Letters Aug. 6: Plenty of flaws in Vancouver Street bike lanes plan

Vancouver proposal not ready for council

Re: “$6.6M fall bike-lane project to ‘transform’ Vancouver St.,” Aug. 3.

Victoria’s protected cycling network on Vancouver Street goes to council on Thursday and Mayor Lisa Helps expects that council will approve it.

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Dedicated bike lanes, traffic diversion and traffic calming on Vancouver are to make the street safer for cyclists. Vehicle traffic would be blocked to through traffic at McLure Street and at Pandora Avenue.

Staff say that Quadra and Cook Streets can handle the extra 5,000 to 8,000 vehicles that will be diverted from Vancouver Street. But in order to accommodate this extra traffic, staff are proposing some improvements.

Most troubling are two of these proposals.

Currently, southbound traffic on Quadra is prohibited from turning left onto Burdett Street. This is a safety issue as southbound traffic cannot see northbound traffic on Quadra because of the curved hill south of Burdett.

Yet staff is proposing to allow left-hand turns in order for vehicle traffic to be able to enter the church and the school parking lot entrances on Burdett.

Another problematic proposal is for a traffic circle at Southgate and Cook Streets. Since there would be a considerable increase in vehicle traffic on Cook Street, a traffic circle would facilitate the smooth flow of vehicles.

However, this area has a large population of seniors. There is a seniors centre a few steps from Southgate on Cook, and there are bus stops on either side of Cook at Southgate. I can only wonder if somehow a traffic circle for the smooth flow of traffic is pedestrian friendly and safe, especially for seniors.

A lot of effort has gone into planning a safe cycling route, but let its implementation not be at the expense of vehicle and pedestrian safety.

Without adequate ways to deal with the diverted traffic from Vancouver Street, the proposed bike-lane project for Vancouver is not yet ready to go to council.

Louise Manga

Try fixing potholes, not a new bike lane

Re: “$6.6M fall bike-lane project to ‘transform’ Vancouver St.,” Aug. 3.

I drive along Vancouver Street almost every day, in both directions, to avoid the busy traffic on Blanshard and Douglas and because it is a nice quiet street.

It also has short-term parking for quick visits downtown.

Yes there are always a few cyclists on Vancouver, and I find that traffic and cyclists manage to share the road well.

City council needs to spend the money resurfacing some roads in Fairfield. Dallas Road alongside the Ross Bay Cemetery, Ross Road and the roads off it and Crescent Road are in desperate need of resurfacing to the point where many of the locals are driving the back roads to avoid the potholes, the bumps and the endless rows of previous repairs.

These roads are being damaged on an ongoing basis by heavy traffic including the city buses, tour buses (from the cruise ships) and as a through road for all manner of heavy vehicles.

In my opinion, Vancouver from Fairfield to Pandora does not need a bike lane now or in the near future.

The street for the most part is quiet and putting a bike lane in would reduce parking for residents and people visiting downtown.

This city is not going to become another Amsterdam in our lifetimes, and it is not necessary to put bike lanes on every downtown street.

This is a rushed decision of a fanatical few and I would ask that council look to the resurfacing of some of the streets before embarking on this bike lane project.

And yes, I used to cycle to work and cycle recreationally in the city. I do understand what it is like to cycle in this beautiful city.

Jennifer Turner

Traffic patterns not completely wrecked

Re: “$6.6M fall bike-lane project to ‘transform’ Vancouver St.,” Aug. 3.

It’ll transform it, all right.

For the folks who live in James Bay who can’t bike — and there are many sound and various reasons why they can’t — it will transform navigating one’s way out of James Bay from doable to hellish.

I already avoid going downtown because of the mayhem along Government in front of the Empress, and trying to get down Government and then Wharf to get to the bridge to go to a doctor’s appointment in Esquimalt was a really fun excursion last week.

Let’s find more ways to hold up traffic and ensure much more pollution from idling cars gets into the air — c’mon, council! You haven’t completely, 100 per cent wrecked it yet!

Meanwhile, on the plus side, I’m sure the homeless people around the Cook and Pandora seating “plaza” will appreciate the seats it will provide. And if it gets too crowded, there’ll be another one they can chill in just down Vancouver.

Karla Decker

Plenty of room for vehicles as well

Re: “$6.6M fall bike-lane project to ‘transform’ Vancouver St.,” Aug. 3.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps partly justifies her “transformation” of Vancouver Street using false information.

She says that to create dedicated bike lanes on Vancouver while retaining the present vehicle access would require widening the street and “massive” tree removal. Not true.

Anyone using the street can see that the trees are setback three metres or so from the curb on either side between Fairfield and Fort, even farther north and south on one side only.

Dedicated bike lanes on what is now verge could be built at minimal cost without disturbing the trees, present roadway or traffic pattern.

Rod Crossley P.Eng.

Another bike lane in the continuing war

Re: “$6.6M fall bike-lane project to ‘transform’ Vancouver St.,” Aug. 3.

I feel sorry for any commuter living in James Bay, but happy for anyone who resides on Vancouver Street, as they will soon be living on one of the quietest streets in Victoria.

Turning historic Vancouver from a viable commuter route to a bicycle-walking path will cause major traffic congestion onto Quadra and Cook streets during morning and afternoon rush hours.

Victoria’s mayor and council have decided to spend $6.6 million on a 3.3-kilometre parkway, which will be virtually unused during the rainy winter months.

Unlike the present bike paths on Pandora, Fort and Wharf streets, which are viable downtown bicycle commuter routes, Vancouver Street is primarily residential from Meares Street to Beacon Hill Park.

The war against the automobile in Victoria continues.

Mur Meadows

Cyclists get their lane, but what about cars?

Re: “$6.6M fall bike-lane project to ‘transform’ Vancouver St.,” Aug. 3.

The proposed Vancouver Street bike lane is contentious to many living on the route. I have written to council, attended “street corner” presentations and done the survey.

“Stakeholders” were consulted. Who were they and who were the “respondents” favouring this? We live in a 202-unit twin tower condominium on Vancouver between Yates and View. Surely that qualifies us as “stakeholders.” We weren’t consulted.

The Vancouver corridor takes pressure off Cook and Quadra. It needs no “traffic calming.” It is narrow, cars slow for each other. Closing it at McLure makes no sense, other than frustrating motorists.

Closing Vancouver at Pandora Avenue is crazy. Instead better use the green space already there. Who “populates” this space? Northbound access is eliminated for space for the homeless? This corridor to Caledonia allows residents here to access Blanshard north, missing city traffic.

Greater traffic flow will occur east on Burdett, Meares and View to Cook. One cannot turn north with the current flow. Add the Vancouver component and it’s impossible. The left turn southbound at Burdett and Quadra is at the top of a hill northbound on Quadra. Instant disaster.

We taxpayers are enduring a show of entitlement, arrogance and lack of concern for what is really going on here, in Harris Green along Vancouver, where we live.

Patrick Lanman

Lessons to be learned after Hiroshima

On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, atom bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The civilian population of both cities was 530,000. Total fatalities were 280,000.

Sadly, the controversy continues today about whether these deaths were necessary to motivate the Japanese government to surrender.

U.S. president Harry Truman ignored the advice of his senior military officers, who considered the bombings militarily unnecessary and immoral.

Those opposed included: Admiral William Leahy, Truman’s chief of staff; General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme commander of Allied forces in the Pacific; General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme allied commander; General Henry Arnold; General Curtis LeMay; General Carl Spaatz, commander of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific; Admiral Ernest King, commander of the U.S. Navy; Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the Pacific Fleet; Admiral William Halsey, commander of the South Pacific Fleet; and Brigadier General Carter Clarke, in charge of intercepting Japanese diplomatic cables.

Leahy stated publicly that “wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.” A grievous lesson we have yet learn.

David Ramsay
Brentwood Bay

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