New designs have been released for the next phase of the Victoria bike lane network. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)

Victoria cycling community raises concern over new bike lane designs

High traffic along a corridor needs to be considered, Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition says

The cycling community appears to approve new bike lane designs for Victoria, with the exception of one.

On Monday the City of Victoria released designs for its next phase of networks, which will spread across Kings Road, Haultain Street, the northern end of Government Street, Richardson Street and Kimta Road. The routes will be a mix of protected bike lanes, painted bike lanes and shared streets. Final designs are set to finish in 2020 with a completion target of 2021.

“It’s certainly great to see the network continue to work forward, and move forward in a timely fashion,” said Edward Pullman, president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition (GVCC). “Really, you’ve got more moving out of the downtown core and more looking at routes going into various communities.”

One corridor in particular, however, is raising concerns. The connector route along Richardson Street will run from Vancouver Street to Foul Bay Road and utilize shared roadways with painted bike lanes on either side of vehicle traffic, essentially asking cars to give cyclists the right of way. The corridor, however, sees a lot of traffic from vehicle commuters.

READ MORE: Victoria unveils next phase of bike lane network

“The City has committed to vehicle number reductions to under 1,000, which was the same criteria for Vancouver Street, but not for Richardson,” Pullman said.

In design plans, the City has proposed reducing the traffic from 4,600 to under 3,000.

“That will be the biggest challenge of what is being discussed. The City needs to be monitoring those traffic vehicles,” Pullman said. “You have 3,000 vehicles on the road and the speed is 50 km/h.”

He added, however, that in order to keep a cycling route direct Richardson Street is the only viable option, since the surrounding Fairfield and Rockland roads are too busy.

ALSO READ: Residents seek protected bike lane to connect Victoria and Oak Bay

This leaves two options: remove parking from the street and create protected bike lanes, or keep the two-way street as it is with shared bike lane space and the use of traffic-calming measures. Designs indicate these measures could include median dividers, speed humps and directional closures.

Pullman has faith, however, that by offering alternative transporation options traffic will see a reduction. He points to a 1999 study from the City of Victoria that saw a significant decrease in traffic along the route after the University of Victoria launched its Universal Bus Pass.

“It’s not just about displacing traffic,” he said. “Some of it disappears.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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