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‘Beyond parody’: Island town raising road to slow ‘fast-moving’ cyclists

New protected bike lane features two levels of road
Philip Marciniak posted on X about the District of Saanich’s new protected bike lane project on Gorge Road that is raised for cyclists, but not for motor vehicles. (Philip Marciniak photo)

Communities like Saanich that build protected bike lanes normally get showered with praise for the new infrastructure.

But one new project that includes a crosswalk on Gorge Road is getting roasted for how it was built.

Philip Marciniak posted on X about the District of Saanich’s new protected bike lane project, pointing out how the crosswalk portion has the road raised in the section covering the bike lane, but flat on the stretch where cars and trucks travel.

Marciniak thought the difference was a “strange” choice.

“A lovely fresh protected bike lane in #Saanich along Gorge Rd.,” wrote Marciniak. “I can’t help but notice how the raised crosswalk ends before car lanes along the entire stretch. Strange as road level crosswalks are notoriously deadly in Saanich.”

Marciniak asked the district’s X account for an explanation, but its response only sparked furor.

“The decision was made to not install raised crosswalks along Gorge as it is both a major truck route and transit route,” reads the district’s response. “Raised crossings were installed at the bike lanes to slow fast-moving cyclists and maintain access to the bus stops for persons with limited mobility.”

That brought multiple negative responses from local cyclists and pedestrians.

“In my mind those are both reasons for raised crosswalks,” responded Marciniak. “Raised at least to some degree, doesn’t need to be extremely steep but the driver being reminded every time that this is a crosswalk is valuable I think.”

“In a summer where another Saanich resident was killed in a street level crosswalk, and a year where ‘vision zero’ was endorsed by council, I can’t wrap my head around why deadly street level crosswalks are still being built in Saanich, despite the repeated avoidable tragedies,” added Marciniak.

“Beyond parody,” wrote Leo Spalteholz, responding to the difference in road elevations.

“It’s the same old ‘bikes are a menace, we need raised crossings to force them to slow down,’” wrote @baronjutter, “while ignoring the deadly cars right next door.”

Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff posted that he was going to investigate the issue with Saanich staff.

Mauricio Curbelo wrote about the dangers of these designs.

“Why does someone die crossing the road every year in Saanich,” asked Curbelo. “Saanich: ‘Well, you see, we design crosswalks to slow down fast-moving bicycles, but not fast-moving trucks and buses!’ Once again proving pedestrian deaths aren’t accidents, they are design choices.”

“This is ridiculous,” wrote Jen Stewart, “and the reasoning doesn’t stand up to the barest moment of scrutiny. You’ve built what otherwise looks like a beautiful active transportation route, but left pedestrians exposed to multi-ton vehicles traveling faster than any cyclist.”

“How in the world are you more concerned about fast moving cyclists than trucks and cars,” asked Peter Spindloe. “The last three pedestrian collisions, including two fatalities, in Saanich crosswalks have been caused by cars and trucks.”

READ MORE: ‘Leave your phone alone’: 70 motorists ticketed during Saanich enforcement

Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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