VICTORIA -- Victoria councillors have approved designs for the next phase of the city's bike lane infrastructure plan, laying the groundwork for four new bike lanes connecting the downtown core with surrounding neighbourhoods.

The new lanes approved at the city's committee of the whole meeting Thursday include a 2.9-kilometre Kings Road-Haultain Street connector, a 1.2-kilometre Kimta Road-E&N connector, a 1.1-kilometre lane along Government Street from Pandora Avenue to Gorge Road, and 2.8 kilometres of lanes on Richardson Street from Vancouver Street to Foul Bay Road.

The total cost of the four projects is estimated at more than $6.5 million, according city planning documents. If given final approval at next week's regular council meeting, the new cycling infrastructure will be included in the city's 2021 financial planning process in the fall.

"As Victoria grapples with climate change and road safety challenges, the implementation of the AAA cycling network becomes increasingly important as a part of our local response to global issues," city staff wrote in their recommendation to council to adopt the updated cycling plan.

"Expanded active transportation networks have also emerged as an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19, supporting physical distancing requirements while encouraging regular physical activity."

Coun. Geoff Young says that while he supports the construction of the new bike lanes, the economic effects of COVID-19 will leave the city heavily reliant on federal and provincial funding to get the project built.

"We don't know exactly what our budget situation will be. We do know that we've really been suffering directly as a city – loss of parking revenue is one of the big ones," Young told CTV News on Friday.

"Our citizens and our businesses community in particular have been suffering very significantly," he added. "We may decide that other things are simply more important than continuing forward on the bike paths."

City council is expected to give final approval to the designs at the next regular council meeting on July 9.