The provincial government is paving the way – literally – for an extended bus lane along Douglas Street.
On Monday, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced the 600-metre extension of the northbound bus lane along Douglas Street between Tolmie Avenue and Saanich Road. The extension is part of B.C. on the Move, a 10-year plan for the improvement of the province’s transportation network.
“Today we are committing $6.45 million to this project that will reduce travel time for northbound bus users on the busiest transit corridor in the Victoria region,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a statement.
Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and will widen portions of Douglas Street to create a third northbound lane to accommodate buses and cyclists. The extension will connect to the existing municipal bus lane along Douglas that starts at Fisgard Street, offering transit from downtown Victoria to Uptown.
“During rush hour, 40 per cent of people are moving along the corridor on transit, but our buses are actually only three per cent of the traffic on the road,” said Coun. Susan Brice, who chairs the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. “It not only makes sense to give buses a priority – it’s the right thing to do.”
“This is a very important step in our continued goal to provide efficient and effective public transit to our customers in the Victoria region,” said Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO of B.C. Transit. “Working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to complete this important piece of our transit network will have significant benefits for the overall transit system, the community, and the customers we serve.”
According to the ministry, 92 per cent of respondents from the first round of McKenzie interchange consultations said accommodating transit was important. The ministry said the extended bus lane is a “key step” to making transportation along the corridor more convenient for transit users.