BC Transit has started construction on upgrades to the University of Victoria (UVic) Transit Exchange near the campus bookstore. The project was announced last year in partnership with the federal government, the province and UVic. Construction is scheduled to be completed before the Fall 2022 semester begins.
The upgrade project will rehabilitate the north side of the existing UVic Exchange and bus stops along Ring Road, including refurbishment and enhancement of nine bus bays, six bus shelters and two layover bays. As part of the project, the surrounding pedestrian environment, including signage and wayfinding, will be improved along with the addition of new bicycle storage shelters.
“As a former UVic student, I know first-hand the importance of having a network of efficient transit routes to and from the university,” said Rob Fleming, Minster of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This new exchange will improve service and accessibility and ensure students have affordable, convenient, low-carbon transportation options as they pursue their studies to contribute to a better B.C. and a better world.”
UVic is the second-largest transit destination in Greater Victoria, with many core transit routes terminating there. Over 17,000 transit trips are made to and from the university each day, more than 25 per cent of all trips. Future transit use at UVic could be considerably higher, depending on how much and how quickly the university population grows. BC Transit recognizes the potential for ridership growth, and plans to serve UVic with a combination of rapid transit and frequent bus services.
“UVic is pleased to be partnering with BC Transit to upgrade the north side of our bus exchange to improve safety and access for the many students, staff and faculty who commute by bus to campus,” said Mike Wilson, director of the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability. “These upgrades support UVic’s goals around sustainability and active transportation infrastructure, and we are looking forward to having the refreshed exchange open for next September.”
Additional highlights of the project include the following key upgrades to the transit exchange area:
- Replacement of the existing bus shelters that are at end of life with current BC Transit designs
- Upgraded lighting, signage and landscaping, including paved walkways on pedestrian desire lines
- Replacement and repair of concrete bus pads and asphalt
- Improve pedestrian movement and circulation near the UVic bookstore stairs
- Realign crosswalk locations to improve sight lines for bus operators and pedestrians and reduce crossing times
University of Victoria students, faculty, and staff, as well as residents of the area, will benefit from better access to public transit, higher quality pathways, and increased access to active transportation infrastructure in the Oak Bay and Saanich areas. During construction, the exchange will be closed and transit customers should look for temporary bus stop signage to help direct them to their temporary stop.
As part of the work to improve the pedestrian pathways and the alignment of the transit exchange island, nine trees are being removed. Three of these trees are bylaw protected trees, meaning BC Transit received a permit from the District of Saanich to remove them and will replace them at a 3:1 ratio. The other six trees are being replaced at a 1:1 ratio, making a total of number of 15 trees being planted. Six of these new trees will be replaced at the transit exchange and the others will be planted around the UVic campus. During construction, the exchange will be closed and transit customers should look for temporary bus stop signage to help direct them to their temporary stop.
“These transit exchange upgrades will enhance the customer experience for riders travelling to and from UVic, which is one of the busiest transit hubs in the Victoria region,” said Erinn Pinkerton, President and CEO, BC Transit. “Having convenient and easily accessible transit exchanges is important to foster communities and neighbourhoods where people can live, work and play without completely relying on vehicles.”
The Government of Canada is investing just under $1.8 million in this project and the Government of British Columbia is providing over $1.7 million. The University of Victoria and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission are contributing a combined total of over $1 million.
Featured image: A student loads his bike onto a bus at the UVic transit exchange. (UVic Photo Services)