Brooke Gavinchuk gets a push from her mom Jordyn along the new Fort Street bike lane during its official opening, Sunday May 27. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Brooke Gavinchuk gets a push from her mom Jordyn along the new Fort Street bike lane during its official opening, Sunday May 27. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Fort Street bike lanes officially open in Victoria

Latest stretch of bike network a designated two-way, protected downtown lane for all abilities

Cyclists of all ages and abilities gathered in the 700-block of Fort Street on Sunday to celebrate the official opening of the dedicated, two-way, protected bike lanes running from Wharf to Cook Street.

Free bike rentals, family activities and live music welcomed those on bikes, scooters, tricycles – even a penny-farthing.

Jordyn Gavinchuk, who watched as her toddler Brooke wheeled around on a balance bike, said having protected lanes makes her more inclined to bring the family cycling downtown.

“We’re a pretty active family so it’s nice that Victoria is expanding the ease of biking,” she said.

RELATED: Latest disrupted retailers remain positive during Fort bike lane work

The construction of the hotly-debated bike lanes, the latest in the City’s cycling network, has not been without its critics.

Some local businesses complained about disruption during the building phase, but Teri Hustins, owner of Oscar and Libby’s and member of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, said today was about celebrating what the bike lanes will add to Fort Street.

“Today is really just about welcoming people back to the street, the celebration of the lanes and for people to rediscover the uniqueness of the businesses,” said Hustins, who handed out free bike bells to riders passing through.

RELATED: Lessons learned: City reflects on bike lane construction

Addressing the crowd, Mayor Lisa Helps – an avid cyclist – apologized to Fort Street businesses, acknowledging the construction had a significant impact. She then challenged those in the corridor to gauge their revenue starting Sunday “with two times the amount of customers coming right by their front doors.”

“The reason we’re building this infrastructure is so that people who need to drive, people with disabilities, seniors … will be able to do so, because all of those who would cycle, but don’t because it’s not safe, will be cycling,” she said, adding it frees up road space and parking for everyone.

People want to live in close, connected, smart communities, she noted.

Fort Street is the second all ages and abilities bicycle route in the downtown core, connecting it to the rest of a 32-km network that rolls out to every neighbourhood, as well as to regional trails.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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

 

Carolyn Zyha (left) joins her friend Heather Knowles (right) as they try out the new Fort Street bike lanes at the official opening, Sunday May 27. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Carolyn Zyha (left) joins her friend Heather Knowles (right) as they try out the new Fort Street bike lanes at the official opening, Sunday May 27. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Just Posted

Police will be out in force to target drunk drivers this weekend as part of ICBC’s annual CounterAttack campaign. (Contributed - ICBC)
Police launch Christmas CounterAttack this weekend

On average, 11 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on the Island every year

Victoria police arrested a man in a Yates Street grocery store Nov. 27 after he refused to wear a mask. (Black Press Media File photo)
Belligerent man arrested in Victoria grocery store after refusing to wear mask

Officers fined the man $230 under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

A 43-year-old woman is facing charges for impaired driving and leaving the scene of a crash after attempting to flee from police by driving down the beach in front of the Oak Bay Marina on Nov. 23. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter)
Victoria woman drives over seawall onto beach near Oak Bay Marina

Driver faces charges for fleeing crash, refusing breathalyzer test

Friends with Dorothy opens in Victoria.
LGBT2Q+ lounge Friends with Dorothy opens second location in Victoria

The Kelowna-based lounge plans to open in Victoria mid-December

Sig
Traffic delays expected on Monday from highway construction in Sooke

Single-lane alternating traffic between Otter Road and Caldwell Road

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MP to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MacGregor’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Most Read