Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture to see the absurdity of it all. The Times Colonist has a pair of stories today, both talking about long running issues that are plaguing our region. The first covers the loss of driver’s licenses by and how the choices left suck. Then we have an article saying that the City of Victoria may not run rail across any new and/or refurbished Johnson St. Bridge. Right, so we need better transit options but we should reduce those options by not running rail transit across the bridge. And despite what some commenters are saying, it is not about 300m of track. Once there is something useful running on those tracks, there will be pressure to extend the tracks, possibly to link into any light rail coming down Douglas St. Bah.
The latest in the seamingly endless studies about rapid transit is entering it’s public consultation and thus BCTransit is holding a series of open houses.This one is called the Victoria Regional Rapid Transit plan and managed the first open house yesterday at the Legion Hall on the Gorge. I doubt this will be the last study. If you want a good idea of just how often this has been studied, see page 2 of this PDF. I must confess all this leaves me just a little jaded.
This specific plan is an outgrowth of the recently-failed Douglas St. busway, which did yield one concrete result: BCTransit now owns the right of way to the centre 2 lanes of Douglas St. north of Fisgard. Unlike the Douglas St. plan, this one doesn’t presume the use of specific corridor, rather they are looking for input on what corridor they should be using. See the map to the right or the full PDF for the options.
For the Downtown to Uptown route the logical route is Douglas St, as we already own the corridor, it would require less work than Blanshard St and the potential, with the right technology (ie. rail), to stimulate a lot of needed development in the north Douglas area.
From Uptown I think we should run with the Trans-Canada Highway and the Galloping Goose. Between those two alignments there should be plenty of room to run two full tracks while keeping the existing trail and the highway. It also passes right by the Victoria General Hospital, a major employer.
It should then shift to the E&N Railway when it nearly joins the highway in View Royal, because the corridor is already publicly owned (by the Island Corridor Foundation) and it runs straight into downtown Langford, where they have just finished building a beautiful new transit station.
As for technology, they claim that they have no bias one way or the other, but as I have pointed out before, I really doubt that. Maybe by picking at least part of the E&N, they will be forced to use rail.The plan is for the prelimiary consultation to be done by the this fall with the larger work starting in 2010. Implementation is 2011 or later. Likely later, given there is no concrete funding from any level of government. Interestingly, this timeline aligns very neatly with the new CRD Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan. I wonder if they have been talking with each other…
But don’t take my word for it. There are two more consultations: one tomorrow in Colwood and next Monday at Victoria City Hall. See the schedule for more information as well as PDFs of most of the handouts. As an aside, this also the 100th published post on this site.