One of the most poorly organized sections of the Lochside Trail in Saanich will be improved thanks to a $140,000 contribution from Bike B.C. to match $140,000 from Saanich.
The project will install dedicated bike crossings within the intersection of McKenzie Avenue and Borden Street, as well as raised bi-directional bike (and pedestrian) lanes on Borden and Cedar Hill Cross Road to re-connect with the Lochside Trail north of McKenzie.
“This is an essential part of the cycling corridor, one that needs that priority,” said Mayor Richard Atwell. “[This will] improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles and will bring us another step closer to completing our region’s cycling infrastructure.”
Prior to his time as mayor, Atwell was a regular commuter along the Lochside and experienced the scramble that is the Lochside Trail at McKenzie and Borden.
Currently, the trail breaks between McKenzie and Cedar Hill Cross Road. In between is the intersection and a commercial strip mall known for the Monkey Tree Pub and an ICBC drivers’ testing centre. It creates a dilemma for cyclists who have to choose between dismounting at the crosswalks or riding through and deciding whether to “cheat” through the ICBC parking lot.
“You’re coming out of the [Lochside] and face two walk signals, you’re also cutting through [a strip mall] or using Borden which carries the added traffic from the Saanich public works yard,” Atwell said.
The new lanes on Borden and Cedar Hill will be four metres wide, and about 300 metres in length.
“It’s great to see infrastructure considered for cycling, but considering how much we spend on car infrastructure, [what cycling gets] is still a pittance,” said Edward Pullman, president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.
Pullman says the provincial government’s contribution to cycling, which amounts to about $160 million since 2001, doesn’t stack up to anywhere near the huge dollars going into car infrastructure.
However, the protected bike lanes on Borden are a start, as they’ll be the first of their kind in Saanich as far as Pullman is aware.
“The Borden lanes should be separated from traffic and that is new. Lochside and the Goose are considered separate trails, and the new Cook Street section does have raised cycling lanes but they are still inside the parking area, which is not separate.”
Victoria is also receiving funding, $440,000 to connect existing pathways with the Heron Cove and Raymur Point Bridges. The two four-metre-wide cyclist/pedestrian bridges are about 100 metres in length and will connect pathways from Ogden Point to downtown.