Marketa Lund’s nine-year-old daughter was playing with her friend at their school, Quadra Elementary, before sitting down at the sidewalk. Suddenly the chime of a bicycle bell startled the girls, who jumped up and had a near-miss with the cyclist.
“It was lucky that they didn’t just pivot in the wrong direction,” Lund said.
This, she argued, illustrates the dangers of having more cycling traffic come near the school as proposed by the City of Victoria.
The city has laid out plans to include a bike lane up Fifth Street, with a portion running right through the elementary school’s playground area.
“If they put this route on an official map, they’re directing more and more people into the area,” Lund said. “It seems absurd that they’d want to make a safe thoroughfare of the school grounds if the school would be safer without it.”
|A proposed bike lane is set to run up Fifth Street from Vista Heights to Tolmie Avenue,cutting through the Quadra Elementary School playground in the process, as illustrated by the red line. (Google Maps)|
The City has been holding public engagements on the proposed changes, but Lund said their efforts have been half-hearted, noting that pictures they’ve been using in their engagement studies are outdated.
“The picture they used depicts what the area looked like back in 2014 when the school still had the fence up along the sidewalk, the school population was low and students still had access to the primary playing field that is on school property,” Lund said. “This is not what the area looks like now.”
Additionally, Lund said that she went door-to-door asking over 60 people in the neighbourhood if they’d been consulted about the proposed changes in the past couple years, and heard that none of them have.
“I feel like this city is not listening, this route is not safe” Lund said. “It’s coming down to topography, not safety.”
On May 7 representatives of the City attended the PAC meeting at Quadra Elementary to further discuss the idea, but Lund felt skeptical about what they would take away.
So far the City has heard from 1,200 people in person-to-person meetings, online surveys and written submissions about the next phase of the bike lane network.
“Overall, we had really great insights from the school community on the Graham / Fifth route and suitable design treatments, as well as general feedback and preferences on other north-south routes that were proposed as a part of the consultation process,” said Sarah Webb, manager of sustainable transportation planning and development, in an email. “We are now preparing a staff report to council with recommendations on all three projects for council.”
For more information on the plan or to take an online survey on the designs you can visit victoria.ca/cycling.
Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi
Like us on Facebook