Douglas Street 24-hour transit and bike priority lanes open Nov. 5

Vehicles caught travelling in priority lanes face $109 fine

The grand opening of the 24-hour priority bus and bike lanes on Douglas Street is planned for Nov. 5, after which time cars will be ticketed for travelling in the dedicated lanes.

Both sides of Douglas Street, from Fisgard Street to Tolmie Avenue, will be switched to 24-hour transit and cyclist priority lanes as part of the Transit Future Plan, the regional long-range transit strategy, apart from a couple of sections that will have parking outside of peak hours.

Vehicles caught travelling in the lanes will be fined $109 for failure to obey a designated-use lane under section 153.2 of the Motor Vehicle Act.

VicPD will be rolling out an education and enforcement campaign in the near future, said Shellene McConnell, senior communications and engagement advisor for BC Transit.

RELATED: High construction costs send Douglas bus lane project $2.2 million higher

The rapid transit lanes currently operate with bus and bike priority from 6 to 9 a.m. southbound and 3 to 6 p.m. northbound from Herald Street to Tolmie Avenue.

With the opening Monday, both sides of Douglas will become 24-hour bus-bike priority lanes and be off limits for other vehicles, except for those making a right turn in the same block.

RELATED: Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Douglas Street is one of the busiest commuter routes. During peak travels, as many as 1,700 vehicles pass through the corridor per hour. Transit vehicles account for three per cent of traffic, but move about 40 per cent of the people who use the route, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Douglas Street and the Trans-Canada Highway were identified in the Transit Future Plan as the key corridor for rapid transit to connect downtown Victoria with the West Shore.

“We’re excited to open this new section of dedicated lanes,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We are focused on taking steps to position transit as the first choice in regional mobility, in order to give our community high quality options that allow people to move seamlessly, affordably and sustainably across our communities.”

The northbound bus priority lanes will be 24/7 between Pembroke Street and Tolmie Avenue and 3 to 6 p.m. only between Fisgard Street and Pembroke Street.

The southbound bus priority lanes will be 24/7 between Tolmie Avenue and Kings Road and 6 to 9 a.m. only between Kings Road and Fisgard Street.

RELATED: Improved bus service coming to Saanich in fall

The Douglas Street Priority Transit and Cycling Lanes have been rolling out in different phases.

The ministry is continuing construction on the northbound section of Highway 1, which runs from Tolmie Avenue to the Burnside bridges north of Tillicum. This section will be complete before the end of 2018, and will provide a continuous northbound transit priority lane from Fisgard Street to the Burnside bridges.

“I know people are fed up with the congestion during their morning and afternoon commutes. These priority bus lanes should save time for people taking the bus,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena. “These communities continue to be among the fastest growing in Canada, and we are doing everything we can to encourage people to get out of their cars and take transit.”


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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