Cycling out of James Bay

History

This is a historical summary.

James Bay

James Bay is at the south end of the City of Victoria, in the urban part of Greater Victoria between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Inner Harbour.

Routes

Many routes out of James Bay have vehicle traffic.  Douglas Street and Blanshard Streets are heavily travelled.  Douglas Street becomes a highway (the Trans-Canada) west to Colwood and Langford, over the Malahat and north up-island.  It has a paved shoulder and bike lane, but the traffic on the entrance and exit ramps is significant.  Blanshard Street runs up to Saanich and the BC Ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.  It is a highway, called Highway 17 or the Pat Bay Highway.  It has bike lanes, but significant traffic. Other streets go north: Quadra, Cook, Gorge Road, Cedar Hill, Richmond, Shelbourne.  They have drawbacks including traffic, lack of bike lanes, limited visibility, curb lanes occupied by parked cars, elevation changes. One option is to go downtown along Government, Douglas, Blanshard or Quadra as far as Fort Street and east and north on Fort Street whch has a bike lane (as of 2019)  The bike lane was redeveloped as a separated lane out past Cook Street as of 2017-18.  Fort Street crosses Oak Bay Avenue which runs east out to Beach. Fort becomes the Cadboro Bay Road.There is 5 k. loop around James Bay on Belleville along the Harbour on the north, the streets at the west end, Dallas on the south, and Douglas on the east. There is longer loop around Beacon Hill Park by Cook Street, and some loops in the park.  The is a new paved bike lane beside Dallas from Beacon Hill park to Ogden Point as of 2020 after Dallas Road was torn up 2018-20 for sewer reconstruction. These are usually safe in the evening but the traffic on Sundays is heavy between tourists, families with children, people walking dogs, and people taking elderly parents out.

 

In the first few years, many times , I went east on Dallas past Beacon Hill Park and the Ross Bay Cemetery and followed a nearly coastal route. Dallas continues until it runs into Hollywood Crescent and Crescent Drive, which also follow the coast.  These streets connect to to Beach Drive in Oak Bay.  The traffic along Dallas is steady.  There are intermittent micro-congestions behind tour buses and the ubiquitous horse drawn carriage rides.  There are sections where cars park at an angle facing the Strait. The drivers have little vision and can back into oncoming traffic. These conditions were mitigated by the new bike paths that opened in 2020.

In 2016 I began to take the Beacon Hill-Oak Bay-Uplands-UVic-San Juan option.

  1. going southeast along Niagara, through Beacon Hill Park exiting on Park Avenue;
  2. crossing Cook Street at May, turning north at Moss Street, crossing crossing Fairfield at the traffic light;
  3. turning right on Thurlow and follow Thurlow to Kipling and Brooke to St. Charles. Then another block along Chandler to Richmond, and a short block to Richardson. This avoid climbs of streets approaching the heights on Richardson at the south end of the Government House area. I used this as a route to Richmond at Richardson.
  4. From there, I often crossed Foul Bay Road and proceeded on Richardson (which becomes McNeill in Oak Bay) to Victoria, turned left and then turned right onto Windsor.
  5. I turned left (north) at Monterey, to cross Oak Bay Avenue with traffic lights. I go north on Monterey and St. Ann to Bowker, turn left and then right to continue northbound to the edge of Uplands of Oak Bay on Musgrave.
  6. I ride north and cross Lansdowne on Midland, continue on Upper Terrace until to ends at Cadboro Bay Road, opposite the end of Cedar Hill Cross Road.
  7. I cross Cadboro Bay Road and ride west on Cedar Hill Cross Road to University Drive and turn there and cross the Univesity of Victoria. Sometimes I pass the University and turn north on Gordon Head.
  8. I emerge at Gordon Head and McKenzie, at the NW corner of the campus, and on go up Gordon Head to Feltham. A left turn and an immediate right onto Longview brings me to San Juan, which runs west as road and trail as far west as Cedar Hill Road.

My main cycling-friendly route out of James Bay was north along Menzies or Government to the Legislature, and along Government and Wharf along the Inner Harbour to the east end of the Johnson Street Bridge. There is a cycling lane, as of 2019, along Government from Belleville to Humbolt and along Wharf to Johnson Steet.

The Victoria Canoe & Kayak Club is on Gorge Road just past Tillicum. My best route from James Bay to the club was over the Johnson Street Bridge, along the Galloping Goose to the park at the West Victoria Y, near the Selkirk Trestle. At that point it’s off the trail through the park to Craigflower and then on Selkirk, a side street t parallel to Craigflower, all the way to Tillicum. At that point a right turn onto Tillicum, across the bridge, a left turn onto Gorge Road and that’s it. It was 6.8 k one way, mainly off the main roads.


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