CRD gets federal gas tax money for PCMP implementation

Finally announced, the CRD recently received $780,950 from the Government of Canada’s Gas Tax Fund transfer to implement various part of the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) recently completed Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (PCMP). The full announcement can be found on the Canada News Centre or from the CRD’s 2013 Media Releases.

Excitingly, this means a whole series of pilot projects for all the “E”‘s from the PCMP, including Engineering aka infrastructure such as:

Bike activated warning signals
Such as HAWK beacons

HAWK signal
HAWK signal (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Advisory bike lanes (Minneapolis has a few)

Advisory Bike Lane in Minneapolis
Advisory Bike Lane in Minneapolis (Photo credit: City of Minneapolis)

Traffic calming for bike boulevards

Traffic barrier at Haultain and Shelbourne
Traffic barrier at Haultain and Shelbourne (Personal photo)


Other engineering projects include solar-powered signage, automated count stations, and secure lock-up systems that support dual-mode trips such as cycling and transit. The “soft” E’s including Education and Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation aren’t left behind either. Should be fun times!

(Full Disclosure: I work for CRD Regional & Strategic Planning and am the Bicycle Count Coordinator for the CRD)

Why is it so quiet here?

Any astute reader of my blog will have quickly discovered they have mostly become a non-reader of my blog over the past six months or so. Sorry about that, but I wanted to explain my it is so.

First, I am now crazy busy between my two jobs. I was promoted in July at Malatest, from Surveyor to Supervisor. While this was a great promotion, it meant I almost doubled the hours per week I work there.

Second, and far more importantly, my other job with CRD Regional Planning. I deeply enjoy my job there and I do interesting work there, such as running the Regional Bicycle Count program, and challenging work, such as helping with the Regional Deer Management Strategy, but with that work comes a little bit more care in what I can say, when I can say it.

So I am not going away, I will just be a little bit quieter than usual.

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)

Yesterday’s crazy storm

It isn’t often we get lightning and thunder here in Victoria. While I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the lightning yesterday, I did get get some great shots of a small front that came in behind the main storm yesterday at Willows Beach.

Willows Beach cloud
Willows Beach cloud

To give you an idea of just how fast this cloud was moving, this poorly-shot gif (I didn’t bring my tripod with me) shows the change in just one minute.

The wind was also pretty amazing. It was pretty still under the main storm cloud but once that low-lying cloud hit, the speed increased dramatically (to the point where I was glad I didn’t have my tripod with me).

Update: My brother (the pilot) tells me that this is called a roll cloud.

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.