Funding is in place and construction is set to begin this fall on the second phase of a bus priority lane on Douglas Street from Tolmie Avenue to Saanich Road.
Construction on the project is expected to get underway this fall, and will widen sections of Douglas Street to create an additional northbound lane.
The new lane will be built wider to accommodate both buses and cyclists. The widening will involve rebuilding about 650 metres of curb, gutter and sidewalk on the west side of Douglas from Francis Street to about 100 metres south of Hillside, widening the road by a metre to create a new 3.3-metre southbound travel lane for buses, according to a city staff report.
This extension will tie into the existing municipal bus lanes and will provide a continuous lane for transit services northbound from Fisgard Street in downtown Victoria to Saanich Road at Uptown.
“The ministry is following through on the commitment we made as part of B.C. on the Move to extend the Douglas Street bus lane,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Today we are committing $6.45 million to this project that will reduce travel time for northbound bus users on the busiest transit corridor in the Victoria region.”
“During rush hour, 40% of people are moving along the corridor on transit, but our buses are actually only 3% of the traffic on the road,” said Susan Brice, chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission and Saanich councillor.
“It not only makes sense to give buses a priority – it’s the right thing to do. This project will result in shorter travel times and improved reliability, and help encourage transit ridership in the Victoria region.”
“This is a very important step in our continued goal to provide efficient and effective public transit to our customers in the Victoria region,” said Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO of BC Transit. “Working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to complete this important piece of our transit network will have significant benefits for the overall transit system, the community, and the customers we serve.”
During the first round of consultations on the McKenzie interchange project, 92% of people said that accommodating transit was important.
The province says this new lane is a key step to make the trip from downtown to McKenzie more convenient for transit users along the corridor.
A future plan to connect this new bus lane with the transit improvements that are being constructed as part of the McKenzie Interchange project.