The next iteration of the City of Victoria’s bike lane network could include a segment that runs through the playground at Quadra Elementary School.
This phase of the network includes a Hillside/Quadra corridor as an extension of the Vancouver Street route through the neighbourhood and to the Saanich border at Tolmie Avenue.
While city staff have considered several ways to connect the route from Vista Heights to Tolmie Ave, at the moment the “most preferred alignment” is to build it on Fifth Street, which would cut through or replace what is currently a pedestrian pathway/playground area in the Quadra Elementary School grounds.
According to Sarah Web, manager of sustainable transportation planning and development for the City of Victoria, this lane would be a shared bike route with slow vehicle speed and safer crossings for pedestrians, unlike one of the new protected bike lanes built on busy downtown roads.
According to city plans, there were a few other options under consideration that would not involve cutting through a school playground.
One of them was to build the lane up Graham St and then Jackson St until it hit Tolmie Ave, but while this would be the shortest distance, it also has the steepest topography out of all proposed routes.
Another would be to go from Vista Heights to Graham Street and Summit Avenue, up Quadra Street and across at Spruce Street, through Topaz Park, and up to Yew Street to Tolmie Ave. This is the longest route, has “steep topography in some locations” and would require interim treatments until the Topaz Park improvement plan has been implemented.
With the route through Quadra Elementary School, the main challenge for the city is to come up with a design that can take student recreation, school safety, and community transportation needs into account.
“The Fifth Street alignment was preferred because it’s got a few big attributes: one being a direct route to the school as a destination, and the topography is more gentle,” Web told Victoria Buzz.
“It connects with Saanich’s cycling network plans that they’re implementing, and there’s also an opportunity for looking at a creative solution at the Quadra Elementary School location.”
The City of Victoria is hosting public consultation sessions – and has an online survey available for those who can’t make it in person – in order to gather feedback to present to Council before moving forward with construction.
Here are the consultation dates and times:
- Open House & Design Workshop: Saturday April 6, 2019 between 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Victoria City Hall
- Open House & Design Workshop: Monday April 8, 2019 between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. AND 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Victoria City Hall
Web emphasizes that if implemented, this route would involve an entirely new design process that city staff will work with the public to come up with.
This could involve having the bike route go through or around the playground or coming up with a new playground to replace the ageing one. Most importantly, the city plans to work with both the public and school community to blueprint a design that works best for everyone’s needs.
“We would use this process over the spring to develop a design and then go forward into the summer for a detailed design. We’d spend the next 5 or 6 months working on the process,” says Web.
The City is also currently working on plans for two other sections of the bike lane network: the Harbour Rd corridor that connects the Galloping Goose Trail and the multi-use pathway of the Johnson Street Bridge; and the main Vancouver St corridor connecting Bay St and Park Boulevard through Beacon Hill Park.