Esquimalt to seek funding again for Admirals Road improvements

Proposed upgrades would trade in traffic lanes for traffic islands, bike lanes

One of the busiest streets in Esquimalt may go under the knife to receive bicycle lanes and traffic-calming measures, if outside funding can be secured.

The township is applying for a second time to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for $2.8 million, enough to pay for a makeover to Admirals Road from Maplebank Road to Lyall Street.

The conceptual plans call for bike lanes, traffic-calming islands, improved storm-water collection systems, new bus shelters and a new asphalt coating on the road, as well as scaling back the roadway from four lanes to two.

Calling the project an “attractive opportunity,” Coun. Lynda Hundleby said, “Certainly with Admirals Road, if we had more bikes and less cars, it would be a lot less congested. So our hope would be that we have more bikes.”

Council last week echoed pros and cons that were raised last spring.

They expressed enthusiasm for improved safety along the narrow roadway, but also concern that a reduction in traffic lanes could increase congestion or impact businesses.

When the township did a preliminary analysis of the corridor, it was determined that the “loss of level of service is maybe one degree,” said engineering and public works director Jeff Miller. “But that would have happened as we had growth anyways.”

The study that came to council last spring revealed that Admirals Road hosts more than 4.6 million vehicle trips a year. That stretch of road is used heavily by personnel at CFB Esquimalt, and Victoria Shipyards at the Esquimalt Graving Dock.

It is important to note, Miller said, that workforce levels at CFB Esquimalt are not expected to increase.

Victoria Shipyards has indicated that once its current hiring blitz is done, the number of workers is not expected to change for some time, Miller added.

Safety on Admirals Road is of paramount concern to Coun. Meagan Brame.

“Right now you wouldn’t catch me riding a bike down that (road), because it scares (me),” she said.

The deadline to request funding is Aug. 31. The plan includes holding open houses to elicit public feedback.

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