UVic, city riding in tandem on new course

The City of Victoria and students at the University of Victoria are teaming up as part of a new course.

The City of Victoria and students at the University of Victoria are teaming up as part of a new course designed to address the challenges and opportunities of building a comprehensive bike network in the city.

The undergraduate geography course, Advanced Topics in Geography, includes a number of topics such as the North American cycling renaissance and how a project like Biketoria got off the ground.

“We proposed the idea of a Biketoria course where students would work on projects that support the implementation and evaluation of the cycling network,” said Trisalyn Nelson, a geography professor at the university who is teaching the course in tandem with Cam Owens. “A lot of (students) are interested in cycling, but more than that they’re interested in community outreach and feeling like their learning has a real practical angle.”

The 30 students currently enrolled in the course will be working on projects (based on city staff input) that will evaluate the eight proposed corridors.

North to south corridors include Harbour Road/Wharf Street/Belleville Street, Government Street/Gorge Road, Cook Street/Graham and Fifth streets, Begbie/Shelbourne streets.

East to west corridors include Pandora/Oak Bay Avenue, Humboldt Street/Fairfield Road, Fort Street and Haultain Street/Bay Street and Kings Road.

Students will study what it takes to bring the corridors to fruition, collect baseline data, and generate infographics and other media that communicate what stakeholders could expect to see with the implementation of the network.

Projects will then be given to city staff at the end of the semester.

The pilot project is part of a larger initiative to strengthen the city’s relationship with post-secondary institutions and provide students with real-life learning experiences.

“They’re working on active projects, but they’re also getting a credit and providing valuable information and data for, in this case, city staff, but potentially, if we do this really leading-edge, for private sector industry as well,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Last year, the city allocated $7.75 million to the construction of a comprehensive cycling network by 2018 for all ages and cycling abilities.