New cycling and pedestrian infrastructure coming to multiple Vancouver Island communities

New cycling and pedestrian infrastructure coming to multiple Vancouver Island communities
City of Victoria
Harbour Road bike lanes in Victoria.

The B.C. government has announced a series of new infrastructure projects intended to upgrade cycling, pedestrian and other active transportation networks in multiple communities on Vancouver Island.

In total, the government is funding 33 projects across British Columbia with 10 of them being located on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

The aim of these projects, according to the Government of B.C., is to increase the number of people walking and cycling, as well as improving the safety and health of vulnerable road users, community connectivity, accessibility, tourism and climate change mitigation.

“Climate action must include investments in infrastructure that enable people to choose environmentally friendly modes of travel that are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, like walking, biking and rolling,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of State for Infrastructure. “These safe transportation options protect the environment, connect communities and are key to B.C.’s recovery plan and our commitment to climate action.”

Over the next three years, the provincial government has allocated $36 million to the Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants program, with nearly $13.7 million in funding awarded in 2021.

“Investments through this grant program support the environment, benefit the tourism industry and help meet the needs of urban and rural communities across B.C.,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These projects will improve community health, affordability and safety, so people of all ages and abilities can benefit from cleaner air and better connections.”

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On Vancouver Island, several communities including Nanaimo, Sooke and Port McNeill will be receiving funding for various active transportation projects.

Below is a detailed outline of the approved upgrades:

* District of Central Saanich – $500,000
The Central Saanich – Priority School Zone Improvements project will construct new crosswalks with flashing lights, as well as several hundred metres of sidewalk extensions adjacent to Keating Elementary and the Wallace Drive/Marchant Road Intersection.

* District of Sooke – $500,000
The District of Sooke – Active Transportation Church Road Corridor project will add concrete sidewalks, bike lanes, intersection improvements and additional amenities.

* District of Sooke – $500,000
The District of Sooke – Active Transportation Church Road/Throup Road Roundabout project will include 380 metres of sidewalks and bike lanes in both directions, audible/braille crosswalk controls and signals and a roundabout at the intersection of Church Road and Throup Road.

* Ladysmith – $350,854
Ladysmith Active Transportation Infrastructure 2021 project will build two new sidewalks, make several safety upgrades and install two e-bike stations.

* Nanaimo – $500,000
The Metral Complete Street Corridor Phase 2 project will consist of 1.7 kilometres of continuous sidewalks, unidirectional protected cycle tracks, raised intersections, curb extensions and marked crosswalks.

* Nanoose First Nation (Snaw-Naw-As) – $441,144
The Nanoose First Nation (Snaw-Naw-As) Multi-Use Trail Connection project will build a 450-metre multi-use pathway, improve lighting along the connection to the market and employment hub, and connect to a future regional trail network.

* Port McNeill – $290,584
The Hemlock Street Active Transportation upgrades project will install a 211-metre multi-use sidewalk along a high-traffic corridor and complete a connection to a seniors’ accessibility ramp being installed from the seniors’ housing complex.

* Port Hardy – $221,981
The Granville Street to Trustee Sidewalk and Pathway project will consist of 760 metres of sidewalk along the busy collector road of Granville Street and 400 metres of pathway to connect a residential area to downtown and recreation sites.

* Toquaht Nation – $350,854
The Secret Beach Coastal Trail project will construct a 1.3-kilometre gravel multi-use path that will connect Toquaht’s village of Macoah to the new Secret Beach subdivision.

* Victoria – $500,000
The Kimta Road/E&N Trail – All Ages and Abilities Connector will construct 1.2 kilometres of cycling infrastructure that connects downtown Victoria with the regional trail network.

“We know that people are enthusiastic about using active transportation as an affordable, safe, climate-friendly and enjoyable way to get around,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “That’s why we’re making these investments in safe bike routes, walking paths and other local active transportation infrastructure. This program is one of many ways we’re working to create more liveable and better-connected communities all across B.C.”

The government says that through the grant program, as much as $500,000 per project in cost-shared funding is available for Indigenous and local governments to build new infrastructure and make improvements on existing networks.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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