Opportunities for the public to weigh-in on the city’s bike network could be on the chopping block.

Cutting public engagement time is just one of several recommendations being proposed in an effort to help the city meet its goal of having Victoria’s cycling network completed by the end of 2022. 

Since being approved by council in 2016, protected bike lanes have already opened on Pandora Street and Fort Street.

The next two bike corridors on Wharf Street and Humboldt Street could be completed as early as 2019.

Sixteen more cycling corridors are scheduled to follow which, once complete, would make up a 32-kilometre long cycling network. 

Under the city’s current model the report states the entire bike network will likely not be completed until 2023 or 2024.

As a result, and at the request of city council, staff are recommending several changes to streamline the process including hiring new staff. 

The report recommends council approve hiring a team of temporary staff including two transportation technologists who would help with the design process. Each would be paid $90,000 per year.

It also recommends hiring a project communications staff member who would earn $110,000 per year, and an administrative staff member who would earn $60,000 per year.

The recommendation would add another $350,000 to the total cost of the project. 

As of right now, the entire cycling network is costing the City of Victoria more than $30-million.

Streamlining the public engagement process is also being recommended.

The report says the change would focus on early, more intense engagement sessions with key bike corridor stakeholders as well as combine engagement events for multiple bike corridors at once.

The goal would be to shorten the engagement process from 6-8 months to 3 months. 

During construction of the Fort Street bike lane, some business owners were critical of the public engagement process, arguing their concerns over the loss of parking and the design weren’t being heard. 

Speaking on CFAX 1070, Victoria’s Director of Engineering and Public Works, Fraser Work, says the goal is to conduct better engagement in less time.

“I think that there’s still some ways that you can actually buy some time without losing the essence of the quality of engagement,” Work said.

The report is scheduled to be presented to Victoria council on Thursday. 

The entire report can be read here.