Saanich rolls out plans for cycling network upgrade

Cycling lane will travel along McKenzie Avenue between Cedar Hill and Shelbourne

Saanich Coun. Vic Derman stands on McKenzie Avenue at Shelbourne Street

A local cycling advocate is praising plans to improve cycling along McKenzie Avenue.

Edward Pullman, president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, says his organization supports the McKenzie Avenue upgrade.

“This section has been a major gap,” he said. “It is great to see the Saanich close that gap.”

The project calls for the construction of a one-directional, eastbound asphalt cycling track and a concrete sidewalk on the south side of McKenzie Avenue between Cedar Hill Road and Shelbourne Street.

Plans also call for the installation of a westbound on-the-road bike lane on the north side of McKenzie Avenue with some repairs to the existing concrete sidewalk.

The budget for the project is $750,000 and on Monday Saanich council approved an application for a provincial grant to cover half of the cost.

Harley Machielse, director of engineering, told the public that the project will proceed whether the district receives the grant or not. Should the district receive the grant, it would dedicate the received monies towards other transportation priorities, he said.

Coun. Vic Derman, who chairs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Advisory Committee, praised the project and predicted that it will make a “substantial improvement” to connectivity and cycling in the area.

“This is an extremely important project for cycling in Saanich, and indeed the region,” said Derman. “That small section of McKenzie has been known for a long time as the ‘missing link’ in terms of the opportunities for people to cycle safely to a variety of destinations, but in particular the University of Victoria…a very substantial destination in the area.”

Pullman agrees, noting that the proposed project creates a major east-west connection that also links the university with the north-south running Lochside Trail through Blenkinsop.

Coun. Judy Brownoff also noted that the project promises to improve pedestrian access.

Installing the cycling path along the south side of McKenzie Avenue will involve moving the existing sidewalk, which presents an opportunity to provide more accessible sidewalks where McKenzie meets Cedar Hill Road and Shelbourne Street, said Machielse.

While the project has received almost unanimous praise, it is not without limitations.

The cycling path on the north side of McKenzie Avenue between Cedar Hill Road and Shelbourne will not be of the same quality as the cycling lane on the south side, the public heard Monday.

Addressing those concerns, Derman said the eventual redevelopment of the University Heights shopping centre may eventually lead to a dedicated bike lane similar to the one on the southern side of McKenzie.

Machielse said in the meantime the district is looking into adding hazard paint where appropriate to ensure the safety of cyclists in the face of westbound vehicles turning onto McKenzie Avenue as they are leaving local area businesses.

Work on the project would begin relatively soon. “We are looking to start this early [in the first quarter] of 2017,” said Machielse. “It would probably take several months to complete and take us to the end of spring.”

He said one of the main challenges of the proposed design for the cycling lane will be the presence of several telephone poles on the southern side of McKenzie Avenue. These poles, located between the cycling lane and the road itself, cannot be relocated. “We will be working around that as part of the design.”

 

Just Posted

Youth have privacy rights, doctor tells inquest into Oak Bay teen’s opioid death

Elliot Eurchuk died of a drug overdose. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom in April 2018

Saanich councillor says residents owed a bylaw like the rescinded EDPA

Coun. Nathalie Chambers also says council needs to apologize to a staff member

RCMP fine man $1,150 for camping, lighting campfire in Mill Hill Regional Park

Campfires prohibited at all regional parks except designated campgrounds

Victoria sees many new landmarks between 2018-2019

Bridges, buildings and more have popped up across Victoria in the past year

Woman flees North Saanich RCMP in dinghy

Victoria woman tries to escape in dinghy, arrested for break and enter, theft and mischief

Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

Christ Church Cathedral hosts talks on opioid crisis on June 26 and July 3

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

’When thunder roars, go indoors’: How to keep safe before lightning strikes

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related

B.C. rolls out online registration to speed up evacuee processing

Central Okanagan district tests province’s streamlined emergency management digital self-registration

VIDEO: After 73 years, siblings separated by adoption reunite in B.C

Donna Smith of Abbotsford and Clayton Myers of Williams Lake are glad they met each other

NHL Draft 2019: First-round mock selections

Hughes expected to go No. 1 overall; Canucks have 10th pick

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Most Read