A new two-way bike path that is expected to have 1,300 cyclists use it daily is coming to the University of Victoria and it could be finished this fall.
Funding towards the new designated bike path was approved last week by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for Oak Bay, though the section will be entirely within the university’s Ring Road. It’s the first of seven projects in the campus cycling plan that was released last year and it connects University Drive with the heart of the campus. Only municipalities could apply for this funding, so the route connects to Oak Bay’s active transportation plan which prioritizes Henderson as a corridor for bikes.
“We’re excited to see the project move forward in support of active transportation on campus and within the region,” said Mike Wilson, director of UVic campus planning and sustainability. “It’s been three years of planning and now we can see some physical progress.”
On a normal day, the University Drive connection pathway is a daily convergence of about 1,370 UVic commuters on bike and another 700 on foot. Once the new bikeway is added, the current path will become pedestrian-only.
“What we heard was there is conflict of cyclists and pedestrians, in an open area, heavily used, it’s an opportunity for us to improve that,” Wilson said.
Here's the new bike lane and flow improvements coming to UVic's University Drive Connection Pathway. Construction expected late this summer. It connects to @DistrictOakBay's Henderson Road. #yyjbike pic.twitter.com/Dkob0vFlDs
— Oak Bay News (@OakBayNews) June 30, 2020
When commuters reach the end of the connection pathway at UVic’s core, there will be new signage that alert cyclists to shift from commuting mode to the mindset of a shared space “nearing your destination,” Wilson said.
The bidirectional path will also have several additional amenities, including crossing improvements at the Ring Road and University Drive intersection, new lighting, and bicycle and pedestrian counters on each of the improved pathways, Wilson added.
The university is also partnering with the Capital Regional District to install the improvements. The shared data will be available to UVic and the CRD.
UVic is already a regional leader for sustainable transportation, Wilson noted, and the number of cyclists is increasing.
In 2018, 62 per cent of trips to and from campus were made by walking, cycling or carpooling which was about 5,223 bicycle trips to or from campus on a typical day. That increased by about 579 trips (up 10.8 per cent) from 4,644 cycling trips in 2016.
In addition to Oak Bay, several Island municipalities benefitted from BC Active Transportation grants last week. The City of Victoria received $401,250 in funding for its Harbour Road bidirectional protected bike lane project while Nanaimo, the Comox Valley, North Cowichan and Salt Spring Island also received funding.