Home > News

Controversy erupts over Victoria bike lane design

A Saanich project draws criticism as an elevated crosswalk raises questions about pedestrian safety, sparking a heated debate among the community

Communities like Saanich are usually praised for building better bike lanes. But a recent project on Gorge Road is getting criticized, according to the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Philip Marciniak noticed something odd about the project. The bike lane had an elevated crosswalk, but the part for cars and trucks was flat. He thought this was a strange choice and shared his thoughts on social media, saying, “I can’t help but notice how the raised crosswalk ends before the car lanes. Road-level crosswalks are dangerous in Saanich.”

Marciniak asked the District of Saanich for an explanation, according to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, but their response caused more controversy. They said they didn’t make the crosswalks raised on Gorge Road because it’s a major route for trucks and buses. They only raised the crossings in the bike lanes to slow down cyclists and help people with limited mobility at bus stops.

This explanation upset many local cyclists and pedestrians. Marciniak believed that raised crosswalks should have been used, even if not extremely steep, to remind drivers it’s a crosswalk. He also mentioned recent pedestrian deaths in Saanich and the council’s endorsement of “vision zero” for road safety, wondering why they were still building dangerous street-level crosswalks.

Others joined the discussion. Leo Spalteholz sarcastically called the situation “beyond parody.” @baronjutter criticized the focus on X (formerly Twitter) on slowing down cyclists while ignoring the dangers of cars.

Saanich Councillor Teale Phelps Bondaroff promised to look into the issue with Saanich staff. Mauricio Curbelo raised concerns about the safety of the designs and questioned why pedestrian deaths keep happening. Jen Stewart criticized the design for leaving pedestrians exposed to fast-moving vehicles, despite creating an attractive transportation route. Peter Spindloe pointed out recent pedestrian accidents caused by cars and trucks, questioning the district’s safety priorities.