What's Happened So Far

Update - November 2017

Over the summer, BC Transit worked with its partners at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and City of Victoria to finalized the designs of the next stages of the bus and bike priority lanes. 

The City of Victoria posted the tender for the southbound Tolmie to Hillside bus and bike priority lanes on Wednesday, November 8.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure reissued the tender for the northbound Tolmie to Tillicum bus priority lanes on Tuesday, November 14.

Work is expected to commence in 2018 once a contract is awarded.

The City of Colwood and the Town of View Royal are working with BC Transit and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission to develop concepts and cost estimates for a rapid transit corridor along the Island Highway between Colwood Corners and the Trans-Canada Highway. 

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Update - April 14, 2016

City of Victoria Council has requested an additional design workshop take place to allow for further public engagement on the design concept for a southbound transit bus lane on Douglas between Tolmie and Hillside. The City of Victoria and BC Transit will be hosting a public workshop on April 20th at the Burnside Gorge Community Centre, the public is welcome to attend, see below for details :

Douglas Corridor Design Workshop
Wednesday April 20
5:30 pm -  7:30 pm
Burnside Gorge Community Centre (471 Cecilia Road)

Update - March 29, 2016

Southbound Priority Bus Lane development (Phase 2b)

From Tolmie Avenue to Hillside Avenue

In collaboration with City of Victoria staff, BC Transit conducted additional consultation on the proposed design, including:

  • Door-to-door meetings with over 35 business representatives
  • Letters to all property owners and three scheduled information sessions
  • Two design workshops with neighbourhood community association and advocacy groups
  • Interagency design meetings between BC Transit and the City of Victoria
  • Dedicated project website and email address for feedback

The feedback received can be divided into two general categories:

Neighbourhood Groups and Residents

  • Focus on ensuring the corridor remains aesthetically pleasing, safe and enjoyable for pedestrian movements
  • Wider sidewalks that are positioned as far away from curbside as possible
  • Maximize green boulevard space
  • Trees and vegetation to be replanted, more is better
  • Increased pedestrian crossings along the segment
  • Improved signage and wayfinding, especially to adjacent corridors such as the Galloping Goose Trail
  • Improved bus stop facilities

Property Owners and Business Representatives

  • Concerns about impact to businesses and customers during construction
  • Availability of construction schedule and impacts as early as possible
  • Ensure access and egresses are not blocked
  • Consider off-peak construction periods
  • Traffic management plan to minimize disruption
  • Vegetation not impeding business frontages or signs and should be low maintenance

BC Transit and the City of Victoria have worked to incorporate feedback into the design to meet the needs of area stakeholders wherever possible.

City Staff and BC Transit will report back to Victoria City Council on April 7, 2016 with the feedback and a revised option for approval.

Update – March 2016

Southbound Priority Bus Lane development (Phase 2b)

From Tolmie Avenue to Hillside Avenue

On February 18, 2016, the City’s Governance and Priorities Committee endorsed Option 2 (described below) in principle as the preferred design for the Phase 2b segment. BC Transit and City staff agreed to have further engagement with specific stakeholders along Douglas Street on the design details. The Victoria Regional Transit Commission has approved a budget of $1.6 million for construction of the Phase 2b bus lanes in the 2016/17 fiscal year. The design plan will be brought back to City Council on April 7 for final approval.

Option 2: Minimum Bus Lane Widths and Minor Widening (see below). A new transit priority lane is constructed in addition to the two existing general purpose travel lanes.  This option has a higher cost than simply converting a general purpose traffic lane, but it better accommodates buses and general purpose traffic.  It is consistent with lane allocations south of Hillside and the proposed Phase 3 bus lanes northbound between Tolmie Avenue and Saanich Road.

Figure 2: Douglas Street Transit Lanes Phase 2b Option 2 Figure 2: Douglas Street Transit Lanes Phase 2b Option 2

The timeline to deliver on this project, subject to approval by Council, is as follows:

1. Further public consultation and engagement: March 2016
2. Council endorsement of design: April 2016
3. Consultant selection for detailed design: April – June 2016 (3 months)
4. Detailed design review and improvements: June – September 2016 (4 months)
5. Construction implementation planning and sequencing: June – September 2016
6. Tender/contractor selection: September – October 2016 (2 months)
7. Construction phase: November 2016 – March 2017 (5 months)
8. Project completion: End of March 2017

Public Engagement

BC Transit is continuing the process of engaging local stakeholders which include business representatives and property owners along the Phase 2b corridor to discuss the details of the plan. Consultation with the broader public will be arranged in conjunction with the City of Victoria’s Burnside-Gorge community planning process at dates to be determined.

BC Transit employees will be going door-to-door to meet with business representatives and property owners along the Phase 2b corridor to discuss the plan, and information meetings will be arranged to review the plans together, if requested. 

Business owners and property representatives along the Phase 2b corridor are invited to attend one of the following information sessions (at BC Transit’s head office, 520 Gorge Road East) to discuss the plan and provide feedback on its implementation:

Monday, March 14:  2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, March 16: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

To attend an information session you must RSVP by email or phone to confirm a session of your preference.

Email: victoria_transitpriority@bctransit.com

Phone: 250-995-5850 Tina Sulea, Executive Assistant, Business Development

If you are unable to attend one of the above sessions and would like the opportunity to discuss this project further, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Northbound Priority Bus Lane development (Phase 3)

From Tolmie Avenue to Saanich Road

On February 22, 2016, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced funding for the future construction of a northbound bus priority lane on Douglas Street from Tolmie Avenue to Saanich Road.

“The ministry is following through on the commitment we made as part of B.C. on the Move to extend the Douglas Street bus lane,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Today we are committing $6.45 million to this project that will reduce travel time for northbound bus users on the busiest transit corridor in the Victoria region.”

Construction on the project is expected to get underway in the fall of 2016 and will widen sections of Douglas Street to create an additional northbound lane. The new lane will be built wider to accommodate both buses and cyclists. This extension will tie into the existing municipal bus lanes (Phases 1 and 2) and will provide a continuous lane for transit services northbound from Fisgard Street in downtown Victoria to Saanich Road at Uptown.

VRTPC Construction Photo Photo: left to right: Mayor of Saanich, Richard Atwell; Chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, Susan Brice; Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Hon. Todd Stone; Victoria transit operator and ambassador, Dale Randall; President and CEO of BC Transit, Manuel Achadinha

“During rush hour, 40 per cent of people are moving along the corridor on transit, but our buses are actually only 3 per cent of the traffic on the road,” said Susan Brice, chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission and Saanich councillor. “It not only makes sense to give buses a priority – it’s the right thing to do. This project will result in shorter travel times and improved reliability, and help encourage transit ridership in the Victoria region.”

“This is a very important step in our continued goal to provide efficient and effective public transit to our customers in the Victoria region,” said Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO of BC Transit. “Working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to complete this important piece of our transit network will have significant benefits for the overall transit system, the community, and the customers we serve.”

During the first round of consultations on the McKenzie interchange project, 92% of people said that accommodating transit was important. This new lane is a key step to make the trip from downtown to McKenzie more convenient for transit users along the corridor. The ministry is working on a future plan to connect this new bus lane with the transit improvements that are being constructed as part of the McKenzie interchange project.

VRTPC Map

Update – January 2016

Southbound Priority Bus Lane Options

Douglas Street Tolmie to Hillside (completion of Phase 2)

Victoria Douglas Street Boards - PDF

The Transit Future Plan, as endorsed by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC), the Capital Regional District (CRD), and the region’s municipalities in May 2011, identifies the vision and steps to direct the future of transit in the region over the next 25 years. The Plan identifies the need to commence the development of a rapid transit connection between downtown Victoria and the Westshore in order to effectively move people to their desired destinations and mitigate the effects of increasing congestion in the region. This rapid transit connection will take several steps to achieve with investments in transit infrastructure and service phased over the next several years.

The implementation of transit priority measures, such as priority bus lanes, on Douglas Street is key to achieving the goals of the Transit Future Plan (Victoria Region) and the Regional Transportation Plan. At the direction of the VRTC, BC Transit, in partnership with municipal staff, has been developing a plan to provide transit priority on the Douglas Street, McKenzie Avenue and Island Highway (View Royal to Colwood) corridors.

A number of projects have been implemented in this corridor over the past few years including:

Spring 2014 – Phase 1: opening of priority bus and bike lanes on Douglas Street from Fisgard Street to Hillside Avenue (weekdays, southbound: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.; northbound: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)

Summer 2015 – Phase 2: the extension of northbound priority bus lanes on Douglas Street from Hillside Avenue to Tolmie Avenue (weekdays, same hours as above).

2016 Phase 2 completion: planning is now underway to design a southbound bus lane on Douglas Street from Tolmie Avenue to Hillside Avenue

Planning and discussions are also underway with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to ensure alignment and to prioritize further enhancements on the ministry’s segment of the corridor from Tolmie Avenue to the Uptown shopping area and at the McKenzie Interchange on Highway 1 (Phase 3).

Public Engagement

BC Transit and the City of Victoria staff have reviewed options for southbound bus lanes on Douglas to complete Phase 2 of the project. Starting in January, 2016, BC Transit through the City of Victoria led Burnside Local Area Planning Process, will consult with local residents and businesses to invite public feedback on the options and concepts being considered. Public feedback and information will also be available on this website as it becomes available. This public feedback will help refine the bus lane options being considered.

City of Victoria Open Houses in January:

1: Tuesday, January 26 (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) at Gabriel Ross, 2500 Rock Bay Avenue

2: Thursday, January 28 (3 p.m. – 7 p.m.) at Sandman Hotel, 2852 Douglas Street

3: Saturday, January 30 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) @ Burnside Gorge Community Centre, 471 Cecelia Road

Note: More information about the project will be added to this page as it becomes available.

September 3, 2015

Phase 2 of the Douglas Street Priority Transit and Cycling Lanes is now completed. The northbound priority lane (between Hillside Avenue and Tolmie Avenue) has been completed and is exclusively designated for transit and bicycles on Monday through Friday from 3p.m. to 6 p.m.

January 13, 2015

Construction is now underway on Phase 2 of Douglas Street Priority Transit and Cycling Lanes, and  is expected to be complete in the spring of this year. Phase 2 will further alleviate congestion on Douglas Street, following the introduction of Phase 1 Transit and Cycling Lanes in the spring of 2014.
A northbound transit and cycling priority lane will be constructed from Hillside Avenue to Tolmie Avenue. The northbound lane will be exclusively designated for transit and bicycles Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. A new traffic light at the Tolmie Avenue intersection is included in Phase 2. The new traffic light will offer safer travel for both vehicles and pedestrians in the popular Mayfair Shopping Centre area. To further improve safety, bus stops at Douglas and Garbally and Douglas and Kings will be closed, and a new bus stop and crosswalk will be added at Douglas and Gorge southbound.
The Victoria Regional Transit Commission and BC Transit are funding the $1.5 million that is required to complete Phase 1 and Phase 2.

June 2, 2014

Phase 1 of Douglas Street Priority Transit and Cycling Lanes will officially open on Monday June 9, 2014.

Be prepared for how these changes may affect your commute in and out of Victoria's downtown core. Plan ahead by reading our Transit Priority Corridors FAQs .

Victoria Downtown Priority Corridors Map

February 24, 2014

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, BC Transit President & CEO Manuel Achadinha and Victoria Regional Transit Commission Chair Susan Brice officially break ground.

Today's media event officially kicked off construction of Phase 1 of bus lanes on Douglas Street.

This first phase focuses on the creation of shared bus and bike lanes from Fisgard Street to Hillside Avenue. The new lanes are seen as an important step in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public transit in the region and into the downtown core.

The priority lanes will operate weekdays (Monday through Friday) during peak travel times from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The creation of priority transit and cycling lanes is designed to shorten travel times for transit customers, increase the reliability of public transit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting idling and lowering the number of vehicles on the road.

January 2014

Following additional refinement of the design options on the segments between Fisgard and Hillside, BC Transit and the City of Victoria have now engaged a consulting firm to commence detail design of the work. Led by the City of Victoria, it is anticipated that City crews will commence work in mid-February and be complete this spring.

Design work for Phase 2, from Hillside to Tolmie will follow the Phase 1 work. Construction is tentatively scheduled to commence later this year with completion in 2015 and will tie into planning works from Tolmie to Uptown currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

September 2013

At the September 10th Victoria Regional Transit Commission meeting, the Commission approved investing $1.5 million dollars in bus/bike only lanes on Douglas Street. The lanes will operate in peak periods 6-9 am/3-6 pm. Phase 1, involves the construction from Fisgard to Hillside and the City anticipates that they would commence the work in November, pause during Christmas and be complete by January 2014. Phase two will include the creation of a new northbound lane from Hillside and Tolmie with a construction start-date to be confirmed.

Option C, as originally presented in the  Victoria Transit Priority Corridor Plan has been updated based on feedback received from customers, local businesses and stakeholders. The changes to Option C include:

South of Hillside:

  • Northbound and Southbound lanes start and end at Fisgard rather than Humbolt (i.e, no change within downtown core)
  • Between Hillside and Fisgard, maintain existing general purpose through the removal of parking during peak periods only (approximately 80 stalls) and convert existing bike lanes to shared marked wide curb lanes in both directions for bikes and buses
  • New pedestrian crossing at Pembroke

North of Hillside:

  • Same configuration as original option

July 2013

At the June 26, 2013 Victoria Regional Transit Commission meeting, the Commission received the Victoria Transit Priority Corridor Plan . They agreed to support and fund either Option A or Option C of the bus-only lanes pilot project proposals on Douglas Street. The final decision was deferred to the Victoria City Council, which is the road authority for the majority of Douglas Street affected by the plan. Additional design work is underway in consultation with the the public and local government.

June 2013

Thank you to all that participated in the online survey and Transit Future bus events in June.
View the Victoria Transit Priority Corridors Survey Summary .

May 2013

Over the last few months, BC Transit has worked with municipal staff to develop a number of transit priority options for the Douglas, McKenzie and Island Highway corridors.

Each corridor was analysed to identify options that would provide value to support transit customers and services, and could be implemented in a timely and cost effective manner. The following options have been identified for further discussion.

  • Douglas - dedicated bus lanes during peak travel times
  • McKenzie - queue jumper lanes at two key intersections
  • Island Highway - queue jumper lanes at two key intersections

Lanes dedicated to buses and more queue jumper lanes could help reduce travel times and increase ridership. A queue jump provides preference to buses at intersections, giving buses a "head-start" over other vehicles. There is currently a queue jump lane at McKenzie and the Trans Canada Highway.

These corridors were identified in the Victoria Regional Transit Future Plan and the Region's Travel Choices Strategy.

The options are being shared with the community, local government staff and councils, businesses and post-secondary students. The mobile Transit Future Bus will host Open Houses at several locations beginning June 5.