The next phase of Victoria’s bike network includes a proposed lane that will cut through the playgrounds of Quadra Elementary School.
City staff are exploring several options to connect Vancouver Street and Tolmie Avenue, but so far the winning contender would include a portion of an unprotected bike lane running along Fifth Street between Vista Heights and Tolmie Avenue, straight through the elementary school’s playground area, which currently hosts a public sidewalk.
“It’s about creating a shared space,” said Sarah Webb, manager of sustainable transportation planning and development. “We want try to make it more comfortable… That’s the name of the game, to provide a safe space for students and their families.”
Webb could not confirm if a fence would be put in place to divide the path from the play space.
When asked if the current playgrounds would be moved, she was uncertain.
“There has been an interest and desire for new play spaces at the school,” she said. “Like any project, it’s a complex space and we’re open to different ideas.”
If the route was approved, the City would have to plan around the school’s schedules and needs.
“We have to look at an urban environment, and think of all the parking and traffic management around the entire school,” Webb said. “How does that space work and function during school hours, what does that mean in early hours?”
However, Webb said that while the city will work to finalize the design process through the summer, construction likely wouldn’t begin until fall.
Three alternative routes are also being explored in the area, including running instead up Graham Street to Jackson Street; running up Graham and Topaz Streets, across Quadra Street and through Topaz Park, up Yew Street, or up Graham Street and Summit Avenue to Quadra Street, across at Spruce Street through Topaz Park and up Yew Street.
Black Press reached out to both the Greater Victoria School District and the Quadra Elementary School PAC, but did not receive comment in time for publication.
The City is also currently finalizing plans for two other portions of the bike network, including a short stretch along Harbour Road to connect the Galloping Goose Trail and the Johnson Street Bridge, as well as the arterial Vancouver Street portion, which will run between Park Boulevard and Bay Street.
The City is hosting several upcoming engagement opportunities for all three of these routes, including open house and design workshops on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Victoria City Hall, and Monday, April 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Victoria City Hall.
On-street information stations will also be running throughout the city on Sunday, April 7, including at Central Park from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., on the Galloping Goose trail on Harbour Road from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and at the Beacon Hill Playground from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
More information on the cycling network can be seen at victoria.ca/cycling
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