Some members of the visually impaired community say they are afraid to use the crosswalks that stretch across bike lanes when trying to get to a bus stop. (Black Press Media file photo)

Some members of the visually impaired community say they are afraid to use the crosswalks that stretch across bike lanes when trying to get to a bus stop. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria’s visually impaired community wins ‘floating bus stop’ case against city

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rules City of Victoria must install audible flashing signals

Floating bus stops will now only be allowed in Victoria if they’re accompanied with audible flashing signals, after members of the visually-impaired community took their safety concerns to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and won.

Oriano Belusic first filed the complaint in 2018 on behalf of the members of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, after Victoria’s visually-impaired community voiced their safety concerns about the bike lanes on Pandora Avenue. The complaint alleged that the City of Victoria discriminated against the Federation of the Blind by introducing “floating bus stops” between the vehicle and bike lanes that made it dangerous for people with visual impairments to cross. It also alleged discrimination on behalf of BC Transit for servicing the floating bus stops.

READ ALSO: Blind community says bike lanes put their lives at risk

In a Nov. 12 ruling, the tribunal found that complaints against the City of Victoria were justified, but those against BC Transit were not.

It also determined that the installation of audible flashing signals at the Pandora Avenue location and continued use of them at the Wharf Street location “constitute a reasonable accommodation for the present and foreseeable future.” This decision opposed several alternative solutions suggested by Belusic, from converting the floating stops to curbside ones, to installing a descending crossarm to building an underpass or overpass. It was determined that all of these would cause undue hardship to the city or cyclists, or were unfeasible.

READ ALSO: Hearing begins into blind community’s complaint against BC Transit, City of Victoria

“This ruling is less of a critique of the city, but a finding that the design standards upon which the city (and other cities) rely on for the design of these types of bus stops fail to adequately address the needs of blind or visually impaired persons,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement for the City of Victoria.

Tribunal member, Norman Trerise, added that while audible flashing signals are adequate for now it “does not mean the City should not implement technologies that would provide fully guaranteed protection for blind pedestrians if such solutions become available in the future.”

Complaints against BC Transit were found unjustified as the tribunal determined that ceasing to service the floating bus stops “would provide no discernible benefit” to Victoria’s visually-impaired community.

A future hearing will be scheduled to review the city’s installation of audible flashing signals.

READ ALSO: How one Victoria woman with vision loss overcomes pandemic obstacles

-With files from Kendra Crighton


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC TransitCity of VictoriaGreater VictoriaTransportationTransportation Safety Board

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read