Cyclists can now pedal Fort Street from Cook Street to Foul Bay Road with ease thanks to newly completed protected bike lanes, according to the City of Victoria.
The city in a release Wednesday says the completion of the lanes, which extend 2.7 kilometres, marks its “longest continuous protected bike lane project” to date.
When combined with the downtown portion that opened in 2018, the protected bike lanes measure 3.9 kilometres “of safer cycling infrastructure on Fort Street, linking several neighbourhoods, employment centres, schools and shopping areas,” the city says.
It lauds the stretch as something riders of all ages and abilities can enjoy.
It says the project features infrastructure renewal and road safety upgrades, including road paving and new crosswalks, sidewalks, trees, traffic signals and green stormwater management features, with drivers also seeing a 40 km/h speed limit along the stretch of Fort Street.
Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto says the new protected lanes and crosswalks will connect people and, ultimately, improve their sense of community.
“Sometimes, a busy road like Fort can make us feel separated from our neighbours or businesses,” said Alto in the release. “This route not only serves people working and living on Fort Street, but also commuters from neighbouring municipalities.”
The city says the project, which cost $9.4 million and saw the federal government contribute $3.6 million, was completed ahead of schedule, though minor work will continue through the winter. There are also plans to install EV fast-charging stations along the route later this year.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, is thrilled the lanes are now open, saying it will have a positive impact on the people who utilize them.
“This initiative will offer residents, commuters, and visitors a variety of active transportation choices, enhancing safety, affordability, and convenience,” added Wilkinson.
It was back in April 2023 when the city announced Fort Street bike lane construction was underway. At the time, it said the new lanes would add to the over 24 km of AAA, or All Ages and Abilities, routes that had been built over the past six years, as part of a cycling network plan adopted in 2016.
The city also sought public feedback on priority AAA routes.
The city has a map of its cycling network, including protected bike lanes, multi-use pathways and shared-use streets, online here.