A protected bike lane along Pandora Avenue would benefit not only cyclists, but also businesses along Pandora, says one local business owner.
Council voted to move forward two options for Victoria’s first protected bike lanes to public consultation. The first is a two-way protected bike lane along Pandora, and the second is a one-way protected bike lane on Pandora and a one-way protected bike lane on Johnson Street.
Shane Devereaux, owner of Habit Coffee on Pandora Avenue, said he thinks a two-way bike lane on Pandora will be great for business.
“There will be that many more people going by our store,” he said. “Slowing things down and allowing people to access the city in different modes is one of the major steps towards trying to cultivate and enrich our downtown and work on it becoming a more and more vibrant place.”
Devereaux estimated about 10 parking spaces would be lost near his store from Government Street down Pandora. However, he said he does not think this will create a parking issue.
Edward Pullman, president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, said he prefers the two-way option on Pandora Avenue due to its connectivity to the new Johnson Street Bridge and the Galloping Goose trail.
The new Johnson Street Bridge is slated to include a multi-use protected trail for cyclists and pedestrians on the north side of the bridge. This trail will lead straight to Pandora Avenue.
“That benefit can’t be understated,” said Pullman. “If you had two one-way [bike lanes], you would lose that connectivity.”
If there was a one-way bike lane on Pandora and a one-way bike lane on Johnsos, cyclists would have to get over to Store Street then turn left onto Johnson Street. This will be an issue for less confident cyclists, said Pullman.
Another benefit is increased safety for cyclists due to the barrier between the bicycles and vehicles, said Pullman.
“These triple-a facilities are going to get more people riding their bikes because it addresses the issue and the perception of safety,” he said, adding that many people choose not to cycle due to safety concerns.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said having protected bike lans will “bring Victoria’s cycling infrastructure into the 21st century.”
While both the two-way and the one-way options will be presented to the public for discussion, Helps said the two-way lanes on Pandora will likely cost less, at an estimated $1.9 million. The cost of a one-way bike lane on Johnson Street has not yet been calculated.
“The drawback is that people aren’t used to two-way cycling on a one-way street,” said Helps.
Public consultations will begin in April to decide which bike lane option is most fitting.