It’s not just any left turn, it’s one of the latest features in a long-term plan to move people through the Uptown traffic jam that Douglas Street has become in 2018.
The new bus-only left turn signal from Carey Road, southbound onto Douglas Street, is now complete. It’s part of the recent work that includes a new bus stop on Carey across from the Carey Road Uptown entrance, an extended connector for the Galloping Goose (under the Switch Bridge overpass) and the new priority bus lane that runs to Tillicum Road.
The changes are designed to maximize the benefit of the new Douglas Street priority bus lanes.
Swartz Bay-Downtown routes such as the 72 and 75, southbound, will remain on Blanshard but will turn right onto Saanich Road and then left onto Douglas.
Starting Jan. 2, five other routes will begin using the Carey Road stops and new priority left turn bus lane, including the 30 Royal Oak/Downtown, 31 Royal Oak/Downtown, 32 Cordova Bay/Royal Oak, 70 Swartz Bay/Downtown and the 71 Swartz Bay/Downtown, said Lindsay Taylor, senior transit planner.
“The changes are to allow customers from the Peninsula, Royal Oak and Cordova Bay to experience the time savings of the new [Douglas bus lanes],” Taylor said. “We worked with the [Ministry of Transportation] to put the priority light on Carey to turn left on to Hwy W/Douglas.”
The left-turn is bus only. It should trigger within four seconds and buses can then access the southbound bus priority lane as soon as Tolmie Avenue.
The new Carey Road bus shelters were actually designed nearly a decade ago as part of the Uptown development and are part of the first phase of B.C. Transit creating a centralized hub from the land along Crease Avenue, at the junction of the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails.
“It is part of the transit future plan, a multi-modal hub we’re designing with Saanich and [MOTI],” Taylor said. “We will identify how to access the site, how it will look, and how the routing will work around here.”
Saanich is also in the midst of the Douglas Corridor plan. It could be at least two years before any public consultation begins regarding the Uptown transit hub.
The Ministry of Transportation expects the new Douglas Street priority bus lane from Fisgard Street to Tillicum Road will save 10 minutes during peak travel times, when roughly 1,700 vehicles per hour move along Douglas.