City Council and staff reflect on what they’ve learned from the Pandora Avenue and Fort Street bike lanes. Don Denton/VICTORIA NEWS

Lessons learned: City reflects on bike lane construction

Councillors and City staff said there are better strategies to apply to new bike lanes

The downtown Victoria bike lanes are a contentious topic; on one side they’re focused on safety and green transportation, on the other they’re invasive and expensive.

City council and staff are aware of these facts and in a Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe prompted City engineers to speak of the lessons learned in the Pandora Avenue and Fort Street bike lanes.

Director of engineering and public works, Fraser Work, was candid in his response.

“If I could go back in time, I would want to re-frame at a staff level that this is about safety,” he said. “A lot of questions come up about ‘why not simply add more painted lanes’ that have such a lower cost … that’s not what this is about. From a staff level I’m most interested in the safety for all cyclists that move in and out of traffic.”

Work said the bike lanes come up in conversations a lot, and even among his own family members he gets a little heat.

“‘Blow em up!’ those were my parents words,” he said. “My parents will never use the bike lanes … But, this is not a project that aims to make it more convenient or comfortable for a small group of cyclists. This is a program to make it safe to cycle in the city.”

WATCH: City approves Wharf, Humboldt Street bike lanes

When looking at past processes and designs, City manager of sustainable transportation planning and development, Sarah Webb, said there were several different lessons learned.

In terms of design, she said Pandora Avenue ended up having too many concrete barriers.

“On Fort, we looked at different ways to increase permeability of the project and only use concrete curbs at key intersections,” she said, noting that they opted for more paint and bollards where they could.

She also said the Fort lanes provided city engineers with a lot of insight on better ways to control traffic signal timing, something they continually tweak.

For Work, one of his most significant lessons was in regards to public engagement.

“In essence, we have to have more detailed conversations with key stakeholders, and re-architect the engagement process from what we learned with Pandora and Fort,” he said.

Brad Delleburr, manager of transportation and infrastructure design, echoed these thoughts.

“A much as we have open houses, talk to people on the street … the story is really difficult to get out to the general public,” he said. “What these facilities are, what they’re going to achieve … conversations around bike facilities are not going to end any time soon.”

Council members all spoke of the difficulty small businesses had amid construction, and that the City could provide better signage for businesses to let the public know they’re still open.

ALSO READ: City shifts gears on Cook Street bike lanes, Vancouver St. recommended instead

A large problem for Fort Street was that while lanes were being built, some underground infrastructure was also being updated, adding to the construction time.

“I totally recognize that, but if we hadn’t done that now … there would have been some kind of leakage … or 10 years from now we’d have to do the underground infrastructure,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “I know it’s been terrible, but it’s not all about the bike lanes.”

At the end of the day, Works acknowledged there were many needs to be met.

“There are no silver bullets,” he said. “We have to have a multifaceted approach.”

Coun. Thornton-Joe said that the bike lanes also came up in her dinner conversations, and that even when people like the lanes, there are frustrations about cyclists themselves.

“Hopefully we can continue to learn and share,” she said.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

bike lanesbiketoriaCity of Victoria

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

 

City Council and staff reflect on what they’ve learned from the Pandora Avenue and Fort Street bike lanes. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Just Posted

RCMP are trying to determine why a woman fled the scene of an accident in Sooke. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke RCMP search for driver who fled crash site

Police want to know why woman left

Knox Vision Society’s affordable housing complex at 2110 Church Rd. in Sooke. The building includes 42 affordable rental apartments. (File – Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke committee takes aim at affordable housing

Several projects close to breaking ground

The Royal Canadian Legion kicked off its annual poppy drive in Sooke with legion president Richard Steele (left), Mayor Maja Tait, T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordie Planes and poppy fund chair Al Stuart in attendance. (Kevin Laird/News Staff)
Sooke Legion credits restaurant, volunteers for keeping doors open through pandemic

‘We’re not making a lot of money, but we’re not losing a lot either,’ says legion president

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Patrol officers from VicPD’s Esquimalt division responded to a call about hateful graffiti in Macaulay Park Wednesday evening. (Black Press Media file photo)
Anti-Semitic, hate-based graffiti found in Esquimalt park

Police seek suspects after fresh hate-based graffiti found Wednesday evening

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Most Read