This week I was back in Victoria for the first time since we (ISL Engineering) completed construction on the Harbour Road protected bike lane. More improvements are coming with uni-directional protected bike lanes and neighbourhood bikeways on the Vancouver/Graham corridor currently in or approaching construction (Design by our partner on this project, Toole Design), and more to come next year with the same team. Most cities are increasingly adopting uni-directional bike lanes now, including Victoria. However, for the Harbour Road segment, the bi-directional design makes a lot of sense as it connects the Galloping Goose Regional Trail at the north end and the Johnson Street Bridge multi-use path on the south end, both on the east side of the road. Keeping both directions on the east side removes the need to cross the roadway for this key connection. Read on for videos riding the corridor.
Here's the before with painted bike lanes on either side...
And here are a few more afters...
Now let's take a ride, starting southbound coming off the Galloping Goose Trail. Previously cyclists would use the crosswalk to cross the street and travel south on the painted bike lane, passing several driveways and immediately adjacent to parked vehicles in places. You would also have to turn left across traffic at the south end to access the Johnson Street Bridge. While the posted speed is 30 km/h and traffic volumes relatively low. This key connection wasn't suitable for all ages and abilities.
Now you turn left from the Galloping Goose immediately onto the bi-directional bike lane and have few obstacles. A new mid block raised crosswalk is provided for pedestrians and a number of breaks in the barrier accommodate drainage to existing catch basins, manhole covers, vehicle access to driveways on the east side, and bicycle access to and from driveways on the west side.
Heading north, previously cyclists would come off the multi-use path into the painted bike lane which they still do, but now they are in a protected lane rather than adjacent to traffic.
I stood and watched people move through the south end, there's a lot going on, but people negotiate each other and it works pretty well. It's interesting watching all the different devices people use, in a short time I saw regular bikes, electric bikes, bike trailers with equipment, bike trailers with dogs, bike trailers with kids, scooters, one wheels, one person taking a spare bike somewhere. Overall in around 15 minutes in the afternoon peak, there are far more people rolling through this corridor than there are driving, while there are an approximately equal number of people walking and driving. This probably isn't too different from before, there were already a lot of people using this corridor, but its now safer for everyone and means one less missing link...
You may notice all these videos are on a YouTube channel 'Rolling in the City'. This is my new channel to capture videos of mostly good bike facilities as and when I ride them, a virtual ride if you like to provide people with a better idea of the experience using these facilities. I captured a bunch more videos in Victoria so check out the channel to see those other facilities and subscribe if you want to see new ones as they appear.