The City of Victoria has begun consultations on several All Ages and Abilities (AAA) cycling routes for the James Bay. When it comes to route route options, James Bay is probably the most changed neighbourhood in the city, hence the delay. Read on for some history and our thoughts. Then add your thoughts by March 28th to the city’s survey.
James Bay Routing in the past
This is not the first routing for James Bay, this could actually be argued it is third or fourth. The original Biketoria plan and the City’s first changes in 2016 showed the following networks – both focused on the Seaside Touring Route.
Original Harbour Edge route
City’s first plan in 2016
The original plan was criticized for not getting James Bay residents around their own community. So in 2017 and 2018 the James Bay Neighbourhood Association created two reports – Getting Around and Sharing our Streets – which proposed much of the network that the city is looking at today. You can see both plans on the JBNA’s Active Transportation Committee page.
With that in mind, the city went to James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) in February 2020 to discuss alignment options. You can see the first tweet of our thread below (in the before times, when we could be in room with other people)
The 2021 routing options
With that history, we come to the 2021 routing options, which cover 2 proposed north/south routes, Government Street from Belleville to Dallas, and Montreal St/Dock St, while there is a choice of east/west route: Michigan Street or Superior Street. All the routes will be constructed in 2022.
Given its directness and connections, Government Street is ideal as a cycling connection.
To ensure safety and comfort for those cycling, Government St north of Superior Street to Wharf will feature separation of vehicles and bikes, while south of Superior Street will see traffic calming and speed limit reductions. In addition, vehicle traffic will be diverted southbound at Superior and northbound at government to reduce vehicle volumes.
- We are not certain that traffic volumes can hit the key 500 cars/day needed for AAA and if not, protected bike lane portions will be needed.
- More crosswalks are needed throughout the southern section for easier crossing for pedestrians.
Superior Street or Michigan Street?
For the east-west connection, there are two options: Superior St or Michigan St. Both have their disadvantages and advantages, although overall we prefer Superior St.
Given the higher traffic volumes and speeds, Superior St will require a protected bike lane, compared to traffic calming and speed reductions proposed for Michigan St. Similar to Government St, it’s directness and connections to Fairfield and beyond make it an ideal cycling route.
Superior’s street’s wider right of way and many existing protected bike lane on the south side, plus it’s connection to destinations, make it overall the better option.
There are no plans to close the bike lane gap between Douglas and Government streets. Currently, there is an eastbound bike lane, with the westbound bike lane that begins well after the Douglas intersection. This gap needs to be addressed.
Alternatively, the city could build on Michigan St with a largely shared street – traffic calming measures instead of a protected bike lane.
- We are concerned that the measures traffic calming proposed are not sufficient to reduce vehicle volumes and speeds.
- Advisory bike lanes are not All Ages and Abilities – the concept remains unproven on Humboldt St.
- While the eastern terminus of the route connects to the multi-use trail in Beacon Hill Park, the trail meanders through the park and is not direct.
We believe that Superior is the better option – it connects to more destinations.
Have your say below
You can fill out the online consultation and survey at this link.
All Images by Nevin Thompson, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0