This graphic shows plans by the District of Saanich for transportation infrastructure near the University of Victoria at a cost of more than $1 million. Plans call for 300 metres of separated two-way cycle track. District of Saanich.

Saanich wants province to pony up for new cycling track

Saanich has asked the province to help pay for upgrades to the cycling infrastructure near the University of Victoria.

Council Monday approved a grant application for $525,000 towards the Finnerty Road Upgrade project.

The project aims to improve active transportation by improving cycling safety, connectivity, and accessibility on Finnerty Road between McKenzie Avenue and Arbutus Road, said Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering.

This new AAA (all ages and abilities) cycling infrastructure will improve connection between the University of Victoria, student housing facilities, local area schools, Haro Woods, Queen Alexandra Centre of Children’s Health, Cadboro Bay Village, and Gyro Park, he said.

Specifics of the project include 300 metres of separated two-way cycle track, 200 metres of multiuse pathway, and 350 metres of new concrete sidewalk, for a total cost of $1.05 milllion, with 50 per cent of the funding coming from the provincial government, if the grant application under the BikeBC Program succeeds.

“It should be noted that funding assistance is limited to those aspects of the project that add, enhance or promote the installation of cycling infrastructure,” said Machielse in a memo to council.

The project will go ahead even if the application fail, as Saanich has already included the project in its budget, said Machielse.

This said, he believes the application has a good chance of success. “This project is an ideal candidate for provincial cost-sharing as it meets the BikeBC programs’s goal of encouraging cycling, creating healthy living environments, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through safe and effective cycling infrastructure,” he said.

Council approved the application unanimously. The application deadline is Feb. 9, 2018.

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