March 2 JSB update.
On February 7th members of the GVCC’s Facilities and Infrastructure Committee (Ed Pullman, Jim Alix and Ryan Mijker) met with the Johnson Street Bridge Project team (Ken Jarvela (Senior Project Manager), Brad Dellebuur (City of Victoria Manager of Transportation) and Bridget Frewer (Communication Director).The impetus for this meeting was a letter from the GVCC to the City, raising concerns about potential claw-backs of provisions for non-motor vehicle traffic (i.e. cyclists and pedestrians.) Overall we feel that the meeting went well and many of our concerns were directly addressed.
We raised concerns about a buffer space between the bike lane and the bridge railing and the possible reduction in width of the bike lanes from 1.8 to 1.5 metres. We were assured that the bike lanes would remain at 1.8m with an adequate buffer (.3m-.5m) between the bridge railing and the bike bike lane. We are confident that the 1.8m obstruction free bike lane will be maintained on the bridge deck.
Much of our discussion dealt with the approaches and intersections on either side of the bridge. On the east side, where Johnson and Pandora intersect Wharf/Store the intersection needs to be made safe, direct and clear for cyclists. To this end we made several suggestions that the JSB Replacement team should strongly consider:
- We strongly advocated for clear wayfinding signage and markings aimed at the occasional user (e.g. tourists), as regular users will soon find their own best path regardless of markings.
- For eastbound cyclists crossing Wharf to Johnson we requested green coloured pavement in the conflict zone where motor vehicles turning right will cross the bike lane.
- At this same location we reinforced the need for a tight turning radius to slow down motor vehicle traffic through the conflict zone, although we acknowledged that the turning radius must accommodate large vehicles (tour buses and semi-trailers.)
- We suggested a two-phase left for northbound cyclists at the intersection of Wharf and Johnson, to complement the shared left-turn lane.
- For westbound cyclists entering the shared-use path from Wharf we suggested a bicycle pocket on Wharf and/or a two phase left to facilitate cyclist movements off Wharf and onto the Galloping Goose. This would be a cyclist-only movement and should be clearly marked as such.
- We suggested that a scramble or a separate light phase should be strongly considered for the Pandora/Store Street intersection to efficiently transition cyclists off and on the shared-use pathway and the roadway.
- We emphasized the importance of using road marking in addition to signage on the roadways and pathways, to provide clarity to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
- On the bridge deck of the multi-use path, we suggested surface treatments and stencilling to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to efficiently share the facility.
On these issues we will continue to work with the JSB Replacement team to ensure that low stress cycling facilities are in place.
In regards to other issues such as the inefficient cycling access on and off the Songhees/E&N Trail and the inadequate width and lack of user separation on the shared-use pathway we made no progress. Our concerns were heard and understood, but with budget constraints and this far into the process it is difficult to do much about this now.
Generally—and unfortunately—the bridge is not likely going to accommodate or encourage large growth in cycling numbers over the next 30 years or encourage a lot more people to ride their bikes. It will be a significant improvement for those who are currently riding over the bridge and may encourage modest growth in cycling numbers. Our job now is to ensure that cycling facilities on the bridge are not downgraded further and to continue to advocate for benefits for cyclists in other areas of the CRD.