Beyond the Haultain bikeway: Cedar Hill Rd through to Vancouver St.

Beyond the Haultain bikeway is the rest of my route to work, along the City’s of Victoria’s bikeways through to Vancouver St.

@Bay St.

Like the other busy road without an barrier, Foul Bay Rd., Bay St. badly needs a barrier. There is enough road width and the hill just to the west makes the sightlines terrible here.

along Walnut St. and Chambers St.

These are nice quite residential roads with a few small pavement issues, so not much needs to be done here. I would mention that in the spirit of small details matter, I want to give a shoutout to the City of Victoria Engineering Department. They added small ramps at the northern end of Chambers St. where it is closed off to remove the bump that comes from crossing the two sidewalks. A nice little touch!

on Caledonia from Cook St. to Chambers St.

Another place of truly terrible pavement. This stretch rivals Haultain St. in Oak Bay for sheer terribleness.

@ Cook St.

Another challenging road crossing due to the number of vehicles that travel through this intersection (although I suspect a full intersection count would show most of them turn left and travel northbound on Cook St.)

on Caledonia from Cook St. to Vancouver St.

There is a lot of bicycle traffic and a lot of car traffic too. Lots of vehicles head north Vancouver St. and then turn east onto Caledonia St. and a fair number are already travelling along Caledonia. A few speed humps might make the traffic a bit calmer (although the major issue is actually the narrow roadway and the traffic is already moving pretty slow anyway)

@ Vancouver St.

Given the City of Victoria is discussing a plaza on Vancouver St. beside Royal Athletic Park anyway, fully closing this intersection to all through motor vehicle traffic might just be the thing needed. A less radical solution would be close this intersection to east-bound traffic. This would allow people to drive right up to the southern entrance of Royal Athletic Park but remove the commuting traffic onto other streets.

There is one possible unintended consequence of this: increased motor vehicle traffic on Vancouver St. This would need to be carefully monitoring and mitigated for if it does appear.

I plan on doing a similar set of posts for the Vancouver St. bikeway, so stay tuned!

Haultain bikeway: from Richmond to Cedar Hill Rd

Today we deal with the section fully within the City of Victoria. There are two distinct pieces to this section. The first runs from Richmond to Shelbourne and is typified by narrow roadway with diverters at either end and very low traffic volume. The section further west from Shelbourne is quite different. The roadway is wider, there is a bus route running down this section (Route 22), there is more vehicle traffic and in the middle, Haultain Corners, a commercial village.

@ Richmond Rd.

The through bicycle traffic here is rising and the barrier is just too narrow here. It only allows a single bike through in either direction and badly needs to be widened to allow a second crossing space. The major challenge is lack of road space to widen it properly.

@ Shelbourne Rd

Like the barrier at Richmond, this one is just too narrow for the peak hour bicycle traffic through it. A third opening through it would make a big difference (especially as cyclists have very different travel speeds).

@ Fernwood St.

This is a busy four-way stop with a fair amount of traffic in both directions, which makes it hard to do anything.

0n Haultain from Shelbourne to Cedar Hill Rd

This is the least pleasant part of the whole trip (save the crossing) because of the higher number of cars and occasional bus. There isn’t much that could be done here due to the space rquirmenets of trucks and buses. Sharrows might help, but research on them has shown them to be mixed and most of the time there are at least two or three cyclists on the road already.



Nine years ago: TravelChoices recommends crossing barrier on Foul Bay at Haultain

Almost nine years ago, the CRD’s TravelChoices was released. Amongst the many documents released was Working Paper #3, the Bicycle Strategy. Part of that strategy is this little gem:

Key crossings on shared bicycle routes include Haultain Street at Foul Bay Road

(Page 20 of the PDF, TravelChoices Working Paper #3 [PDF])

Even then it was seen a critical link. There is also this little gem:

Within the scope of the Bicycle Strategy it is not possible to identify appropriate crossing treatments for specific locations — selection of crossing treatments will be undertaken at a later date, by the CRD and municipalities, in consultation with cyclists and other stakeholders.

To the best of my knowledge, this has never been undertaken.

In fact, a quick glance through the list of recommended crossing improvements, a few minor improvements have been made to Galloping Goose and Lochside Trail crossings, but the only on-street improvements have been done by the City of Victoria. Specifically both of the two bike boxes recommended have been been built:

  1. Off Wharf across the Johnson St. Bridge (Google Streetview link)
  2. Where Government merges into Douglas (Google Streetview link).

Until recently, they were the only bike boxes anywhere in the CRD (a third has recently been installed by the City on Harbour Rd. as people turn eastbound onto Esquimalt Rd, also designed for crossing the Johnson St. Bridge [Google Streetview link, doesn’t yet show the bike box])

Oak Bay’s Active Transportation Advisory Committee is blogging

Kind of late to this party, but they don’t seem to have much Google-juice (they are page 7 on my search for “Oak Bay Active Transportation”), so here it is: Oak Bay Active Transportation at Blogspot.

Their recent Complete Streets policy is a great start, here’s to many more successes for them.

Cyclist injured on Haultain in Oak Bay

Biking to work on Friday morning I saw a cop car with a non-cop bike in the trunk and an officer with an accident kit talking with somebody. I immediately knew that something had happened, but wasn’t sure what until the Oak Bay News article. Unclear exactly who is at fault yet, but the article does imply that the driver backed into the path of the cyclist. Given I am busy talking about the Haultain bikeway, this is sort of timely (in a potentially-tragic way).

(h/t to Lesley Ewing of the ATAC and Safer Cycling Oak Bay for forwarding the news article to me)

Haultain bikeway: the Estevan section

After a short mistaken detour yesterday to the section further west, today we head east and let’s look at its easternmost section (actually Estevan Avenue).

Estevan section of the Haultain bikeway

This section needs to have a few pieces added:

@ Beach Drive

This is the crossing with the Seaside Touring route which runs through Victoria, Oak Bay, and then Saanich. At a minimum needed here are signs. You can’t really close off this intersection to through motor vehicle traffic as Esplande is one of the few ways to access Willows Beach and Willows Park (just off the picture to the south)

Estevan and Beach

@ Musgrave St.

A horrible 5-way intersection, there isn’t much that can be done here save a very expensive traffic circle which would seriously cut apart Lokier Gardens (the park at the intersection) which is actually heritage designated by Oak Bay.

Estevan and Musgrave

@ Cadboro Bay Rd

A slightly easier intersection. There is a fair amount of traffic on Cadboro Bay Rd and it might be possible to add an intersection barrier, although the challenge is narrow road width on Cadboro Bay Rd.

Estevan and Cadboro Bay

@ Eastdowne Rd.

A very easy intersection. The large traffic island with the oblique angle make this an easy conversion to a traffic circle.

Haultain bikeway: Eastdowne and Haultain in Oak Bay and Saanich

After the introduction yesterday, today we deal with Eastdowne Rd. and the start of Haultain St itself (at least through Oak Bay and Saanich). One of the major challenges with any sort of planning in the CRD is the sheer number of municipalities involved. It can be a good thing (can you imagine if Oak Bay-style stalling on bicycle infrastructure had been the policy across the region?) but sometimes it makes it challenging.

Haultain bikeway through Oak Bay and Saanich

This section is amongst the easiest in the whole piece.

Eastdowne @ Haultain

Like the more northern Estevan intersection, adding a traffic circle here would calm traffic as can be seen in the picture below, there is plenty of space here.

Haultain and Eastdowne

along Haultain St in Oak Bay

This part of Haultain needs to be repaved. Very badly. It is amongst the worst pavement I have been in the CRD. It is nearing the quality of pavement I have seen in places that much poorer than us (New Orleans after Katrina comes to mind).

@ Foul Bay Rd.

This is the toughest crossing of the whole bikeway. This is a very high traffic street that is quite wide. Unlike the two Shelbourne and Richmond to the west, there is no intersection barrier to prevent through motor vehicle traffic. It badly needs it.

Haultain at Foul Bau
Haultain at Foul Bay. Green lines show bike lane realignment and green arrows show allowed motor vehicle left turns.

There are some unanswered questions about these kinds of barriers. As they divert traffic, a small amount of additional traffic on Foul Bay would be expected. Doing a full intersection movement count would give Saanich and Oak Bay’s public works/engineering departments the information about just how many cars would be diverted. My guess would be a fairly low number due to the existing diverters at Richmond and Shelbourne.

along Haultain St. in Saanich

Nothing! This section was repaved a few years back and has three lovely speed humps. Now if only we can get a better Bowker Creek Greenway (which would cross Haultain here)…

Making the Haultain bikeway better

As we have now passed a slightly wet June and the weather is getting better, I thought now would be a great time to share some ideas about improving the cycling infrastructure in Greater Victoria. Let’s start with my ride to work: the Haultain bikeway. This is already one of the best east – west connectors in the core but it needs some work to make it great.

Why Haultain?
Flat – unlike Fort to the south and other roads to the north, Haultain is largely flat.
Quiet – Haultain has very low traffic volume, likely because of the traffic calming that already been done
Already traffic-calmed – Saanich and the City of Victoria have already spent money and effort making Haultain pleasant for cyclists through closing off intersections and adding speed humps.
Existing connections – it already links many other regional bikeways including the Seaside Touring route, Dean Ave, and via Cedar Hill/Walnut/Chambers/Caledonia gets you to Vancouver St.

So if it’s so great, what needs to be done?
Designating it as a bikeway
None of the three (Oak Bay, Saanich or the City of VIctoria) jurisdictions that Haultain cross designate it was a bike way.  It is identified as a route in the Oak Bay Active Transportation Strategy (an unofficial plan) and the it is part of the CRD’s PCMP Primary Inter-Community Network, largely because those of us who helped craft that document insisted on it.

Repaving Haultain in Oak Bay
To say that the road here is terrible is an understatement. Unlike sections further west, there has been no recent paving here.

Prevent through motor vehicle traffic at Haultain and Foul Bay
This intersection needs a barrier like the intersections at Richmond and Shelbourne.

Widen the crossings as Richmond and Shelbourne
Neither of these intersections are wide enough for the volume of traffic through them.

Add traffic calming on Haultain between Shelbourne and Cedar Hill Rd
This section can have fast moving vehicles, but adding traffic calming is impossible unless BC Transit removes the 22, something they are already talking about doing.

Add a connection to the Vancouver Street bikeway
Haultain’s biggest problem is this lack of link. Although such a link exists via Cedar Hill and Walnut St in the official City of Victoria bicycle plan, but nothing actually exists on the ground.

Over the next few days I will be sharing a section by section view of the bikeway with specific recommendations on how to make it better.

Bike train success to Willows!

Thanks to the Oak Bay Police Department and Councillor Michelle Kirby, the bike trains to Ecole Willows School yesterday were a great success. The two trains, one from Allenby Park and the other from near Monterey School, had over 75 students in them.

Bike train at Ecole Willows School
Bike train at Ecole Willows School

What does a bike train look like you say? Well Tom Croft took some video, but here is an example from another community:

Today, for adults, the Active Transportation Advisory Committee organized some guided rides for adults, but the bad weather meant it was only a few truly dedicated people that came out. Thanks to those that did come out and brave the rain with us.

‘Til next year…

(this post was also put on the Community Association of Oak Bay blog at

UVic talks parking some more

UVic, smarting after their rejection last summer for their height variance, is back before the community again for the CARSA project and its associated parkade. Not much has changed with this round, although they have at least attempted to show a few different options. The public seems to like the partially buried option as the TC has reported, but there some other interesting things in the report.

Not many students gave feedback
Arguably students have already given their approval after CARSA went through a referendum. Still, the total number of students was very low.

Nobody is talking about how CARSA or the parkade are going to be funded.
CARSA itself will come from a whole list of groups, but the parkade will be funded by the parking fees (which will generate money for UVic once the debt is paid off). This is why UVic isn’t talking about a new sorely-needed transit exchange: they aren’t paying for the parkade, so there is no money to shuffle from one project to another.

The story of funding CARSA is even more convoluted, involving a 2009 referendum to raise student fees that the province rejected as being too high and a 2011 attempt to have another referendum.

The parkade is busy damaging UVIC’s green cred
Several of the attendees were concerned about how this fit into UVic and the region’s larger transportation strategies. (full disclosure: one of those people was me).

CARSA will make biking/walking to UVic less attractive
CARSA will take a major (12% of total people) and narrow the pathway and redirect bicyclists onto McKenzie.

The kicker here is that UVic already did this once already, with the new Social Science and Math building. Bicyclists used to be able to cross the Ring Road from McGill, never actually having to bike on the Ring Road. The New SS&M building closed off that access, forcing bicyclists onto Ring Road, which is narrow and has a lot of traffic.

So for me the take away is this: does UVic actually care about sustainability? I used to think so. Now I am not so sure. The CARSA April Open Houses Summary (PDF) can be read here or on UVic’s CARSA site.