Victoria’s protected bike lanes will cost twice the amount originally set aside

Victoria's protected bike lanes will cost twice the amount originally set aside

WATCH: City staff say the final section of bike lanes in Victoria will cost another $3 million, bringing the total cost for phase one to $14.4 million. April Lawrence reports.

Tammy Flynn has been running her fudge and fashion business on Wharf Street for 13 years but she’s worried new bike lines might cut into her business.

“They’re taking away all the parking in front of my store, which is a lot of locals just stop by quickly to have a look at what’s going on in here, that’s going to be taken away and they’re not going to be able to get to me easily,” said Catawampus Fudge and Funk owner Tammy Flynn.

And the cost to install the lanes has gone up by about $3 million dollars.

Wharf, Humboldt and Cook Street are the final pieces of phase one of the city’s protected bike lane project and the cost to build them is now estimated at nearly $7.85 million dollars.

Adding in all the costs of phase one, including the completed Pandora Avenue bike lanes and the Fort Street section under construction, the total cost is expected to be about $14.4 million dollars nearly double the amount originally set aside.

“That was not the budget for the network that was the amount council allocated,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

“Knowing that as we actually build it, as we do public engagement, as we flush out the actual design, it was going to be more than 7.75 million dollars,” she said.

Helps says the city isn’t just building bike lanes, they’re creating pedestrian areas, re-configuring entire roadways, and after hearing from Fort Street businesses, keeping some parking spots as well.

“That was an increase to the fort street budget of a half a million dollars we have to balance everyone’s needs if we want this to be successful,” said Helps.

Helps says the gas tax from the province will cover the entire cost.

For people who use the bike lanes regularly, the hefty price tag is worth it.

“I do think it is worth it, I mean right now I don’t think you get enough bikes use it but I think it’s a chicken and the egg situation in that if you don’t have the infrastructure how do you expect people to ride bikes,” said cyclist Greg Aleknevicus.

The city says like them or not, all 5.4 kilometres of downtown protected bike lanes will be finished by early 2019.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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