UPDATE: Councillors have discarded the third option for Pandora, and will ask the public to weigh in on two options, both of which include traffic signal changes:
- A two-way protected bike lane with traffic signal changes on the north side of Pandora Avenue.
- A pair of protected bike lanes, including traffic signal changes, on Pandora Avenue and Johnson Street.
Kudos to councillors — and to those community members who spoke up on the issue.
Public consultation on the project is set to start in April.
For more, information, read Bill Cleverley's story.
We’re getting our first look at plans for Victoria’s big bike project, a protected lane on Pandora Avenue.
The lane would run from Cook Street to the Johnson Street Bridge. It is meant to be completely separated from traffic to provide a low-stress experience for people of all ages and abilities. The bike lane can be separated from traffic by raised curbs, bollards or even parked cars.
City staff prepared a report outlining three options for the project:
- Two-way protected bike lane - with signal traffic changes
- One-way protected bike lane - with traffic signal changes
- One-way protected bike lane - no changes to traffic signals
I feel this is a good time to renew my sentiments about making Victoria a good place for people riding bikes.
The city has an opportunity to show real leadership here. But I fear it will choose the path of least resistance – in this case, the low-cost, politically safe Option 3. Councillors: Don’t do it.
The problem with Option 3 is laid out right there in the staff report: CONFLICT ZONES. (To a person on a bike, that means “place where you might get hit by a turning vehicle.”)
This option would not require separate signal phases, and conflict zones where right-turning car-drivers and people on bikes converge would be highlighted with road markings and signs.
Here's what that could look like. Big picture:
And the details:
Intersections like this are all around the city — anywhere there are bike lanes, actually, and even where they aren’t, where right-turning vehicles turn in front of or around bicycles that are travelling straight on. The key to a successful separated lane is keeping it separated, even at the intersections. The answer is straightforward: changes to the traffic signals.
You can see an example of that approach in Vancouver. It’s also what is being suggested, in part, for Option 1 and Option 2 in Victoria.
If council is serious about making Victoria a cycling city, about encouraging people of all ages and abilities to ride, this is the project to start with. A public consultation [PDF] period is likely to be coming up. Make sure your voice is heard.