Submitted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association
An overflow of residents (+200) attended the January 2018 general meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) for a presentation by the Capital Region District (CRD) Wastewater Conveyance Project Team. The meeting was to update residents regarding the alignment plan for the forcemain pipe (with cycle path) along Dallas Road. The team recorded resident concerns and comments and will consider the information in the next design report to City Council. The CRD is responsible for construction of the wastewater treatment system and has assembled a team who are working towards a December 2020 completion deadline. The city provides direction to the CRD Team while remaining responsible for environmental protection, traffic, design aesthetics and amenities resulting from the construction of the forcemain pipe. Construction of the pipe line between Clover Point and Dock Street will affect James Bay residents for many months.
Clover Point Pump Station
Clover Point will continue to be a destination and public space reflective of the site, following addition of the expanded underground pump station. The newly designed space will include multiple walkways connecting to Dallas Road, three new plazas with bike racks and repair opportunities, and two gender neutral washrooms, recessed into the east facing hillside. Although there will be no loss of parking at Clover Point the upper parking area will be replaced by a plaza.
Dallas Road, Seawall and Bluffs
Test holes along the proposed route determined soil conditions for a preliminary slope stability analysis by Stantec, giving the Team confidence that the planned excavation within the Dallas Road corridor will not impact the bluffs. Additional test holes at the foot of Douglas and at Paddon, and analysis of soil samples, slope stability and seismic forecasts are planned to refine and adjust the final pipe alignment within the corridor.
Cycle Path Design
The proposed three meter wide cycle route, from Dock Street to Clover Point, is part of the plan to make Victoria a bike-friendly city; a concept for over a decade. The cycle path will be separated from the roadway and parked vehicles, as well as from the walkways. The segment from Dock Street to Lewis Street, against the seawall, is constrained between the sidewalk and angle parking on the roadway. Three new options, each retaining all desirable road/path widths, were presented at the meeting. Option 1 (total 107 parking spaces) converts angle parking to parallel parking on Dallas Road. Option 2 (total 115 parking stalls) retains angle parking and provides four curb extensions for pedestrians to cross Dallas Road. Option 3 (total 129 parking stalls) accommodates all road/path widths, with angle parking and fewer curb extensions for pedestrians. (Numbers are approximate as the Team was unprepared to explain how many parking spaces will be lost in the total project.)
East from Lewis Street, the cycle path will run parallel to the pedestrian path and off road. At Paddon, the road and path swerve north, retaining the grass buffer, trees and existing sidewalk on the south, while losing parking on the north side. At Douglas Street the cycle path shifts north onto Dallas Road while maintaining a separate sidewalk. East of Douglas the cycle path runs beside the road to Clover Point. The cycle path has been designed to minimize impact on parking and on trees.
The CRD has invited response from residents prior to January 31, 2018. The CRD Project Team plans to report to City Council in February or March 2018 with public space improvements, cycle path design and alignment, and exterior of the Clover point pump station building. That presentation will reflect input received at community meetings in James Bay and Fairfield.
Comments from residents were in four general areas: parking (resident and non-resident), pedestrian and cycle safety, design considerations, and environmental impact.
Parking is tight in most of James Bay. Residents rely on street parking. Concerns regarding parking included mobility access issues, access for deliveries, home care and other contractors, parking for locals, and angle parking for ocean-viewing by non-residents (a city-wide concern).
Design questions were fielded by Dave Clancy of the CRD Project Team. A land route for the forcemain was determined in 2012. Details are on the CRD website. Three concerns identified by the CRD regarding the potential seabed route were design standards for tsunami resistance, significant tidal forces, and high points along the ocean route that may have required blasting. Seizing the opportunity to address the Douglas/Dallas intersection when the forcemain is installed, would allow reintegration of the Mile Zero section into Beacon Hill Park.
Pedestrian and Cycle Safety – A number of residents commented on the danger of cycling on Dallas Road. The loss of a few parking spots is not comparable to the health and safety of pedestrians and cyclists. In James Bay the majority of travel (60%) is by foot or cycle. The interests of pedestrians must be primary in this project. A sidewalk width of 1.5 meters is insufficient. Although the standard width is 1.8, the wider 2 meters is considered optimal. Other suggestions include the concept of triple-A cycling (as many residents have mobility issues) and 2-way access and accommodation for mobility scooters on the standard sidewalk. The Douglas/Dallas corner does not enable people to safely walk across Douglas to get to the park. The bike lane should not be on south side of Dallas/Douglas intersection. Cross-walks should be equipped with pedestrian-activated lights. Residents requested that surface treatments of all paths accommodate comfortable travel by people with disabilities. Because of difficulties some mobility assistive devices have in maneuvering on heights or on sloped curbing, defining routes with an actual curb may be the best choice.
Environmental observations included concern for the preservation of Garry Oaks, the Camus meadows and the native grass areas. The roots of the mature trees at the south end of Government Street will be assessed to avoid damaging them unnecessarily. Work should dovetail with the city's long-term management plan for the cliffs.
Apologies were extended to Niagara Street residents who expected that answers to their questions regarding access to their properties during pipe assembly would be available at this meeting. A separate meeting of Niagara Street residents is planned for the future to discuss questions of access for resident and emergency vehicles. A Dock Street resident pointed out that residents between Dallas and Niagara would be affected by closures and should be notified and included in meetings.
The CRD is committed to mitigating impacts, including road use. The CRD Project Team has informed us that they will take direction from the City. CRD Community Consultation Feedback Forms and sketches are at wastewaterproject.ca. Concerned residents are encouraged to contact Mayor and Council. City of Victoria CRD representatives are Mayor Helps and Councillors Alto, Young and Isitt.
Other Business Applications are available for renters interested in participating in the City’s tenant initiative, a February 7 focus group.
Window Wanderland - a pedestrian powered and family friendly community event will take place February 24 and 25 in James Bay. More information is available: Terry Loeppky or http://www.windowwanderland.com/event/james-bay-victoria-canada/
Join us in February to review two CALUC proposals: the addition of 24 townhouses between the highrises at 415/435 Michigan Street and a 13 unit stacked townhouse complex at 430 Parry Street.