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Letters May 25: Douglas Street plan doesn't make sense; Victoria is looking great

Douglas Street, running vertically, at Belleville Street in downtown Victoria. The building at the right is Crystal Garden. CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT

Douglas Street closure would hurt James Bay

Re: “Douglas Street transformation set to begin this year, with plans to extend bus lanes,” May 21.

The lack of forethought by the City of Victoria staff and council confounds me. The idea that Douglas Street between Belleville and Humboldt Streets should remove the northbound lanes for a bus stop is an excellent example of tunnel vision.

There are about 13,000 residents in James Bay. This number is increasing dramatically with densification.

Only three major roads, Government, Douglas and Blanshard, connect James Bay with downtown Victoria and beyond. A part of Government Street is pedestrian-only, diverting traffic to Wharf or Douglas Streets.

The intersection of Government, Wharf and Humboldt Streets is already greatly impeded by the style of crosswalks and the number of pedestrians and bikes.

The single-lane traffic heading north on Wharf sometimes backs up from the Johnson Street Bridge to Government Street, making Wharf a nightmare to use.

Access to Harbour Air is already significantly hampered by this traffic. The bike lanes and heavy pedestrian traffic further negatively impact traffic flow.

Realistically, this only leaves Douglas and Blanshard Street for vehicle ­traffic from James Bay. Both are incredibly busy arteries. If Douglas Street is closed to the traffic from James Bay, attempting to travel north will require traffic to use only Blanshard Street.

Travelling from James Bay left from Superior to Blanshard is already unsafe as cars have minimal viability to constant pedestrian traffic from the Beacon Hill Park crossing Blanshard to Douglas.

The 13,000-plus residents in James Bay are just the tip of the iceberg. James Bay draws people from all over Greater Victoria.

It is a major tourist destination ­offering Beacon Hill Park, Dallas Road, Dallas Road walkway and bike lanes, a dog park, the breakwater, beaches, and cruise ship visitors.

The population of James Bay will only grow and require more access, not less. Where is the logic?

Doug Foord


Yet another great idea with broad consequences

The City of Victoria is increasing the housing density of James Bay by promoting six-storey and higher apartment buildings that will double or triple the population of James Bay over the next few years.

Ogden Point terminal is being expanded to accommodate five cruise ships that will double the number of tourists arriving in James Bay. Yet the City of Victoria wants to permanently close Douglas Street between Belleville and Humboldt to northbound traffic.

With Government Street already closed to traffic, this will leave Blanshard Street as the single exit out of James Bay. City planners suggest extending Blanshard to Belleville with another set of traffic lights to provide “easier” access for James Bay residents.

This ignores the fact that Blanshard is already connected through Belleville to Superior and is free flow northbound. Their suggestion will do nothing to solve the problem that Blanshard will still be the only exit from James Bay.

It is obvious from the mayhem caused on the roads in James Bay by the closure of Douglas for the Victoria Day parade that Blanshard alone cannot cope with existing traffic, never mind additional traffic from the new developments.

How are the first responders supposed to get out of James Bay? What happens when Blanshard is blocked by an accident, construction or security incident? What happens when James Bay residents need to evacuate in a state of emergency?

Once again Victoria city council is rushing to implement a myopic transportation “solution” without considering the broader consequences of their own housing decisions, economic development or emergency planning. Eyes wide shut.

Alan Humphries


More bus lanes on Douglas an improvement

Re: “Douglas Street transformation set to begin this year, with plans to extend bus lanes ” May 21

It is very good news that Victoria will accelerate upgrading the Douglas Street peak period bus lanes to 24/7. Now transit riders will travel faster, and service will be more reliable, this year. Hopefully the new 24/7 bus lane signs will be posted before September when buses and roads are always overcrowded.

The slow and incremental approach taken to B.C. Transit’s RapidBus network so far is not compatible with Victoria’s climate emergency declaration, nor with Victoria and B.C.’s vehicle kilometres travelled reduction targets. It also delays the multiple benefits of better public transit, including making life more affordable by allowing families to live well with fewer cars.

The future of humanity depends on thousands of decisions like this in small and medium-sized cities around our planet. It isn’t just big cities and national governments that determine if greenhouse gas pollution goes up or down. Climate delay has the same disastrous impact as climate denial.

Boston Massachusetts’ Tactical T­ransit Lane program has been a resounding success. It involves quickly creating bus lanes with just paint, signage, and other minor work. All Greater Victoria ­municipalities and the provincial government should be following this inspiring example to make RapidBus rapid and all buses faster.

Eric Doherty and Jane Welton

climate justice team co-leads

Greater Victoria Acting Together

After a time away, Victoria looks great

Returning to Victoria recently after several years on the mainland, I was dismayed by what looked like major changes in the form of more roundabouts, four-way-stops on almost every corner, parking spots separated from sidewalks by bicycle lanes whose occupants flew along silently in the face of safety and unsuspecting pedestrians. It was enough to keep me off the road for several weeks.

Once I got up the courage, my driving experience proved a pleasant surprise. More pedestrian crossings on Dallas Road, where they should have been all along … concrete dividers between car and bicycle traffic … newly-painted lane-borders … safer crossing for pedestrians at four-way-stops … lower speeds on some roads … much-needed road repairs underway and almost completed in time for summer…

Well done, City of Victoria! It’s great to be back!

Danda Humphreys


Think humanitarian, not human rights

Re: “Don’t ignore the human rights of those living on Pandora Avenue,” commentary, May 22.

The writer discusses the human rights of those who camp in and around Pandora Avenue for a variety of reasons. His use of that term might invoke consideration of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, perhaps, even the International Convention on Human Rights: all quite serious stuff, especially in a legal sense. I think that the more correct term in dealing with these challenged people is that a humanitarian approach would be more apt.

As we have learned in another recent tragedy in Victoria, individuals hold some responsibility for their own actions, if they are able to do so. Those who can’t deserve to be helped humanely.

To invoke their absolute “human rights” might mean that they would not be helped at all.

David Collins


Training, licences and insurance for cyclists

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

Regarding the cyclist who was injured by a vehicle illegally exiting the Pat Bay Highway, as well as the column ­concerning cyclists abusing speeds and passing dangerously on the Galloping Goose Trail.

Isn’t it time that anyone riding a bicycle on a trail, highway or road be required to purchase insurance as well as be licensed?

When I was a kid in small-town ­Saskatchewan, we were required to have a licence. I do not understand why this cannot be applied today. Not only a licence, but a requirement to pass a ­written test as well as driving test before getting a licence. Then required to ­purchase applicable insurance.

The way I have seen riders on the trails or roads in downtown Victoria (ignoring the bicycle lane right beside them) is absolutely ridiculous.

They have no regard for the rules of the road for cyclists including helmets, stop signs, pedestrians, or passing on left or right, or cutting through traffic, etc.

Some of the worst offenders are the delivery providers. They just do not care what they do.

Regarding the one-metre rule for motorists to follow when passing a cyclist — does this same rule apply to the cyclists as they zip through traffic? No, the motorist is always judged to be in the wrong. That just isn’t so.

So, all to say, we need to have a ­licensing and insurance program for cyclists in this province.

Barry Pfliger

Lake Cowichan

Add bollards, or ban e-bikes from trails

Remove bollards on trails, as Saanich has suggested? Gosh no. Add more. Many, many, more and make them closer together.

Something has got to get these electric bikes and scooters under control. Every time one ventures onto a trail these days it’s a game of dodging reckless riders who are oblivious to pedestrians and seem to think that the trail was made exclusively for them.

They ride with abandon, whizzing by at highway speeds, coming up from behind seemingly out of nowhere with no ­warning, coming within inches and ­occasionally clipping others.

They don’t even care enough to slow or stop to see if they hurt anyone. They ­simply don’t seem to care.

Better yet: Ban electric bikes and scooters on all trails. After all, we have spent untold millions so they can ride “safely” on our streets.

Chris Mayhew


To mitigate emissions, we need to work together

In 2022 at 15.2 tons, Canada per-capita CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement manufacturing were among the highest in the world.

Per capita, the U.S. at 14.4 tons and Russia at 13.3 tons are in the same ballpark. China’s per-capita emissions are a little over half that of Canada and India’s are 13 per cent of ours. The argument that because we are a smaller political jurisdiction, we don’t need to do our share toward CO2 reduction defies logic.

Wouldn’t we find it silly for a U.S. city of five million people to make the case that they don’t need to do anything to address the CO2 problem because ­Canada is a much bigger emitter than them?

The world just might have chance to mitigate the crisis caused by CO2, but only if we all work as diligently as we can on CO2 reduction.

Al Hurd


The perfect solution for some people

Do you struggle with critical thinking? Not fond of history? Try Marxism!

Stephen Ison


Forget a coalition, vote for the Greens

Recent letters include many advocating a coalition between the B.C. United Party and the B.C. Conservatives.

Perish the thought!

They are totally out of touch on what is needed to mitigate climate change harms, which constitute the major threat to our welfare.

The better course by far is to elect Green Party members in the hope they can inject some relevance and sense into the conversation, and possibly hold the balance of power. We did better when that was the case and some legislation was modified by Green Party influence.

Glynne Evans


Watch for those greedy monsters

Re: “Landlord class and the Pandora sweep,” letter, May 20.

There is no landlord class, but let’s assume the writer meant people who own property, like doctors, lawyers, accountants, small business owners and other professionals.

I know lots of people in that “class” and none of them are cruel. None of them are in charge of making the laws, either.

None of them wish any harm to anybody else, and all of them would like to see homeless people in proper sober care.

There are greedy monsters out there, it’s true. The greedy monsters are the human-experimenting Victoria councillors, self-professed addictions experts, and the homeless advocates who enable and profit from homelessness and drug addiction, and who get in the way of solving the problem properly with tenements, hospitals and remand centres.

Mike Muret


Looking for my Good Samaritan

On March 15 a woman named Tanya (or Tania) helped me out of a predicament at Swartz Bay terminal.

I was a walk-on for the noon ferry. She and her husband were going over to visit their son in Vancouver by car. Tanya took a chance on a complete stranger and it upsets me that she might believe she was duped.

Tanya has curly longish dark hair and said she was from Colwood. She gave me her email address but I mistakenly deleted it.

I am hoping she or someone she told her story to will reach out.

There are still good people and I want her to know she’s one of them.

Janice Wilton



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