Letters, Aug. 24: Wharf Street bike lanes, pro and con

Editorial space used for personal attack

Re: “Lanes on Wharf Street put cyclists at risk,” comment, Aug. 21.

I value and appreciate my subscription to the Times Colonist. However, I do have to hold my nose when the TC runs unsubstantiated personal diatribes published as valid editorials.

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The recent salvo by Michel Murray not only trots out the usual venom against the bike lanes, but, most egregiously, uses the space inexplicably afforded him by the Times Colonist to personally disparage Mayor Lisa Helps.

Just as Donald Trump is most frightening for the people who put him into office, the Times Colonist is most frightening for its pandering to those subscribers who slather for the seamy over the sound.

Joanne Thibault



Separated bike lane a real step forward

Re: “Lanes on Wharf Street put cyclists at risk,” comment, Aug. 21.

I am delighted with the protected bike lanes that have been installed in Victoria.

The new Wharf Street bikeway is a treat. I use it regularly. It reduces the cycling risks associated with unpredictable motor traffic northbound, it bypasses several traffic lights and removes the need to share the narrow street with motorized traffic southbound.

Refinement will be necessary, for example, the exit from the seaplane terminal parking lot needs on-demand traffic signals. The need to watch for pedestrian traffic remains, but the separated lane for bicycles is a real step forward.

Kudos to the mayor and city planners for the emerging bike-lane network.

Barrie Webster



More bike lanes, because they work

I love the new Wharf Street bike lane. I am primarily someone who uses a bicycle for most of my transportation needs, a sometimes motorist and transit rider.

The new lane on Wharf Street is a breath of fresh air on a street that was formerly hair-raising to ride on, always fearing being doored or clipped by a car.

Of course one has to be aware of pedestrians and ride at a moderate pace but, if you do, the Wharf Street bike lane is a joy. I spoke to another young man as we cycled along on the lane and he shared my feelings.

Contacts like these don’t occur when one is trying to stay alive riding with traffic.

If you’re fed up sitting in your car in gridlock, join me. It’s good for your health, for congestion, for the environment and just the joy of riding.

Thank you Mayor Lisa Helps and council. Keep those lanes coming.

Andrew Godon



Despite concerns, the bike lanes work

I share some of the concerns so vigorously stated in several letters about the recent bike lane along Wharf Street; and I personally would have preferred different routes or styles of construction.

Certain modifications are needed to improve safety. However, the bike lanes have largely achieved their primary goal, which I believe is to get more people to use cycling as a form of transportation.

For more than a decade I have been riding thousands of kilometres per year on Victoria’s streets, almost every day of the year, rain or shine, winter or summer.

Until the first bike lane along Pandora opened numbers of cyclists were essentially static despite campaigns like bike to work week.

After the Pandora lane opened, an increase in cyclists all over the city was very noticeable. Since then there has been steady growth, and another big jump occurred with the recent opening of Wharf Street.

More people riding bikes will be better overall for life in the city and should be promoted even if it costs some money (a pittance when compared to “improvements” for motor vehicles such as the McKenzie interchange).

Critics of the bike lanes fail to recognize that many people are uncomfortable riding in traffic and won’t get on a bike unless they are removed from cars by a physical barrier.

If bike lanes are available for at least part of their route they are encouraged to ride; and then they gain confidence to venture further. Seeing more cyclists adds further encouragement.

Ed Janicki



Cycle lanes cause problems for all

Re: “Lanes on Wharf Street put cyclists at risk,” comment, Aug. 21.

It is apparent from personal observations that the new bicycle lane system has seen a good increase in bike traffic and for this the City of Victoria should be commended.

Unfortunately, little or no attention seems to have been paid to many other facets involved in this project. The arrangement of downtown lanes is somewhat chaotic and causes endless problems. A neighbour who is a regular and avid cyclist told me he avoids the downtown system due to its inherent danger for cyclists and vehicles.

The dual-lane set up is particularly dangerous for pedestrians as there is no signage to warn those crossing streets where the lanes exist to look in both directions.

I live adjacent to the Westsong Walkway and daily observe cyclists on the path in violation of the bylaws. Those that I have been able to accost are usually ignorant that they are breaking the laws, despite the multitude of signs painted on the surface.

One also sees cyclists on the pedestrian-only section of the Johnson Street Bridge, although they have at least two other routes designated for their use. The next step for council should be to ensure the education of the overall bike population.

Also of concern is the increase in air pollution due to the constant traffic snarls due in part to the new bike lanes and also the repairs to the Bay Street Bridge, which should not have been started until other traffic problems were resolved.

Add to that the amount of concrete used in the lane construction which is a well-known element in carbon emissions and the devastating effect on commercial and emergency traffic.

While waiting at the Wharf Street lights recently I had to pull over until touching the concrete divider to let an ambulance pass.

Geoff P. Williams



Most people still need to use vehicles

Victoria’s council and mayor seem to think that everyone in the city should bike everywhere. I wrote to the mayor and the response I got was “in some cases” people have to drive.

I would like to say the reality is that in most cases people have to drive. Those commuting to work from greater distance, families dropping kids at school, aging population, etc.

Although it seems like a noble plan to have the city a cycling city, it is extremely misguided. Before making the car traffic any more congested that it already is with the addition of more bike lanes, why doesn’t council take a survey of households and determine the number of people who bike compared to driving. I would think this would be the first step.

Now we hear that Vancouver Street will be closed to traffic. In busy times, Vancouver is the only street that seems to work for both cars and cyclists. Cook Street is a nightmare if one cyclist decides to use it, as it ties up one lane completely, cars having to dodge bikes. So if you are going to close Vancouver to cars, then at least close Cook to cyclists.

I think it is important to encourage cycling for those who can manage it, but for the love of bikes, would cyclists please follow the rules of the road?

Do not decide you want to be a pedestrian and use crossings when convenient, wear a helmet, quit riding on sidewalks, etc. If drivers are going to have rules imposed, then do the same for cyclists.

Karen Jensen

James Bay


Forget the bike lanes, repair the roads

Nearly all letters in a recent edition described the madness created by Victoria council to put a bike lane on every street, creating vehicle confusion and millions in needless expense.

Victoria’s streets are in terrible and dangerous condition — repair them before building another bike lane, please! Stop the madness!

Just start with the road mess on Blanshard as it crosses Pandora going south to Yates. Build all the pretty green bike lanes you want — you will not have a first class city until you have first-class roads.

Why do voters keep re-electing these people?

Jim Laing



End the madness of more bike lanes

Re: “Wharf street bike lanes a true hazard,” letter, Aug. 22.

I could not agree more, brilliantly written. End this madness at City Hall! It’s a disgrace!

Colleen Rhymer


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