Letter to Council re: Conceptual Plans Biketoria Cycling Network in Downtown

Posted on March 20th, 2016 · Posted in Land Use, Letters

Mayor Lisa Helps and Council
City of Victoria
No.1 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC
V8W 1P6

March 16, 2016

Re: Conceptual Plans Biketoria Cycling Network

Dear Mayor Helps and Council

Several DRA Board and Land Use Committee members participated in recent Biketoria workshops held in March 2016. Conceptual designs were presented by City Staff to ours and other stakeholder groups.

The plan presented is extensive with ambitious goals and timelines and complicated implementation. Funding would also be a complicating factor which will present additional challenges for prioritization of the many potential different phases. It was also noted that the level of detail presented was surprisingly minimal considering the proposed implementation timeline.

Our members made the following observations or stated concerns:

  • The network should be constructed to connect people with their destinations.
  • Is it necessary to have the Wharf Street and Governments Street routes in such close proximity?
  • Entire routes should be developed at one time based on potential ridership from the neighbourhoods and districts they will serve. To attract riders of all ages and abilities, complete routes will give people the opportunity to ride to the places they want to go.
  • Construction should be focused on temporary structures rather than permanent structures. It’s more flexible and cost effective to change anything that’s not working.
  • Government Street has been identified in the OCP for continuation of the Government Street Mall from Yates to Pembroke. In order to prevent any conflict between the two priorities we suggest that any proposed cycling infrastructure along this section of Government Street must take place in conjunction with the design and construction of the mall extension.
  • There are many sections downtown where several vehicle lanes, turning lanes and commercial loading zones are proposed to be removed to facilitate the construction of cycling infrastructure. This has potential to seriously affect the efficient operation of vehicular traffic with unintended consequences including increased traffic on secondary streets. All traffic movements need to be modelled and impacts to vehicular traffic assessed and mitigated before any design is approved.
  • As there is limited funding available, prioritize and pick one north south route and/or one east west that bisects the city and connects to other existing cycling infrastructure and destinations. If the construction of the initial prioritized routes is completed entirely and consecutively this will provide initial infrastructure with at least some proximity to most neighbourhoods and will provide valuable experience and user data for the construction of the balance of the network.
  • Partial construction of routes will “orphan” sections of the plan and not encourage the AAA objective.

The DRA generally supports this proposal as it appears to be of a high standard. As with most ambitious infrastructure projects they are largely an issue of executing the engineering in a deliberate and well planned process.

Sincerely,

Ian Sutherland

Chair Land Use Committee

Downtown Residents Association