LETTERS: Oak Bay lags behind on commitment to bike lanes

Re: Oak Bay News, front page story on Dec. 4, Cyclists tire of part-time limit on Henderson Road bike lane.

A few years ago, a CRD survey of self-declared cycle commuters revealed that Oak Bay had the second highest per capita cycle commuting population in the region. Paradoxically – and recent improvements notwithstanding – Oak Bay continues to lag well behind its neighbours in providing safe cycling infrastructure to its residents and the regional network.

The University of Victoria, one of the busiest cycling destinations in the city, spans Oak Bay and Saanich. Saanich clearly gets what needs to be done – witness its considerable investment in bike lanes leading into the north end of the campus – including brand new, separated bike lanes along Finnerty between the Sinclair roundabout and Arbutus. On the Oak Bay side, there is no evidence that the municipality is so inclined as it continues to maintain the only bike lane in the region that rolls up at night.

Any discussion of expanded bike lanes inevitably rolls around to the requirements for residential street parking. Here, along north Henderson, one finds residences with some of the broadest and deepest driveways in Oak Bay. I recently counted five vehicles comfortably arrayed down a driveway on this stretch.

While I appreciate the mayor’s statement that this project has not yet fallen off Oak Bay’s priority list, it remains in the slow-tumble, spin cycle of things we have to get around to one day in Oak Bay with no sign of a project plan in sight. And yet the fix is simple – erase the time limitations on the dozen or so bike lane signs along both sides of north Henderson.

I doubt this would impose an onerous burden on Oak Bay’s resources but in case it does, I’m prepared to step up. In the spirit of the season and my sense of civic duty, I am willing to donate two cans of white spray paint to get the job done (and I won’t be seeking a gift-to-the-municipality tax receipt).

Making north Henderson a permanent bike lane would be easy to do and would signal an important commitment that Oak Bay is prepared to catch up where it is lagging in the regional bike lane network. Let’s get it out of the priority spin-cycle and just do it.

Stuart Culbertson

Victoria

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