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LETTER: Richardson bike lane an obstacle for Oak Bay commuters

Victoria’s now approved bike lane on Richardson will eliminate all east-west vehicle traffic from Foul Bay Road to Cook Street by installing five traffic diverters along the route.

Mayor Lisa Helps is telling South Oak Bay residents that they must now take an extra five to seven minutes per trip and take a longer route if they want to come downtown. She might as well tell us we’re not welcome. This plan is nothing more than an elaborate solution in search of a problem.

Proponents of the bike lane plan think of all through traffic along Richardson as rat running, a term for drivers looking to shortcut through quiet residential streets. What nonsense. Richardson is a collector street and has functioned as such for 75 years. It is not a residential side street. It is one of the widest streets in Victoria, accommodating drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, quite safely, for decades.

I am not aware of any traffic crash stats that say there is a problem on Richardson, not even a minor problem. If all road users cannot co-exist on Richardson then they should not be allowed to co-exist on any street in Victoria. Redirecting up to 4,000 vehicle trips a day onto quiet side streets and onto already busy Fairfield Road, Foul Bay and Oak Bay Avenue. Council is trading off these 4,000 daily vehicle trips in hopes of attracting a couple hundred new cycling trips a day. What a losing trade-off.

Victoria conveniently neglected to meaningfully consult Oak Bay on the bike plan. They didn’t bother because they knew what reaction they would get. If you are upset with this ridiculous bike route plan take the time to make your voice heard. If the five traffic diverters do get built you might want to contribute, like I will, to an inevitable ‘Rip it Out’ fund for Victoria’s next council to bring back some sanity to the neighbourhood and restore Richardson to its historical collector street status.

Chris Foord

Oak Bay