Faster, efficient public transit will soon entice more people to take the bus, now that construction is starting on the northbound Douglas Street bus lane extension.
The extension will be from Tolmie Avenue to the Burnside Bridge, between Tillicum Road and McKenzie Avenue.
“Extending the Douglas Street bus lane is good news for commuters frustrated with mounting congestion in Greater Victoria,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “If we want to make a real dent in the gridlock, we need to change how people commute. These bus lanes will inspire more people to leave their cars at home when they see how fast and efficient public transit is, as buses fly by the cars sitting in traffic.”
The Douglas Street corridor is one of the busiest commuter routes in the city. It currently supports as many as 1,700 vehicles per hour during peak travel times. At the same time, BC Transit buses move 40% of the people taking this route during peak hours, while only making up 3% of the traffic.
“This type of capital investment is long overdue for our region,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “Improving transit infrastructure is key to a 21st-century approach to get people moving.”
“We are already seeing the positive impacts of the existing bus priority lanes on this critical corridor,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit president and CEO. “The upcoming extensions to the bus lanes will contribute to making transit a more effective and efficient transportation option, so that commuters can spend less time on the road.”
Construction of this northbound bus lane complements the City of Victoria’s southbound lane, currently underway from Tolmie to Hillside Avenue. Between bus lane projects already in construction, and future work in planning stages – such as the Colwood/View Royal bus lanes – Greater Victoria’s West Shore transit priority corridor is quickly becoming a reality.
“I am excited about the momentum we are gaining with our partners, including the Province, in the implementation phase of the bus priority lanes project along Douglas Street and Highway 1,” said Susan Brice, chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. “I look forward to the fall, when the southbound section from Tolmie Avenue to Hillside Avenue and the new northbound section are complete, and link into the existing bus priority lanes stretching to Fisgard Avenue.”
The northbound Douglas Street bus lane extension from Tolmie Avenue to the Burnside Bridge is expected to be complete this fall for a total cost of $14.2 million, with the Province contributing $9.575 million and the Government of Canada providing up to $4.625 million under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
The contract for this project was awarded to Jacob Bros. Construction Inc. of Surrey. During construction, the ministry will make every effort to minimize delays and maximize predictability for commuters by doing the majority of work outside of peak traffic periods.