Times Colonist

Richard­son re­design: How it will work

Driv­ers and cy­clists to share lanes as part of net­work aimed at mak­ing riders feel safe

- ROX­ANNE EGAN-EL­LIOTT re­gan-el­liott@times­colonist.com Bicycles · Transportation · Outdoor Hobbies · Hobbies · Industries · Fairfield · St. Charles · Greater Victoria

Vic­to­ria’s plans to re­design Richard­son Street will in­clude space for two lanes of traf­fic shared by driv­ers and cy­clists, while re­duc­ing traf­fic speeds and vol­umes by di­vert­ing cars to nearby streets.

Cy­clists and driv­ers in each di­rec­tion will share a lane of traf­fic, with on-street park­ing on both sides of the road, in­clud­ing about 70 ad­di­tional park­ing spa­ces. Driv­ers want­ing to pass a cy­clist can pull around on the cy­clist’s left, as they would on any lo­cal street.

The street’s re­design is part of the city’s plan to cre­ate a cy­cling net­work suit­able for all ages and abil­i­ties so that an eight-year-old or an 80-year-old or any­one with lit­tle cy­cling ex­pe­ri­ence feels safe and com­fort­able rid­ing.

Corey Burger, pol­icy and in­fras­truc­ture chair of the Greater Vic­to­ria Cy­cling Coali­tion, said the de­sign opens the road to cy­clists who might not be com­fort­able rid­ing there at the mo­ment.

“There’s re­ally good ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing in Vic­to­ria, that about half the pop­u­la­tion want to ride more than they al­ready do. And the big­gest rea­sons they don’t are lack of con­nected bike­way net­works and fear of mo­tor ve­hi­cle traf­fic,” Burger said. “So, it may not be for the per­son who’s al­ready rid­ing, but it’s def­i­nitely for the per­son who wants to ride and isn’t rid­ing yet or isn’t rid­ing on those streets.”

A 2019 sur­vey by Cities, Health & Ac­tive Trans­porta­tion Re­search sug­gests more than one-third of Vic­to­ria res­i­dents are in­ter­ested in cy­cling but have con­cerns, and the top fac­tors in­flu­enc­ing the de­ci­sion to ride are con­nected bike routes and a fear of traf­fic.

The re­search pro­ject, which re­ceived in­put from 1,000 re­spon­dents in Greater Vic­to­ria, with the ma­jor­ity liv­ing or work­ing in Vic­to­ria, seeks to un­der­stand the im­pacts on health and trans­porta­tion pat­terns when lo­cal gov­ern­ments make large in­vest­ments in cy­cling in­fras­truc­ture.

Richard­son Street will not re­sem­ble Hum­boldt Street’s new de­sign — what’s known as an ad­vi­sory bike lane — where two-way ve­hi­cle traf­fic shares a sin­gle lane with a bike lane on each side.

Many who have ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to the Richard­son Street plans have done so based on a mis­un­der­stand­ing that the ap­proved de­sign would have a sin­gle lane for two-way traf­fic.

The city ini­tially con­sid­ered an ad­vi­sory bike lane on Richard­son Street, but the idea was met with con­cern from both driv­ers and the cy­cling coali­tion.

The city also con­sid­ered cre­at­ing pro­tected bike lanes, like the de­sign on Fort and Pan­dora streets.

The ini­tial phase of pub­lic en­gage­ment showed strong sup­port for pro­tected bike lanes, ac­cord­ing to a staff re­port that went to coun­cil on July 2, but the com­mu­nity did not sup­port the de­sign be­cause it would have meant a loss of park­ing, af­fect drive­way ac­cess along the cor­ri­dor and pro­vide lim­ited ben­e­fits to pedes­tri­ans.

The cur­rent de­sign, which coun­cil ap­proved on July 2, in­cludes five traf­fic di­ver­sions along the 2.8-kilo­me­tre route that links the down­town core to the Fair­field-Gon­za­les neigh­bour­hood, Rockland and the District of Oak Bay.

The traf­fic di­ver­sions are in­tended to re­duce ve­hi­cle vol­umes from the roughly 2,800 to 3,800 trips per day on Richard­son Street to 500 to 1,000 trips per day.

Re­duc­ing traf­fic vol­umes and low­er­ing speed lim­its to 30 km/h are key com­po­nents in cre­at­ing shared-use bike­ways that are ap­pro­pri­ate for all ages and abil­i­ties.

Con­cerns have been raised that di­vert­ing traf­fic from Richard­son Street will snarl traf­fic on ad­ja­cent roads.

The city re­port says lo­ca­tions for the five traf­fic di­ver­sions — at Cook Street, Lot­biniere Av­enue, St. Charles Street, Mad­di­son Street and Foul Bay Road — are de­signed to avoid redi­rect­ing all traf­fic onto any one street.

“Changes will re­quire some people to al­ter their typ­i­cal driv­ing habits to get to and from lo­cal des­ti­na­tions or for com­mut­ing pur­poses, but in­ter­ven­tions won’t re­sult in all traf­fic be­ing di­rected to one route,” says the staff re­port by act­ing di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and pub­lic works Philip Belle­fontaine.

About 40 to 60 per cent of traf­fic dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods on Richard­son is a re­sult of driv­ers choos­ing to use the street as a cut­through in­stead of ad­ja­cent col­lec­tor and ar­te­rial roads.

The city’s de­sign will re­di­rect the ma­jor­ity of th­ese throughtri­ps to Fair­field Road, Rich­mond Road, Oak Bay Av­enue, and Fort Street. The staff re­port says the change may add four to seven min­utes in travel time for a some­one driv­ing from Oak Bay to down­town.

Shelly Urquhart, who drives reg­u­larly on Richard­son, said she’s op­posed to adding more bike lanes in the city and thinks the changes are un­nec­es­sary, be­cause she doesn’t see many cy­clists rid­ing on the road when she drives it.

“There’s noth­ing wrong with it,” she said.

 ??  ?? A cy­clist trav­els along Richard­son Street, near Foul Bay Road, on Thurs­day.
A cy­clist trav­els along Richard­son Street, near Foul Bay Road, on Thurs­day.
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