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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney opens shower facility for vulnerable population

Facility located at Iroquois Park, near local food bank

Peninsula markets on hold, could look radically different upon return

Sidney’s chief administrative officer says it is ‘unlikely’ market will go forward in familiar format

Oak Bay Beach Hotel now delivers groceries, meals

Checking in with Oak Bay’s only hotel and guest house

Saanich councillor named one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25

Coun. Ned Taylor, three other young environmentalists from Greater Victoria on the list

Mental Health: Erasing stigma leads to new path for Victoria woman

Paula Roumeliotis struggled with bipolar disorder for 35 years before finding support

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

COVID-19: Vancouver Islander celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so Pauline Gray’s friends got creative

Most Read