Mike Wilson, University of Victoria director of campus planning and sustainability, where the current shared-use path is used by 1,300 students on bike and 700 pedestrians on a normal school day. UVic received $316,380 in provincial funding in partnership with Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

First of many UVic bike lane projects coming this fall

Province awards $316,000 towards first stage of campus cycling plan

A new two-way bike path that is expected to have 1,300 cyclists use it daily is coming to the University of Victoria and it could be finished this fall.

Funding towards the new designated bike path was approved last week by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for Oak Bay, though the section will be entirely within the university’s Ring Road. It’s the first of seven projects in the campus cycling plan that was released last year and it connects University Drive with the heart of the campus. Only municipalities could apply for this funding, so the route connects to Oak Bay’s active transportation plan which prioritizes Henderson as a corridor for bikes.

“We’re excited to see the project move forward in support of active transportation on campus and within the region,” said Mike Wilson, director of UVic campus planning and sustainability. “It’s been three years of planning and now we can see some physical progress.”

On a normal day, the University Drive connection pathway is a daily convergence of about 1,370 UVic commuters on bike and another 700 on foot. Once the new bikeway is added, the current path will become pedestrian-only.

“What we heard was there is conflict of cyclists and pedestrians, in an open area, heavily used, it’s an opportunity for us to improve that,” Wilson said.

When commuters reach the end of the connection pathway at UVic’s core, there will be new signage that alert cyclists to shift from commuting mode to the mindset of a shared space “nearing your destination,” Wilson said.

The bidirectional path will also have several additional amenities, including crossing improvements at the Ring Road and University Drive intersection, new lighting, and bicycle and pedestrian counters on each of the improved pathways, Wilson added.

The university is also partnering with the Capital Regional District to install the improvements. The shared data will be available to UVic and the CRD.

READ ALSO: Cyclists tired of part-time bike lanes on Henderson Road

UVic is already a regional leader for sustainable transportation, Wilson noted, and the number of cyclists is increasing.

In 2018, 62 per cent of trips to and from campus were made by walking, cycling or carpooling which was about 5,223 bicycle trips to or from campus on a typical day. That increased by about 579 trips (up 10.8 per cent) from 4,644 cycling trips in 2016.

In addition to Oak Bay, several Island municipalities benefitted from BC Active Transportation grants last week. The City of Victoria received $401,250 in funding for its Harbour Road bidirectional protected bike lane project while Nanaimo, the Comox Valley, North Cowichan and Salt Spring Island also received funding.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

oak bayUVic

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Mike Wilson, University of Victoria director of campus planning and sustainability, where the current shared-use path is used by 1,300 students on bike and 700 pedestrians on a normal school day. UVic received $316,380 in provincial funding in partnership with Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff) A map of UVic’s campus cycling plan shows the purple section of the University Drive connection pathway that will be the first completed piece of the master plan. With funding in place from the province, the work could be done by fall, said the university. (University of Victoria Campus Cycling Plan)

A map of the new bike lane and flow improvements coming to UVic’s University Drive Connection Pathway. Construction is expected late this summer. It connects to Oak Bay’s Henderson Road. (UVic Image)

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