A BC Transit double decker bus arrives in downtown Victoria from the Capital Region's Westshore suburb of Sooke. BC Transit plans to extend Sooke's AM rush hour services to 5AM, while new double decker buses are on order to relieve capacity issues between downtown Victoria, Langford and Sooke. Citified.ca
Sooke transit improvements coming with 5AM weekday departures, more double deckers and second phase of public engagement
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Published July 17, 2019
Victoria’s Westshore community of Sooke will soon have an earlier AM transit departure via the #61 thanks to time savings realized through the Trans Canada Highway’s and Douglas Street’s transit lanes.
BC Transit has confirmed to Citified that an approximate 5AM service start will be added to Sooke’s route #61 rush hour schedule this fall, extending the existing 5:32AM start time to the top of the hour. The earlier departure is expected to arrive at the B.C. Legislature at approximately 6AM to 6:15AM (actual scheduled times will be confirmed with the release of the fall schedule).
The installation of northbound and southbound transit priority lanes have enabled transit buses to travel faster along congested portions of the Highway #1 corridor into downtown Victoria. The completion of the McKenzie Interchange, which is expected to open to traffic by year’s end, will further decrease travel times and infuse greater efficiencies for transit operations.
Last year's opening of the Westshore Parkway in Langford also enabled BC Transit to introduce a new express service to Sooke via the #65, which travels twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon via Langford's Westhills community and connects to Highway 14 via Westshore Parkway.
In an effort to ease capacity demands on major routes to the Westshore, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission has recently authorized the purchase of an additional eight double decker buses that will be earmarked for the #50 Langford/Downtown Victoria and #61 routes, yielding more capacity for commuters. The new buses are expected to arrive by the fall of 2020.
Sooke is also in the midst of an area transit plan examining opportunities for transit improvements to the suburb and transit services within the community. Although a follow-up phase of public consultation was planned to occur this past spring, BC Transit’s planners have pushed open houses and feedback sessions to the fall due to commitments related to concurrent regional plans underway throughout the Capital Region.
Meanwhile surveyors continue plotting out the route of an $86 million highway expansion plan
announced earlier this year by the provincial and federal governments. An approximate one kilometre section of Sooke Road/Highway 14 will be widened to four lanes and in some sections realigned between Connie Road to the east and Glinz Lake Road to the west. The Ministry of Transportation has yet to release formal construction timelines and a finalized design.
The seaside community of Sooke is home to over 13,000 residents, with several thousand more residents in the unincorporated Otter Point and Shirley communities beyond Sooke's town centre. A surge in development activity, which includes waterfront condominiums overlooking Sooke's harbour
and seaside townhomes along the Sooke shoreline
, are responding to growing demand for attainable housing options in the community. The area's infrastructure and transit improvements are part of a strategy to accommodate more growth throughout the Capital's western-most suburb. C
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