The unique master plan for bike paths and safer travel at the University of Victoria has won a national award.
The plan looks at the campus as a whole and prioritizes active transportation, with a focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety, said UVic sustainability coordinator Susan Kerr.
The UVic Campus Cycling Plan was done with such conviction that the Canadian Institute of Planners honoured the campus cycling plan with the New and Emerging Planning Initiatives merit award. Credit goes to the team behind the plan, which features Kerr, and also UVic’s campus planning and sustainability director Mike Wilson, as well as Urban Systems planning consultants, led by Victoria based planner Shaun Heffernan.
The team came together to create an in-depth, thorough plan that hasn’t been done by a Canadian university before, Kerr said.
“We’re thrilled,” Kerr said. “This is fantastic. It means a lot to Mike (who is away this week) as a planner to have that peer recognition for the work that he does. It feels great because no one has ever done this before. It’s sort of breaking new ground. We believe in this plan and we are walking the walk here on sustainability.”
Among the key goals in the UVic campus cycling plan is to increase the number of cyclists traveling to the campus from the current 8.6 per cent to 10 per cent. To do that, the team mapped out a series of short term and medium-term (five to seven years) designs and objectives, and some significant infrastructure.
They include the addition of approximately 600 additional bicycle parking spaces to address the increased demand for bicycle parking needed. In the short term, they’ll pilot a trial on the shared pathway between the CARSA athletic facility and the turf fields. The pilot will add signage, such as painted signs on the ground as well as education signs to stimulate safety and care on the pathway.
“I think we also won the award because of our approach, we tackled different areas of the campus,” said Heffernan. “One area of focus was the interior of Ring Road. On these shared spaces, we will employ softer treatments, such as changing the texture and materials to slow cyclists, signage, and education.”
What won’t be happening inside Ring Road are dedicated bike lanes. That’s because the movements inside Ring Road are everywhere, Heffernan noted.
“There’s no point connecting A to B if everyone’s going A to B to Z,” he said.
In the long term, the plan recommends adding two-way bikeways to Ring Road. To do so the road would be expanded, and motorists would still have two lanes dedicated to cars.
Next on the agenda are plans to connect nearby roads Dawnview Crescent and Midgard Avenues with university pathways. To do this UVic campus planning and sustainability often collaborate with Saanich and Oak Bay. There are also plans for dedicated bikeways on McGill Road and University Drive.
In fact, Urban Systems also worked on the Fort Street bike lanes in Victoria, and on the Moving Saanich Forward active transportation plan that Saanich council has received.
The Moving Saanich Forward plan also won an award, as selected by the Planning Institute of BC, a silver in the category of excellence in policy planning – city and urban areas.
“We are very excited about the awards,” Heffernan said. “We consulted with more than 5,000 people on this plan.”