Oak Bay will remove the right turn slip lanes as it modernizes the newly revamped intersection of Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road to make it safer. (Oakbay.ca Image)

Oak Bay will remove the right turn slip lanes as it modernizes the newly revamped intersection of Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road to make it safer. (Oakbay.ca Image)

Oak Bay to remove slip lanes at Bowker intersection

Bowker Avenue intersection upgrades coming this summer

Three years after it was announced, the redesigned upgrade for the intersection of Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road is scheduled for construction this summer.

Oak Bay is making a number of changes to the intersection to make it safer including the removal of two “right lane channels,” or slip lanes.

There are two reasons to remove the lanes, said Dan Horan, director of engineering and public works.

“First, to shorten the distance for pedestrians to cross the street. The second reason is to slow (drivers) down as they come down the hill (if they are going to head eastbound on Bowker) so that it has a traffic calming effect. We’ll be removing that, so that cars wanting to go eastbound on Bowker will need to slow down and then turn right onto Bowker.”

Oak Bay will remove the right turn slip lanes as it modernizes the newly revamped intersection of Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road to make it safer. (Oakbay.ca Image)

READ MORE: Local developer funds reconstruction of Oak Bay intersection

READ ALSO: Willows students give council run for their money

Horan said Oak Bay is aiming to complete the intersection, ideally, in the summer.

“We are finalizing designs so that we can get up-to-date cost estimates for the project, then issue invitations to tender and if all goes well in the tendering process, hopefully, a contract award later in the spring,” Horan said.

Oak Bay also has an “emerging” plan to upgrade the intersection of Cadboro Bay Road and Beach Drive.

The Bowker intersection’s redesign was first announced at a 2018 press conference at the intersection when Abstract Development’s head Mike Miller, and then-mayor Nils Jensen, standing on the unfinished construction site of the Bowker Collection. Miller committed to pay for the intersection project as a contribution to the neighbourhood.

READ ALSO: Abstract doubles down on Bowker intersection investment

His company has paid $185,000 to Oak Bay towards the project. The Bowker Collection building was completed in 2020. Oak Bay has $500,000 earmarked for transportation safety improvements in the 2021 draft budget.

The Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition applauds the removal of the slip lanes (or right turn channels) as a modern safety trend in urban road design but are disappointed in Oak Bay’s lack of protected bike lanes on Cadboro Bay Road.

Four years ago a group of Willows students presented a request to Oak Bay council for protected bike lanes on Cadboro Bay Road, calling it a race track and that they feel unsafe biking Cadboro Bay Road.

“By not building protected bike lanes, Oak Bay risks falling further behind on their own goals to tackle the climate emergency, make Oak Bay’s streets safer and meet their own mode share goals,” said Corey Burger of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition. “The bike lanes outside parking have been proven to be dangerous and the BC Active Transportation Design Guide recommends against them.”

Mayor Kevin Murdoch said bike lanes on Cadboro Bay Road remain a priority following the redesign of the intersection. Removing the slip lanes is a start.

Cadboro Bay bike lanes are expected to be included in Oak Bay engineering’s coming active transportation plan proposal that is expected soon.

reporter@oakbaynews.com