Pandora bike lane seeing high usage

Close to 40,000 bicycle trips were made along the corridor in the first month.

It’s been just over a month since the city’s first protected bike lane opened on Pandora Avenue, and it’s already getting a lot of use.

According to the City of Victoria, close to 40,000 cycling trips were made along the Pandora corridor in the past 30 days, including 21,000 total trips travelling west towards the Johnson Street Bridge, and more than 17,000 total trips headed east along Pandora.

Compared to previous years, preliminary data indicates the number of bike riders on Pandora has nearly doubled during the morning peak period and nearly tripled in the evening peak period, due to the fact that the lanes now serve both eastbound and westbound riders.

“We were expecting to see an increase in ridership on Pandora. The tripled useage at the end of the day has surprised a lot of us,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, adding both drivers and cyclists need to continue proceeding with caution in the area, especially within the green markings. “I think that we’re going to see the ridership increase more once the Johnson Street Bridge is complete and there’s that seamless connection.”

But the lane hasn’t been without controversy. The change in traffic pattern, such as the no right turn on a red light, has caused confusion for cyclists and drivers. Victoria police are also expected to ramp up enforcement in the coming weeks and will begin issuing tickets to those not following the new rules of the road.

Earlier this month, city council approved the construction of a two-way separated bicycle route for the north side Fort Street froom Wharf to Cook streets, which is expected to be complete in early 2018.

RELATED: Fort Street bike lane passes major hurdle in Victoria

The lanes are the first in the city’s plan to build an all ages and abilities cycling facility in the downtown core by the end of 2018.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com