WATCH: Ambitious $7.65 million Biketoria plan for separated bike lanes works out to almost $1.5 million a kilometer. Is it worth it? Tess van Straaten reports.
The B.C. Capital is known as a biking capital but getting around on two wheels isn’t always easy — and that’s where Biketoria comes in.
“The city is a 21st century city and we want it to be easy for people to move around whether they’re walking, cycling or driving and this Biketoria network will enhance everybody’s experience,” says Victoria mayor Lisa Helps.
At its Thursday meeting, Victoria City Council approved the first step in an ambitious multi-million dollar plan for separated bikes lanes.
Starting in June, work will start on Pandora between Cook Street and Store Street at a cost of $2.4 million.
Council’s poised to approve the rest of phase one next week.
It’ll see separated bike lanes from Cook Street Village to Pandora and sections of Fort, Wharf and Humbolt, forming a basic biking grid.
“The Biketoria plan is a bike leap for this city and one we’ve been waiting for,” says cycling advocate Ray Straatsma. “Drivers will have a better sense of where the bikes are and the protected bike lanes provide a high level of safety and convenience for a person riding a bike.”
The total cost for the Biketoria plan is $7.65 million, for just 5.4 kilometers of segregated cycling lanes.
That works out to almost $1.5 million a kilometer.
Critics are questioning whether it’s a good use of taxpayer money, considering just four per cent of the area population uses a bike for transportation.
But proponents say once it’s safer, more people will cycle.
“If you build this infrastructure, congestion will go down — car congestion will go down and it will be better for everyone,” says Helps. “That’s what’s been proven everywhere else these infrastructure investments have been made.”
The plans for each street vary — in some cases turning lanes may be lost and travel lanes for cars may shrink — but the City is promising to work with neighbourhoods to mitigate the impact.
If all goes well, phase 1 will be complete by 2018.