the 6418 Charters Road Development.
  • Pedestrian Bridge across Little River (Demamiel Creek): Secured $1.3 million in federal funding for a pedestrian bridge creating a safe path between Sunriver neighborhood/Ravens Ridge Park and Journey Middle School and École Poirier Elementary Schools/Sooke Town Core.
  • École Poirier Elementary School Active School Route Pilot Project: This pilot project recognizes that school zones are busy spots and by work thing together, we can lessen congestion and make a positive impact for our children. The pilot project acknowledges where there is infrastructure available to provide safe routes to school, encourages making use of them or meeting spots that connect to sidewalks and trails. Specific from a transportation network perspective, the intent is to help lessen some vehicle traffic around the school site. Those using the routes and alternative meeting spot locations have shared that it saves them 15-20 minutes on their morning commute.

Project under exploration

  • Phillips Road Intersection: While in the very early stages, we are looking at improvements to this intersection to facilitate flow around this major corridor. Estimated timeline, once funding is secured, will be several years away; however, consultation with geographic stakeholders may begin shortly.
  • Collaboration with School District 62: Collaborating with the provincial government, given school locations on Highway 14, and our local School District, Council is exploring alternative access points and/or other considerations to better manage traffic around school sites.

Moving Forward

These projects represent a snapshot of our comprehensive approach to improving traffic conditions and safety in Sooke. Stay tuned for updates and thank you for being part of the positive transformation in our community.


Why can't Sooke simply stop growing?

Sooke is a “specified municipality” in the Housing Supply Act. This means, by Ministerial Order, we have housing targets that the Ministry of Housing will set for our community to meet. Beyond that, limiting or stopping the expansion is a complex and multifaceted challenge that involves various legal, economic, social, and practical considerations. While it’s theoretically possible for a municipality to implement policies to slow population growth, there are several factors that make it difficult to achieve such a goal:

  • Individual Property Rights: Property owners have rights to use and develop their land within the bounds of applicable laws and regulations. Restricting population growth often involves limitations on property rights, which can be legally challenging.
  • Economic Considerations: Population growth is often linked to economic development. A growing population can stimulate local economies by creating jobs, increasing demand for goods and services, and contributing to tax revenues. Restricting growth may have economic repercussions.
  • Housing Demand: If there is demand for housing in a particular area, attempting to halt population growth can lead to a shortage of housing, potentially causing affordability issues or housing crises — such as what the region is currently experiencing.
  • Legal and Regulatory Framework: Municipalities operate within a legal and regulatory framework set by higher levels of government. Implementing policies to halt population growth may require changes to existing laws and coordination with regional and provincial authorities.
  • Demographic Factors: Natural population growth, immigration patterns, and other demographic factors are not entirely under the control of local governments. External factors can influence population dynamics.

It’s important to note that efforts to manage population growth need to be carefully balanced to avoid unintended consequences, such as economic stagnation, housing shortages, or negative impacts on quality of life. Sooke is looking to focus on sustainable and responsible growth management rather than attempting to stop population expansion entirely. Admittedly, we are living through growing pains in particular with traffic congestion presently. Solutions involve strategic planning, infrastructure development, and community engagement to ensure that growth occurs in a way that benefits residents and the local economy.

Who pays for road, sidewalk and trail improvements?

The funding for road, sidewalk, and trail improvements comes from a combination of sources, and the responsibility is often shared among various levels of government, as well as private entities. Here are some common sources of funding for such infrastructure projects:

  • Local Government: The District allocates funds from our budgets to maintain and improve roads, sidewalks, and trails. This can include revenue from property taxes, local sales taxes, or other local fees.
  • Provincial/Federal Government: Provincial gas taxes and other revenue sources may be allocated for such infrastructure. Additionally, the District applied for funding through provincial and federal grant streams.
  • Development Cost Charges (DCCs): DCCs are fees collected from land developers to assist in financing the cost of upgrading or providing infrastructure services to support the new development.
  • Development Frontage Improvements: As a condition of development or building permits, applicants may be required to support street, curb, gutter, sidewalk, storm drainage, street lighting, utility relocation or installation, landscaping and irrigation improvements within the frontage of the development area.
  • Grants: The District seeks grants from various sources, including non-profit organizations, foundations, or other government agencies, to supplement our budget for infrastructure improvements.