Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails may be widened, separating cyclists and pedestrians

Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails may be widened, separating cyclists and pedestrians
Watch The Galloping Goose and the Lochside Regional Trails can get a little crowded, but maybe not for much longer. The CRD is looking at widening those trails to make them safer for everyone. Jasmine Bala has more.

The Capital Regional District is considering lighting, widening, and separating cyclists and pedestrians on parts of the Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails.

“The Goose and the Lochside are the spine of our regional bike lane network,” said Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair for the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.

Burger rides his bike everywhere and uses it as his primary mode of transportation. He frequents the trails, whether it’s for commuting purposes or for recreation, and so do many others.

The Galloping Goose and Lochside have become popular spots to go for a bike, walk or run, and get millions of visits a year. But that’s led to a problem.

“[There’s] just lots of people and not enough trail,” Burger said. “It’s been that way for a while.”

A staff report shared at the CRD’s Regional Park Committee on Wednesday addressed that issue. In a project that would cost up to $17.8 million, CRD staff recommend widening a 6.6 km section of the two trails, from Selkirk Trestle to Grange Road and the Switch Bridge and McKenzie Avenue.

The recommended design is a pathway separating cyclists and pedestrians with a painted line. The bicycle path would be 4 metres wide, with an adjacent pedestrian path of 2.5 metres. Both separated pathways would be dual-direction.

Design of proposed pathway for regional trails

(Courtesy: Capital Regional District)

“We do want to leverage what is quite a strong active transportation culture in the region and make sure we couple that with the amenities that will encourage more people to leave their cars at home,” said Rebecca Mersereau, chair of the Regional Parks Committee.

“Investing in that trail and ensuring it can offer a level of service for more users in the future is a really important part of the CRD’s commitment to climate change action,” she said.

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The new design also calls for more light, which has been one of the biggest challenges for users of the trails — especially in evenings and on dark, winter days.

“It can be a little nerve wracking,” said Burger. “You’re riding along and you sort of think, ‘Is there something behind me?’ And there’s no way to tell, because you look into your mirror, you shoulder check, and you just can’t see.”

Staff recommending installing LED lights along the whole stretch, except the part of Lochside trail that is adjacent to the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary. They suggest adding reflective markings there instead.

Recommended lighting for regional trails

(Courtesy: Capital Regional District)

Burger said he hopes all parts of the path will be lit, including next to the sanctuary.

“It’s one of the darker sections of the trail,” he explained. “There’s no natural light that gets in there.”

Lighting the trails is something that should have been done a while ago, Burger added.

“The trails are transportation corridors,” Burger explained. “If you go on any road in the region, it’s pretty much going to be lit and it’s a little frustrating to see that it’s taken this long to light the trails.”

The lighting and widening would be done in phases if approved, starting with the section of the Galloping Goose that has the highest number of users and narrowest trail, between Selkirk Trestle and Culduthel Road.

The Regional Parks Committee supported the trail widening options suggested by staff, with some amendments. The committee asked staff to return to the CRD board with information on whether the project could be expedited and noted the lights should be in the dark sky style, so they direct light into the ground and not up into the sky.

“There’s still a lot of work to do before those shovels are in the ground,” said Mersereau.

The CRD board will discuss the project in February.

READ MORE: No speed limits on regional trails in Victoria as electric bikes get faster

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Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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