Train bridge closure dissuades pedestrians, cyclists

It could be the unseasonable weather, or just an aberration – but early counts of rush-hour traffic  suggests some pedestrians and cyclists find the partial closure of the Johnson Street Bridge to be a deal breaker.

Cyclists belonging to the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition counted all forms of traffic on the bridge both before and after the city closed one of its two spans. On April 9, the city permanently lifted the train bridge, due to safety concerns, leaving the traffic bridge open for crossing.

“Pedestrian numbers were down quite a bit,” said Susanna Grimes, who organized the count May 3. “They’re really inconvenienced now with the train bridge closure, because everybody’s got to cross to the other side of the bridge.”

Between 4 and 6 p.m., the counters spotted 45 jay walkers, “dashing across the Esquimalt Road,” Grimes said. Three people even took their chances walking across the bridge in the traffic lane, rather than on the remaining sidewalk.

In total, 630 pedestrians crossed during the two hours of observation. That compares to 730 counted before the closure on April 7.

The number of cyclists rose marginally between the two counts, from 670 to 680, but the slight gain is deceptive, added Grimes.

Normally, cycling increases in the warming months, peaking in July and August.

Based on previous season’s traffic counts, cyclists on the bridge should have numbered closer to 760.

The GVCC will conduct another count tomorrow (May 12) to ensure last week’s count wasn’t an anomaly.

“I’m not surprised cycling has been affected,” Grimes said. “Given the reticence that cyclists have to ride on the road bridge, I’m not surprised that now that they’re forced to some are just saying ‘forget it.'”

The city has implemented a number of measures to aid cyclists, including sharrows, signage, and pilons to demarcate safe travel lanes. In about four months time, the city plans to install a traffic light at Esquimalt and Harbour Road.

The light may be on-demand only, triggered by a waiting car or cyclist.

“We talked about whether to put in a cyclist-activated button … weather to have bike lanes through the underpass or more sharrows along the road,” said Grimes. “Those details can make a big difference.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read