Securing the streets of Victoria – Victoria Times Colonist


Driving through Douglas at Kings Road is like playing a game of ‘Frogger’, says a Victoria councillor.

The City of Victoria will consider creating a safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists at Kings Road and Douglas Street, to fill a gap in the city’s cycling and pedestrian network.

There are currently no crosswalks or lights at the intersection, although there are lights and a crosswalk where Douglas meets Bay Street to the south and Hillside Avenue to the north.

Councilors voted unanimously last week to approve the creation of a secure passage to the location, with details and design to be determined by staff. The motion of conn. Ben Isitt asks staff to report back during the 2023 financial planning process on the implications of continuing the crossing design.

Douglas is one of the busiest roads in the city with six lanes of traffic, and foot and bike traffic is expected to increase with the redevelopment of the former Times Colonist building into commercial and residential space, Isitt said.

Crossing Douglas at Kings Road is like playing a game of ‘Frogger’, he said, referring to a game that involves directing a frog to cross a busy road without getting hit while bouncing between lanes and moving forwards and backwards to avoid cars.

“Having a safe pedestrian crossing there without having to go up the rather convoluted Hillside intersection and the rather inhospitable Bay intersection, from a pedestrian point of view – that is a major objective of this proposal”, Isitt said.

Isitt said he wanted council to make it clear to staff that the intersection is a priority, after finding it took council effort for a pedestrian and cycle crossing near Kings and Blanshard Street move this project forward.

“This is a major infrastructure project. So in some ways it’s easier to just keep sending the ball down the field and not tackle it. And so the motivation behind the motion was to address that and provide clear direction of the city’s intention moving forward,” Isitt said.

Amanda Macdonald, chair of pedestrian advocacy group Walk On Victoria, said the section of Douglas around Kings Road lacked level crossings and many people used the road. “This is probably one of the worst areas adjacent to downtown Victoria for pedestrians,” she said.

Sarah Webb, the town’s transport planning and development manager, said it was great to see the council’s support for a crossing at this location. It was already part of the city’s future plans, and council’s motion will mean it will be brought forward as part of the 2023 financial planning process.

The intersection is part of a major connection between two sections of the city’s bike network that is slated to open this spring, though Webb said it’s too early to tell what the connection might look like. Work began last September on Government Street from Pandora Avenue to Hillside Avenue, where protected bike lanes are being provided on both sides of the road. The project also includes replacing an aging water main, paving the road and new traffic lights.

An east-west corridor on Kings Road and Haultain Street, running from Blanshard Street to Richmond Avenue, with a focus on traffic calming with speed bumps, is also expected to open in the spring. A move to Douglas will build on improvements at Blanshard and Kings, where a new level crossing has been well used, she said.

“We heard loud and clear right away from the residents of this neighborhood about the importance and value of having this crossing installed,” Webb said.

The light is coordinated with lights at the intersection of Blanshard and Bay to avoid impact on drivers, so they don’t hit both lights when they are red, she said.

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