Fort Street

Fort Street is strategically  located  in the centre of Victoria’s downtown  minimum  grid  of  all  ages  and  abilities  cycling infrastructure, accommodates existing and future demand for cycling, and balances the needs for all road users.

Based on the design approach of providing a tighter grid of facilities in the downtown, Fort Street is recommended as part of the 2018 Priority Network. The City of Victoria is taking the next step in implementing protected bike lanes in the downtown core and Fort Street has been approved as the next corridor to be designed and constructed. When the project is complete, it will include a two-way, physically protected bike lane with new traffic signals on the north side of Fort Street, from Wharf to Cook Street. In addition to these improvements, a number of amenities have also been planned to help make the corridor more enjoyable and safer for all users.

Engagement along Fort Street

From October 2016 to February 2017, the City held multiple public consultations and meetings with business owners and corridor stakeholders to gain insights and suggestions on the design of the Fort Street corridor. Fort Street is more than a bike lane project. The city wants to ensure that this project improves conditions for all road users, but most importantly pedestrians, cyclists and transit users to encourage more people to take sustainable forms of transportation. Through a “complete streets” design lens, the project aims to accommodate people who drive cars, take transit, walk and ride bikes. Other design elements, such as improved pedestrian crossings, enhanced BC Transit service operations, accessibility enhancements, and improved streetscape and landscaping features are also a part of the project. Overall, the feedback collected from stakeholders on the project during the public engagement process was positive.

Business and property owners were provided detailed design information for each block of the corridor to establish a high level of familiarity with the design so engagements were well informed. Some of the concerns that were raised included re-location of the existing parklet, the design and configuration of drop off and loading zones, accessibility features, the bike lane alignment being on the north side of the street, loss of on-street parking, configuration of on-street parking, timing of construction, and pedestrian-realm improvements. In addition, feedback was also received that the consultation process didn’t engage early enough with key stakeholders and the project felt rushed.

The City is thankful for all feedback received during this period, input will be used to inform final designs for Fort Street as well as future consultation/design processes for other corridors in the AAA bicycle network. View the design revisions [PDF - 45.3 MB] for each block and frequently asked questions [PDF - 116 KB].

Next Steps:

Spring 2017 – Council Approval of Fort Street Design

Summer 2017 – Finalize Detailed Design and Tender Construction Contract

Fall 2017 – Begin Construction

Winter / Spring 2018 – Complete Project

What will this project look like on Fort Street when it’s completed?

One of the biggest opportunities that this project provides is the chance to enhance and improve the experience for not only people riding bikes, but all road users. Active transportation investments like the protected bike lanes that will be built on Fort Street offer a variety of improvements for:

People walking:

Protected bike lanes add a buffer between pedestrians and vehicle traffic which offers a safer and more enjoyable experience for people walking. Other amenities such as mid-block crossings increase accessibility and connect people to where they want to go, while benches, trees and public art make the corridor a more pleasurable and desirable street to be on as a pedestrian.

 

People riding bikes:

A protected bike lane physically separates bikes from cars, offering a cycling experience that is safer and more comfortable than standard bike lanes.  Raised medians, planters, on-street parking, or bollards will create this space for people on bikes. Protected bike lanes will encourage people of all ages and abilities to cycle in Victoria and help shift our transportation mode share to increase the number of people who bike more often.

People using transit:

The new protected bike lanes will be on the north side of Fort Street (current bike lanes are on south side) and will remove the possible conflicts between cyclists and BC Transit busses. Fort Street is a transit priority corridor and the new bike lanes will not create delays on transit times. And of course, once a person steps off a bus along Fort Street, they become a pedestrian and can take advantage of the new amenities for those on feet.

 

People driving vehicles:

People driving cars will be separated from people riding bikes in the protected bike lanes, lowering the possibility on-street conflicts. Lane reductions will likely lower the speed at which drivers travel along Fort Street, but will still allow traffic to flow smoothly through the corridor.

Why improvements on Fort Street?

Fort Street has been identified as a favourable cycling route since the bicycle mater plan was created in 1995. Fort Street is relatively flat with appropriate grades (1.6%), it has many key destinations, it serves as a strong east-west connection through the downtown core, and demand is currently high (17%) along Fort Street.

In the 2014 Bicycle Master Plan Update, Fort Street was again identified as a highly desirable route to have safer bike lanes implemented along the corridor. In the “Biketoria” stage – which was initiated in order to review and confirm what was laid out in the Bicycle Master Plan – Fort Street was again identified as a corridor with high demand for safe cycling infrastructure. During the “Biketoria” stage the City and its hired consultants involved a number of stakeholders to help design an All Ages and Abilities bicycle network.

During the “Biketoria” network development process the City of Victoria engaged a world class team of transportation consultants and brought together a technical advisory committee consisting of representation from:

  • neighbourhood associations
  • business
  • women
  • students
  • accessibility community
  • urban design experts
  • cycling community
  • transportation planners and engineers

In addition, the City worked with and continues to work with stakeholders in order to to design and develop an attractive, comfortable and convenient bicycle network in Victoria:

  • External Agencies: BC Transit, CRD, ICBC, as well as surrounding communities such as Saanich, Esquimalt and Oak Bay
  • Internal City departments: Emergency Services (Fire and Police), Public Works,  Parks,  Planning and Engineering (Transportation and Underground Utilities)
  • Neighbourhood Associations: Victoria’s 13 neighbourhood associations were engaged or given the opportunity to provide feedback about the proposed bike lanes
  • Business/Industry Associations: Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Greater Victoria Harbor Authority, Greater Victoria Economic Development Agency, and the Greater Victoria Hoteliers Association

Highlights

  • Extent: Wharf Street to Cook Street
  • Length: 1.2km
  • Road Network Classification: One-way Downtown Core, Arterial
  • Road Width: 12.1-17.6m
  • On-Street Parking: Majority parking both sides
  • Truck Route: Yes
  • Transit Route: Yes (high frequency)
  • Existing Bicycle Facilities: Bike lane
  • Destinations: Connects Downtown, Harris Green and Fairfield neighbourhoods, provides access to diverse retail, employment and service destinations, and is the east west spine of the Downtown network of AAA bicycle infrastructure
  • Connections: Wharf St, Vancouver/Cook, Pandora/Oak Bay

The Recommended Network - Biketoria Interim Report provides additional information about the Fort Street route.

 

Feedback

Do you have feedback about Fort as a proposed cycling route? Email: engage@victoria.ca