saanich bike lanes
Photo courtesy of District of Saanich

The final pieces of the city’s first bike lane phase – Humboldt, Wharf, and Cook streets – is now requiring an additional $3-million to complete.

According to a Times Colonist report, the money will come primarily from gas tax grants, and bring the total cost of the downtown network to an estimated $14.5 million – nearly double the original budget of $7.75 million approved in May 2016.

The city of Victoria will continue its plan to establish a minimum grid of 5.4 km in downtown Victoria by 2019. Once the downtown portion is complete, costs could drop as the city begins to work on areas that have fewer complications and traffic.

Mayor Lisa Helps told the TC that getting the minimum grid is crucial to the project’s success.

“That’s when you start to see the shift — when parents are going to actually take their eight-year-olds on their bikes downtown because they can get around safely. So that’s when the real transformation happens.”

Upon completion of the minimum grid (Phase 1), Victoria’s new bike lanes will be comparable to the amount of fully protected bicycle lanes in downtown Vancouver (5.6 km) and downtown Calgary (5.5 km).