The new Vital Signs report has a lot of good information on what people in Greater Victoria want, beyond lower transit fares. The report shows that people are tired of transit riders getting stuck in traffic, and think we should reduce our reliance on cars. It also says we should “take urgent action to combat climate change.”
Completing the already started bus lanes on Douglas Street/Trans-Canada Highway to the West Shore should be the immediate response to this report. These bus lanes could be completed within 18 months. There is also an urgent need for shoulder bus lanes on the Pat Bay Highway, and many more buses across the region. Let’s get it done.
We are members of the Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria.
Prime Minister Trudeau, former Premier Clark and most of Canada’s premiers signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in 2016. This Framework contains a policy shift that could fund much better transit in our region, and reduce climate pollution. But this likely won’t happen without local support!
The Framework commits the federal and provincial governments to “shift from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation, including through investing in infrastructure.” This means investing more in better transit and less on urban highways that just become congested again.
Last spring Saanich Peninsula Green Drinks hosted a presentation by Eric Doherty of the Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria around transit options for the region. The evening, hosted by Central Saanich Councillor Alicia Holman included a slide show followed by a lively discussion.
Doherty’s presentation held the position that a community can’t build its way out of traffic congestion – growth supersedes road building and road building facilitates further growth. He suggested that, in the Southern Vancouver Island region, this was demonstrated by the road ‘improvements’ that took place to eliminate what is lovingly referred to as the Colwood Crawl – the traffic stand-still/crawl that happens on Hwy #1 and roads parallel to it heading into Victoria in the morning, and out again in the late afternoon . . .
If you stopped by our booth at our first Car Free Day Victoria on June 18, 2017, then you might have participated in our informal sticker survey. We loved chatting with everyone who stopped by and hearing some of your transit concerns in Greater Victoria- as well as many positive stories of transit experiences in the CRD!
The Better Transit Alliance tries to send an observer to every Victoria Transit Commission meeting. And the last meeting was more eventful than usual, with some bad news which we reported to the media. The basic story is that, like most construction projects in the region these days, the price for the bus lanes was higher than hoped as all the construction companies are very busy. Unfortunately there was not a big enough contingency fund in place, and bus lane construction has been delayed.
We are going to be pushing all levels of government to step up to the plate and fund the Douglas / Highway 1 bus lanes all the way to the 6 Mile Pub area as soon as possible (even if it costs significantly more than it would have a few years ago). And we are optimistic that it will happen quickly; we think this can be completed within 24 months of municipal and provincial governments deciding to proceed. Here is some of the media coverage of the issue: Continue reading “Better Transit Alliance breaks story about bus lane delay”
Better Transit Alliance member Eric Doherty interviewed by Zeb King for the Shaw Cable show Transparency about transit solutions for Greater Victoria. Watch the 25 minute video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvtvGHJIRzo
Transit riders don’t cause traffic problems, so why should we have to endure them? The Better Transit Alliance is working to pressure decision-makers to move forward with their promise to install 24/7 bus lanes on Douglas Street & Highway 1 all the way to the 6-Mile Pub. The bus lanes could be completed within 24 months for a very reasonable cost, once our provincial government decides to get it done. See our blog post for an update on the progress of the project and help spread the word (including to your local provincial election candidates).
Province says “no” to better transit for Greater Victoria
We’re disappointed to report that our transit system will not be benefiting from an increase in gas tax. The Better Transit Alliance submitted a letter of support for the tax, along with many other local organizations. The CBC reports:
The BC Liberals promised 24/7 bus lanes on Hwy 1 all the way to the Westshore “soon” in 2008. In September 2016, the City of Victoria signaled their intention to move ahead with 24/7 bus lanes on Douglas Street up to the Saanich border. “That is where we need to go — 24-seven all the way through the city. That’s when people will say I’m going to get on the bus” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
Do you take the bus from, to, or through the District of Saanich? We encourage you to take their survey (it wraps up on January 31st, 2017). Your input will help inform the District’s 30-year Active Transportation Plan. Public transportation is active transportation!