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Victoria to consider extending bus lanes along Douglas Street

Existing bus lanes could become 24/7 instead of just peak hours
A B.C. Transit bus travels on Douglas Street near Belleville Street in Victoria. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Victoria city council will have the fate of a large swath of Douglas Street on its mind as it considers options to extend the dedicated bus lanes south to Humboldt Street.

Council is also expected to consider establishing 24-7 bus lanes between Herald Street and Hillside Avenue, which are currently designated as bus lanes only at peak travel times.

The Douglas Street re-design between Herald and Humboldt would remove a lane for general motor traffic and install curbside bus lanes

In a report to council, city staff have recommended expediting bus lane improvements between Hillside Avenue and Herald Street and extending bus lanes to Humboldt.

The report also considers shutting the northbound lanes of Douglas Street between Belleville and Humboldt streets to vehicle traffic to establish a rapid-bus terminus and passenger exchange area.

“While the provision of dedicated transit lanes on Douglas Street is a significant project in Victoria, it is a small step towards realizing a robust regional transit network that is affordable, convenient and attractive,” the report said.

Bruce Williams, chief executive of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, said anything that streamlines transit and makes it more user friendly would be positive. “Single occupancy vehicles cause a great deal of congestion and it can be very frustrating. So for that reason, I think anything that will enhance the transit system as it continues to update and modernize itself, this is probably a pretty good thing.”

Williams said he expects downtown businesses will be onside with anything that brings more people downtown and relieves some congestion.

As for the expected disruption that comes with the work to re-align Douglas Street and re-imagine the pedestrian areas and store frontages, Williams said it will be worth it. “I think it’s short-term pain for long-term gain. We have to future proof this whole system in this whole region. So this is kind of a step in that direction.”

The project will require coordination and investment from the City of Victoria, B.C. Transit, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission and other levels of government.

The staff recommendation suggests reporting back to council by the first quarter of 2026 on design refinement and the trade-offs required to make the proposals a reality.

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