The next phase of the City’s bike network is being considered. Staff are recommending that the next lane be transferred to Vancouver Street instead of Cook Street. (File Photo

City shifts gears on Cook Street bike lanes, Vancouver St. recommended instead

Cook said to be too expensive, to inconvenient to install dedicated lanes

City staff are recommending that Cook Street no longer be considered in the next phase of Victoria’s downtown core bike network. Instead, they say the next north-south, all ages and abilities (AAA) route should run along Vancouver Street.

The change has opponents of the original plan very happy.

“We’re pleased that City staff has recognized the impossibility of the Cook Street proposal, and we hope council will too,” said Save Cook Street Coalition member, Robert McConnell, in an email. “A great deal of staff time and expense has been wasted trying to find ways to do what was obviously impossible from the beginning.”

Cook Street had initially been considered because of its connectivity to village centres, and the gentle topography along the streets. However, after further analysis and a lot of public feedback, City staff realized that the amount of traffic along Cook Street from buses and commuters, along with limited space for a physical barrier for cyclists, would be too expensive and too inconvenient to accommodate.

“Further analysis of Cook Street has revealed significant trade-offs required to maintain traffic performance and cycling safety, at intersections, and especially for vehicle turning movements during peak times,” reads a staff report to be discussed by council at committee of the whole tomorrow (May 24).

RELATED: Cook Street bike lane opposition grows among residents

Vancouver Street has been reassessed as the next option, running from Bay Street toward Dallas Road.

“Vancouver Street represents a more reasonable compromise between safety, cost and traffic performance, when compared to the Cook Street option sets,” states the report.

The largest barrier on Vancouver Street is managing parking spaces, though City staff report that with shared road concepts along certain parts of the roadway, an estimated 30 more spots can be created.

However, McConnell said there are still a few issues the City needs to reconsider in the next phases of their plan, including proposals of construction on Vancouver between Fort Street and Fairfield Road.

“There is plenty of room to convert part of the boulevards to protected bike paths. Instead the staff proposes to use only the existing roadway and add daytime parking, specifically to narrow the roadway and reduce traffic speeds,” he said. “The added risk to motorists and cyclists should be obvious, but apparently it’s not.”

If the Cook Street proposal is shelved, McConnell added, a leg of the Humboldt Street plan destined to end along Pakington Street, should be shelved too.

“It makes no sense to ask cyclists at Humboldt and Vancouver to make a complex and risky uphill S-turn onto Pakington and along a narrow, congested street only to be dumped onto a traffic mixing zone on Cook,” he said.

Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting gets underway at 9 a.m. Depending on the outcome of the discussion, the item could be put forward to a vote by council that evening.

Bike lane concepts for Wharf Street and Humboldt Street are still being discussed, but are presently reported to be 60 per cent complete.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read