Victoria Integrated Transit Authority
This is a fantasy/proposed transit network for Victoria, BC, Canada. I’ve been working on this off-and-on since the summer of 2011. It’s been a long process because I’ve tried to make this work not only as a nice looking graphic, but also as a maybe, somewhat, kinda plausible and functioning transit network. No destroying entire neighbourhoods and no monorails. However, with that in mind, I should mention I have absolutely no background in urban or transit planning. I have a few transit books and I follow @humantransit. So if you do this for a living and I’ve just made your head hurt, sorry.
This proposed system consists of 5 light rail lines, a single commuter rail line, and modifications to the existing Victoria bus network. For the most part I’ve tried to utilize existing right-of-ways and minimize the construction of new structures. All the light rail lines would be at grade, and mostly mixed with traffic. Some lines/sections would be closer to a streetcar/tram than light rail, but the definitions of these types of system are getting a little blurry.
Light rail services would run all day long, 10 miuntes or sooner during daylight hours. Commuter rail would run mostly during peak hours, with maybe a train or two during midday.
The light rail lines would be built in chronological order by letter (i.e build Line A first, Line B second etc). The Line N commuter rail is already in place for the most part, but it would need an upgrade of existing facilities and construction would need to be coordinated where it overlaps light rail services.
This line is very close to the existing Victoria Regional Rapid Transit proposal. I have made some changes though. South of Hillside, I choose an alignment of Government Street. Government Street between Yates and Wharf is almost already a pedestrian mall and I think it would be less obtrusive to put rapid transit down this corridor.
The existing proposal seems to favor the Galloping Goose trail, parallel to the Trans Canada Highway. To me this seems like the best corridor, but I’d be really curious to if they retain the trail or not. I’d love to see the trail kept because if there’s anything I like more than transit, it’s cycling.
The downtown terminus station would involve repurposing the Crystal Gardens. I have no idea if the engineering would work, but it’s such a great building and it seems sadly underutilized.
The Bay Street station would be north of Bay, and a bus loop would be built in one of those car lots between Government and Douglas. It’d be a major transfer point for bus routes and future LRT routes.
Lastly, I think the Wilfert station is probably going to be the least utilized in the entire network (I think it only exists for the casino).
This would be the second line built. It basically replaces the 4, which apparently is one of the busiest routes in the city. I looked at a bunch of different routes from downtown to UVic. To me, this one was the most plausible. It served multiple regional centres (Quadra Village, Hillside Centre, Camosun College and UVic), Hillside had the widest right-of-way (ROW), and the grades seemed the shallowest. I think it would be possible to run this line on its own ROW along most of Hillside, but it would probably need to run with mixed traffic along Foul Bay Rd.
Instead of running around Ring Road, I would like to see this line run through the middle of UVic similar to how trams in Europe run through public squares.
Also I expect there would be a lot of NIMBYism in Oak Bay about this line.
A crosstown line that replaces the western part of the 6 route. It also historically mirrors some of the old Victoria streetcar network from the earlier part of the 20th century.
The downtown section would run along Yates Street because, again, I think it has the widest ROW. Convert Yates to two-way traffic, and do the same to Fort. It’s probably too late now, but it’d be great if the rebuilt Johnson Street bridge had space for tracks. Otherwise, it’s going to need its own bridge (or tunnel) over (or under) the inner harbour.
There are two eastern spurs, mostly because I couldn’t decide if the Royal Jubliee hospital or Oak Bay Village was more likely to generate more passengers.
This one is probably the least plausible line. It’d certainly be hard to build in sections.
The eastern end runs along McKenzie, alleviating bus services running crosstown to UVic. McKenzie has a nice wide ROW for most of its length, but it’s also a very, very busy street. Taking vehicle lanes away would probably be problematic. And then getting from Quadra to Uptown is also problematic. The most direct route would be along the Lochside trail, but I really don’t want to destroy this trail either. It would take some effort to keep both the LRT and trail.
I’m not sure if there’d be enough passengers to justify running two lines to the West Shore.
Lastly, the extension to Royal Bay is would be entirely dependant on whether or not Royal Bay actually gets developed. But this would run parallel to the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.
This line is the least necessary line, but also would be easy to build if you wanted to build something down the median of the Pat Bay Highway. It’d alleviate some of the passenger load on the 6 bus route at the north end, plus provide connections to buses to the Saanich Peninsula.
Ideally I’d like to see a rail line up the Peninsula, but finding the right route that connected all the population centres was difficult to pinpoint. The old V&S line doesn’t serve Brentwood Bay and the old Interurban line doesn’t serve Keating X Road.
Utilizing the old E&N rail corridor, this would be a Train-Tram line. Vehicles would be able to use the street-level tracks in the city, but would operate more like a commuter train otherwise. The Bastion Square terminus station would be in place of the current Yates Street parkade (unless its cheaper to tear down/repurpose something else nearby).
Frequent Transit Network
The goal for the frequent transit network would be a series of bus lines that would run 15 minutes or sooner, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Many of these routes are currently close to, or already run at, 15 minutes or sooner (though not seven days a week). A few new routes have been created because the rail network has severed some connections. The 5 is the southern portion of the 30/31, the 20 is the western end of the 14, and the 23 is the rest of the 11.
Had Victoria not abandoned its streetcar network in the 1940s, some version of this map could have existed today. Trying to build a network of like this nowadays would take a tremendous amount of investment, both in terms of money and time. The chance of seeing anything like this in the real world is slim. But not impossible.
It’s just a fantasy right now, but hopefully one day Victoria can have a world class rapid transit network (and a nice looking map to go along with it).
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