Johnson St. Bridge closes to rail

Although the City of Victoria hasn’t yet released the press release, John Luton announced this morning via Facebook update that the recent inspection of the bridge revealed that it is no longer safe to carry rail traffic. Given the recent pictures John posted on his flickr stream (one of which you can see below), this doesn’t surprise me.

Steel peeling like a flower on the Johnson St. Bridge. Photo credit: John Luton
Steel peeling like a flower on the Johnson St. Bridge. Photo credit John Luton

John’s full Facebook update:

It’s official. The Johnson Street Bridge is no longer safe to carry rail. Until the Island Corridor Foundation took over the railway, the bridge was maintained (or not), by CP Rail. It will remain open for cyclists and pedestrians but other arrangements will have to be made for rail until January when the structure comes down. The city’s road bridge has been better maintained and remains safe, for the time being.

Black Press talks cycling

With a great deal afoot with cycling in the Greater Victoria area — the CRD Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan, recent works in Oak Bay and the future bicycle plan, etc.

Vivian Moreau of the Oak Bay News came to the recent Active Transportation forum, focusing her article on the Spokesmen, a group of Oak Bay cyclists who ride together each Saturday morning, and their spokesperson (sorry) Stuart Culbertson noted what many cyclists in Oak Bay know: home is where the bike lanes stop (although that will be slightly less true in the new year).

In the good news department is the recent referendum victory for a new Johnson St. Bridge, which promises to elminate a major bottleneck at the end of Galloping Goose & Lochside Trails. Hopefully the CRD will get gas tax money to save the rail link, as well. (The Times Colonist covered Victoria Mayor Fortin talking about possible funding sources today)

The Victoria News actually does a pretty decent piece of work with their article on the bridge and cycling in Victoria, even mentioning the problem with vehicular cyclists’ crazy belief in stopping all bike lanes and other similar works.This group often muddies the waters, writing letters to councils who don’t know which group of cyclists to believe.

And for the last little bit of amusement, question 7 on this faux questionnaire:
Q7. When people discover that you work for the City of Vancouver they complain to you first about:

a) Bike lanes.

b) Backyard chicken coops and bike lanes.

c) The former Olympic Village and bike lanes.

d) Property-tax rates and bike lanes.

Ah, municipal politics, isn’t it fun?

Sanity restored, Victoria votes for new bridge

Despite some people’s predictions to the contrary, Victorians voted yesterday to allow the city to borrow the money to replace the Johnson St. Bridge. It was a pretty decisive win too, 60 to 40. The interesting question is why?

Why didn’t the No side ( win? After all, they collected all those signatures. I suspect because those that signed the petition break down into three major groups

  1. Those that actually wanted to save the old Blue Bridge
  2. Those that wanted a vote on the issue
  3. Those that were offended at the amount of money being spent

Note that only group 1 is actually a lock for a No vote. The 2nd and 3rd groups can be convinced to vote yes, which given that 9872 people signed the petition and only 6,522 voted No, may have just been what happened. After all, take a peak at one of the posters: Poster Poster. Image by

That poster will get all three groups to sign the petition, without revealing that the people behind the petition actually want to save the bridge. So all in all, a slightly surprising result, but from my perspective, a good one. If you want to get another perspective, Bernard von Shulman, a No voter, has run followup pieces at his Victoria Vision blog: 2010 Election and Wow I was wrong… Both are good reads. Now let’s see what the latest controversy regarding the bridge the people can stir up…