The near-completed Phase 1 of the Shelbourne Street Improvement Project has drawn praise for its improvements to pedestrian safety.
And while local cyclists and advocates have criticized the lack of protected bike lanes evident on this first section of the massive five-kilometre project through Saanich, plans are in the works for this fall or winter to install pre-cast concrete barriers between Torquay Drive and Garnet Road to separate bikes from vehicle traffic.
According to the district, the barrier plan for this stretch of road is included among the “quick build” recommendations from Saanich’s active transportation advisory committee that were approved by council in March. The curb-like separators are to be installed around the municipality on approximately five kilometres of buffered bike lanes – those separated from vehicle traffic by painted lines.
The original plans for Phase 1 of Shelbourne Street, completed before the March council decision, call for buffered lanes on both sides, including green paint in certain sections intended to “increase driver awareness of conflict zones with cyclists.”
A June 12 tweet by the District of Saanich announcing the impending completion of Phase 1 was met with a round of negative comments, mostly from people saying painted bike lanes do not promote safety for cyclists and are not AAA-rated (all ages and abilities).
The district responded on Twitter by clarifying its plan to install the barriers on this portion Shelbourne, with work planned for fall or winter 2022.
Plans for Phase 2 of the Shelbourne Street Improvement Project between North Dairy Road and Pear Street call for protected lanes most of the way on both sides. Plans for Phase 3 between Pear and Garnet currently show a mix of raised bike lanes and buffered lanes.
Details and timelines for Phase 2, on which construction is expected to start sometime this summer, are expected to be announced by Saanich in the coming weeks.
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