Corey Burger believes cycling along the Galloping Goose is a breeze for the most-part, at least until you hit the Island Highway.
Cyclists and pedestrians are directed off the trail towards the intersection of Wale Road and cross at the light. On the opposite side, you then need to use the sidewalk to connect back to the trail.
“Most crossings are pretty obvious, but this one isn’t,” said Burger, policy and infrastructure chair for the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.
“It feels like it dumps you onto the road and it’s not clear how you can continue. There are some signs, but if you’re a new cyclist I can imagine how confusing it might be. There’s no yellow brick road to lead you across.”
Burger says he’s seen groups of bikers turn around at the highway thinking they’ve made it to the end of the trail even though they haven’t cycled the other half.
Though he commutes from Esquimalt to downtown Victoria for work, he believes the bridge needs to be pushed forward to improve safety and ease of access – and Colwood is on board.
They’ve submitted an application for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program.
|The City of Colwood has applied for a funding to build a bridge across Island Highway, providing easier access to cyclists and pedestrians along the Galloping Goose Trail. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)|
Mayor Rob Martin feels now is the perfect time to strike.
In 2012, Martin and council were denied provincial funds, though the city heavily lobbied to get shovels in the ground. The issue was first brought to the mayor’s attention when former councillor Lilja Chong was voted in with her pro-stance of building a bridge over the Island Highway.
“The Galloping Goose isn’t just a recreational path. It’s the true pathway for those that need to get to work and back every day. There’s nothing more scary than a bike scooting out in front of you during your commute,” said Martin, who witnessed three bikes cross the five lanes of Island Highway during a break in traffic on Monday.
The city has completed the preliminary work to confirm land use on either side of the highway. Now, Martin’s hopeful the application will get the green light by March 2021, followed by a design and construction beginning by fall 2021.
Martin envisions not just a cement overpass, but hopes to see creative designs that capture the essence of Colwood. He’s thrown out a few ideas, including a First Nations collaboration or using mass timber.
The bridge is estimated to cost $4.9 million, and the city is expected to contribute $1.4 million, which comes from reserve funding set aside for community amenities.
If there aren’t too many bumps in the road during planning, the bridge could be built as soon as fall 2022.
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