Commuters throughout Greater Victoria breathed a sigh of relief last week when the long-awaited McKenzie interchange for the Trans-Canada Highway finally started to move ahead.
The provincial government has ponied up more than $52 million towards the $85 million interchange, with Ottawa agreeing to pick up the remaining costs.
Provincial Transportation Minister Todd Stone pointed to a recent survey showing that addressing the Colwood Crawl was the No. 1 concern of Vancouver Island residents from Victoria all the way to Campbell River. The traffic gridlock at the McKenzie interchange is the worst in the province outside of the George Massey Tunnel bottleneck in the Lower Mainland.
The project, expected to be completed by fall 2018, should reduce a significant portion of the commuting time for the 90,000 vehicles that travel through the intersection on an average day. We would hope that the project will not overlook another significant component of reducing traffic congestion.
The Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition is calling on the province to improve cycling safety at the proposed interchange, pointing specifically to the Galloping Goose Trail crossing at Mckenzie Avenue.
“The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is an essential connection for people riding bikes and walking,” said GVCC president Edward Pullman. “With many near-misses and crashes, this dangerous intersection needs a fully separated all-ages and abilities overpass, similar to the switch bridge near Uptown.”
The coalition is asking that Galloping Goose be maintained throughout construction and the new interchange contains protected bike lanes along Admirals Road through to McKenzie Avenue and easy access to the trail.
The coalition’s request seems like a common sense proposal, and one that would unlikely put much of a dent in the project’s $85 million price tag. The protected bike lanes and accessible trail will just be the finishing touches on a project the whole region can celebrate.