Artist’s rendering shows the planned Heron Cove pedestrian bridge (Fig. 1) near Fisherman’s Wharf

Artist’s rendering shows the planned Heron Cove pedestrian bridge (Fig. 1) near Fisherman’s Wharf

Plans for Victoria’s David Foster Way largely leave cyclists out of picture

City unveils its vision for waterfront walkway in Victoria

The City of Victoria has unveiled its vision for the five-kilometre David Foster Way, but initial discussions seem to leave cyclists out of the picture.

Edward Pullman, president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, said the future harbour pathway – linking Ogden Point to Rock Bay – should ideally allow for multi-modal use.

“We don’t want a situation where we have a shared pathway that’s not done right, where we’re having conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists,” he said. “I’d leave that up to the city to work out, but we’d prefer to see cycling usage there.”

Mayor Dean Fortin said the primary focus of David Foster Way will be pedestrian use, but added it’s too early to comment on final design features.

“What we’ve put out is a vision,” he said last week as the city announced its hopes for the waterfront route. “The goal is generally for pedestrians, rollerblading, all those sort of things. If you’re looking for a commuter route, there are a lot of faster and more direct routes than the harbour pathway.”

Pullman said there are plans in the works to establish a bicycle rental program at Ogden Point to attract cruise ship tourists. A cycling pathway could help businesses flourish and decrease vehicle traffic through James Bay, he added.

“We recognize that cyclists don’t have a ton of right of way to work with through (James Bay), so we’re looking at (lowering) speed limits … and hopefully getting separated right of ways between cyclists and pedestrians.”

Completion of David Foster Way is expected to cost between $33 million and $40 million. The route will feature 11 “special places,” including a celebration plaza in front of the B.C. legislature.

Fortin said the city will limit its contribution to the project at $200,000 annually from its budgeted greenway funding, while the remaining cash will need to come from provincial and community grants.

Funding flows in for walkway

On Thursday, VanCity became the first community partner to contribute to the project, committing $100,000 to help build a pedestrian bridge at Heron Cove beside Fisherman’s Wharf.

David Foster has also donated $50,000 to his namesake pathway.

“We recognize we’ll have to put the funds together to build (the pathway) in sections,” Mayor Dean Fortin said.

Upcoming private-sector developments like the Janion and Northern Junk buildings, the floating seaplane terminal and the public sector Johnson Street Bridge project will include amenity investments for David Foster Way as well, he said.

The Harbour Pathway Plan was approved by council in 2008 after extensive public consultation.