A New Bicycle Network Approved for the Capital City

BC’s Capital City will see 5.4 kilometres of protected, All Ages and Abilities (AAA), bike lanes built by the end of 2018. Last night, City Council approved a bicycle network that when fully constructed will provide over 24 kilometers of new protected bike lane and will position Victoria as leading small city when it comes to cycling infrastructure.   

The cycling network will be implemented over four phases with each one including further consultation with the businesses and residents along each route to help refine the detailed design of the bicycle facilities. Within the existing budget of $7.75 million, the implementation strategy focuses on building a Phase 1 grid of 5.4 km of protected bike lanes in the downtown core by the end of 2018.

The first phase to be designed and constructed is a minimum grid network consisting of five corridors, including Pandora Avenue, and will provide safe facilities where there is high demand for active transportation infrastructure. The AAA bicycle network is composed of eight corridors to connect the neighbourhoods and urban villages to the minimum grid of physically separated bicycle facilities in the downtown core. 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 excluding Burrard Bridge) and downtown Calgary (5.5 km). 

The first AAA corridor to be built in Phase 1 will be Pandora Avenue, starting this summer.  This corridor will provide a fully protected two-way bicycle facility on the North side from Store Street to Cook Street connecting the communities of Fernwood, North Park, Harris Green, Downtown and Vic West in addition to major employment districts and the Capital Regional District regional trails.

The Phase 1 implementation includes the following corridors:

  • Pandora Avenue (Cook Street to Store street)
  • Fort Street (Wharf Street to Cook Street)
  • Government Street (Pandora Avenue to Government Street or Wharf Street (Pandora Avenue to Government Street) based on targeted engagement with local stakeholders
  • Humboldt / Pakington Streets (Government Street to Cook Street)
  • Cook Street (Pandora Avenue to Pakington Street)

The next steps for all future corridors include advancing conceptual plans to help refine the design treatments that will ultimately be constructed along the corridors. Through continued stakeholder engagement for all corridors, the details around elements such as driveway crossings, trees, parking, bus stops, mid-block crosswalks and intersections will be refined to ensure the design accommodates not only cyclists, but people who walk, take transit and drive. 

A team of internationally renowned cycling experts analyzed the City’s existing infrastructure and policies, to recommend a network of eight corridors that will be will put nearly 75% of Victoria within 400 metres of an active transportation corridor including 90% of schools, 80% of parks and 90% of commercial centres. 

Victoria’s community plan strives to see 70% of residents walking or biking by 2041, and in 2015 City Council developed a bold vision to become one of the best small cities in the world for cycling.  Informed by extensive public input, the City’s strategic plan sets the goal that Victoria will be “a national leader in cycling infrastructure by building an All Ages and Abilities cycling network by 2018.”