E & N Rail Trail, Humpback Connector
Posted 29 August 2007 - 07:04 AM
Cycling, walking route will link to Galloping Goose; construction to begin next year
Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2007
A $12-million cycling and pedestrian trail next to the E&N Railway will be announced in Victoria today by federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn, the Times Colonist has learned.
The 17.5-kilometre trail will wind its way through five municipalities, extending from the blue Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria to Goldstream Park in Langford.
It will connect with the Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails, and meet up with the proposed south end of the Trans Canada Trail that will extend over the Malahat.
The new trail is expected to encourage more people to park their cars and cycle or walk to work from new trail access points in Esquimalt and View Royal.
The federal government will fork over a lump sum of $11.3 million for the project from the gas tax fund, money that has been earmarked for green infrastructure, reducing greenhouse gases and improving clean air and water.
The Capital Regional District is expected to kick in the remaining $700,000. Construction is expected to begin next year and the trail will open to coincide with the 2010 Olympics.
"We're listening to communities," Lunn said. "It sends the right message and it's something our government is very supportive of ... anything we can do to help people not use their cars as often as they do."
Transportation is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases and pollution in Canada, Lunn said.
Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton, a driving force behind the project, visited a similar trail along a busy railway in Portland, Ore., just weeks ago in order to examine how a recreational-commuter trail can operate closely, and safely, beside an active railway.
Some similar trails, like the Galloping Goose, replace ripped-up railways, but having the trail and railway running along parallel lines "is much more challenging," said Causton, who is chairman of the CRD parks committee.
Still, it can be done cheaply and easily and will provide better value than building more roads, he added.
"I want it done by 2010. I think it's a way for us to show fitness and healthy living in connection with the Olympics," Causton said.
View Royal Mayor Graham Hill equated the project's vision of connecting all communities with the last spike driven to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway in B.C. in 1885.
"This is absolutely huge," Hill said. "The challenges were huge and the betting was we would never get this off the ground."
A major hurdle was overcome in February 2006, when the Canadian Pacific Railway handed over ownership of the 234-kilometre railway between Victoria and Courtenay to the Island Corridor Foundation, a partnership of First Nations and municipal governments along the E&N line.
"Now it will be significantly used as a community asset contributing to the wellness, health and joy of living in this part of the world," Hill said.
Denise Blackwell, Capital Regional District chairwoman, called the news incredible. "It adds to the livability and the environmental sustainability of the region," she said.
Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard was president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities when it convinced the federal Liberal government that cashed-strapped municipal governments deserved more gas-tax revenues. The Conservative government then retained the gas tax fund program.
"We think we do a better job of choosing our priorities and delivering value for the taxpayer," Leonard said.
"I think, regionally, the community sees this as a real high priority and we're going to get it delivered quick."
Unlike some federal government funding announcements that are phased in over a number of years, Leonard said people in the region will be using the trail very soon.
"They won't have to wait for a whole bunch of announcements and ribbon cuttings," Leonard said. "It's one handshake and away we go."
About eight groups, ranging from the Esquimalt First Nation to B.C. Transit, were involved in planning the trail.
Posted 29 August 2007 - 09:46 AM
Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com
It has a whole new look!
Posted 08 September 2007 - 08:40 PM
I still have a concern that this will now mean there is little chance of the E&N ever being double tracked which is a necessity for proper commuter service. I mean honestly what is going to bring more people downtown without cars? A proper commuter train or a bike trail?
This would probably mean putting sidings at strategic points along the line, especially between stations and at the stations. Also an extremely reliable signalling system, similar to what they have in many European countries to control multiple train movements.
I still wouldnt rule out the possibility of double tracking the E&N in the long term.
Posted 09 September 2007 - 05:25 AM
Posted 08 September 2008 - 06:00 PM
Federal Funding for E&N Rail Trail Connects West Shore and Downtown Victoria
VICTORIA, Aug. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - A new trail for cyclists and pedestrians that links the growing West Shore with downtown Victoria will be built with $11.3 million in federal funding through the Gas Tax Fund. The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, announced the funding at a celebration today.
Joined by Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Community Services, UBCM 1st Vice President Susan Gimse and Capital Regional District (CRD) Chair Denise Blackwell, Minister Lunn praised the commitment shown by the CRD for creating new transportation options in the Capital region.
"This important investment creates environmentally sustainable infrastructure that will encourage residents to get out of their cars and onto their bicycles to enjoy these beautiful trails," said Minister Lunn. "This project supports the commitment by Canada's New Government to provide Canadians with cleaner air and an improved quality of life."
The trail will be built alongside the existing E&N rail line and will be 17 km in length, running from the Johnson St. Bridge to Humpback Road in Langford. It is estimated there could be 200,000 new cycling and walking trips in the first year. When fully operational, the trail will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
"With projects like the E&N Trail, people can get out of their cars and make healthier choices by walking or cycling around their communities," said Chong. "This partnership is another way we are creating compact, pedestrian-friendly communities, supporting our government's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia by 33 per cent by 2020."
The plan for E&N Rail Trail will include new connections to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and the Trans Canada Trail. It will also include several new overpasses that will eliminate at-grade rail crossings and will improve user safety and enjoyment.
Rail trail aims for early 2009 start
Edward Hill. Goldstream Gazette. Langford, B.C.: May 7, 2008. pg. 8
Steep terrain and difficult intersections are causing headaches for E"N rail-trail engineers, but the $11-million project expects to break ground early in 2009.
The 17-kilometre Capital Region Parks trail would mirror the E"N railway from the blue bridge in Victoria to just outside Goldstream park. Planners are aiming for a 2010 grand opening.
The trail would bisect four municipalities and is expected to be as successful as the Galloping Goose, which sees about 670,000 bike commuters per year. It won't be easy --[226 128 175 ]the trail has narrow corridors in Esquimalt and View Royal, areas with steep right-of-way grades and at least one devilishly complicated five-way intersection at Phipps and Peatt roads in Langford.
CRD Parks completed four days of public consultations last week and expects to have the detailed engineering plans in place by September. The trail needs four bridges, which park planner Don Watmough said would likely be tendered and installed before the year is out.
Watmough said they have been met with some "nimby-ism" at the public meetings, but by and large residents supports a new regional trail.
"Some residents come to us excited about the trail but not excited about where it is," he said. "Some are under the perception crime goes up (near a trail). The stats say crime goes down."
In parts of Esquimalt and View Royal the trail will be narrow at 3.5 metres wide with a barrier between it and the rail. The majority of the track is four metres wide and well separated from the railway.
"There are a lot of retaining walls needed in Esquimalt where the slope drops off," Watmough said. "Significant rock cuts in View Royal means blasting."
One of the biggest problems was along Atkins Road in Langford, which the engineers decided to skip altogether. For the time being at least, the trail route veers onto Wale and Goldstream roads, reconnecting to the E"N rail at Station Road.
The rail right-of-way on Atkins would simply need too much rebuilding, said John Luton, executive director of Capital Bike + Walk. He estimated building the trail along Atkins would eat $4 million out of the $12-million budget.
When the trail is finished, Watmough said people will have a fast, convenient route to bike or walk between the West Shore and CFB Esquimalt or downtown. A majority of people working for the Department of National Defence in Esquimalt live on the West Shore, making the trail a vital piece of the local transportation picture.
"It could potentially improve the Colwood crawl," he said. "If rail increases with the trail we will have significant greening of the air."
Expected usage on the trail remains speculative until it opens. Opening the Switch Bridge over the Trans-Canada connected the Galloping Goose in 1996 and proved the demand was there.
"With the Switch Bridge we saw 200,000 users in the first year. That was the latent demand," Watmough said. "Now we are seeing 670,000 per year."
Luton said the average driver in the CRD pumps out about 4.3 tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year.
"Every driver off the road saves that much," he said. "There are 40,000 bike trips per day in the CRD. That's a lot of people not in cars."
The CRD also has a page about it with a FAQ, since it's the main group that's working on it:
Posted 08 September 2008 - 07:17 PM
Posted 08 September 2008 - 07:27 PM
Posted 08 September 2008 - 07:29 PM
Posted 08 September 2008 - 07:56 PM
It seems a bit redundant in some regards - a bit over a over a mile (2 km for the post-imperial) in overlap with the Galloping Goose section through View Royal. Hopefully I won't be the only one to mention that it might be better to merge this project into the existing infrastructure.
Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:09 PM
Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:55 PM
According to my sources, the liberals are becoming more supportive of the E&N. Jody Twa is one of the those supporters.
That's coming up; the provincial government is the only holdout. I thought we all knew that.
Posted 10 December 2008 - 07:55 PM
Does anyone know when we can actually expect to see some construction on this project, like say starting from the Esquimalt Rd section west?
Posted 19 February 2009 - 07:32 AM
E&N rail-trail costs nearly double
By BILL CLEVERLEY, Times Colonist
February 18, 2009
Estimated costs to complete the E&N Rail Trail have almost doubled to $20.2 million from the anticipated $11.3 million.
The shortfall has the Capital Regional District searching for other funding sources.
"I think we were probably optimistic as to our costs on this," said CRD parks committee chairman Christopher Causton, who has championed the trail from the outset. "But I also don't think $20 million for a 17-kilometre trail is a huge amount of money, given the amount of usage it would get both from hikers and bikers. It's worth doing. I mean what does a kilometre of road cost?"
The trail would run along the E & N Rail Line, linking downtown Victoria to destinations like Thetis Lake and Goldstream Park through Esquimalt and View Royal. It's been identified as the CRD's highest-priority project, and has been earmarked to receive $11.3 million in gas-tax funding. It was hoped that money would be enough to cover the cost of the entire 17 kilometres, including five bridge overpasses.
But detailed engineering costs have now come in pegging the project at $20.2 million. Particularly daunting is a one-kilometre stretch in Langford in the Millstream-Atkins area estimated to cost $4 million alone because extensive retaining walls have to be built. "We underestimated [the cost of] retaining walls. We underestimated the difficulty of making that one kilometre," said Causton, mayor of Oak Bay.
The project also lost $2 million in funding from a private partner, said Causton, who argues the trail is a truly "green" project, since it could be used for commuting as well as recreation. "It goes past the [military] base, the number-one employer, after the government, in the area. It goes to Langford. It goes through View Royal."
The project has yet to receive provincial funding, and CRD staff hope it qualifies for programs such as Bike B.C. or Localmotion. Bike B.C. is a three-year program offering $31 million for projects throughout the province. Local motion offers up to $1 million a year for local governments.
In the first year, the trail is expected to attract 200,000 users. If they park their cars, that would prevent 729 tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions from polluting the atmosphere.
"I think it's the kind of project that the province looks for. It's not a huge amount of money but it has huge benefits," Causton said.
Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:31 PM
As much as I support more cycling facilities in the CRD, wouldn't that be better spent on the E&N? I mean $20million for a cycling trail? That's an incredible jump from the $11.3million that was initially estimated.
Anyway I do support the trail, but I would still like to see funding come for commuter rail as well.
Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:58 AM
We're spending tens of millions to make feel-good infrastructure for a small group of Victorians while the city is full of critical infrastructure deficiencies that can't get funding. "Cycling infrastructure" has become a new "green space" issue where everyone assumes it's always good and you can never have enough of it regardless of actual needs and anyone who questions it is a monster.
Now if this actually becomes a crowded highway of bikes commuting to and from work that gets more cars off the road per million spent than increased transit funding would have I'll change my opinion, but I've yet to see any anecdotal or statistical evidence that projects like these are the best bang for the buck.
Posted 19 November 2010 - 02:30 PM
The First Nations along Admirals Rd. will not allow the rail trail to go trough their lands. I guess it's their turn to displace us.
The First Nations only granted the land for use as a rail line and not for other uses. Other uses need their specific approval. Ultimately if the line is no longer used for rail, the Feds have an obligation to get the land back for the First Nation
Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:43 PM
Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:50 PM
That's an interesting tid-bit of info. Would using it for light-rail be considered a change of use?
No, the surrender would have been the purposes of a rail line
Posted 19 January 2011 - 10:57 AM
By BILL CLEVERLEY, Timescolonist.com
More than 20 years ago, the Galloping Goose was christened through a contest. Today, Capital Regional District parks staff hope they can create a buzz about the E&N Rail Trail by doing the same thing.
Since the 17.5-kilometre cycling and pedestrian trail being developed alongside the E&N Rail line was announced in 2007, its working name has been just that — the E&N Rail Trail. CRD parks staff are recommending $2,300 be set aside to hold a naming contest for the trail to give it a new moniker.
"I think it's a good idea. I think it will get people involved and it will start getting some notice about what we're doing," CRD parks committee chairman Christopher Causton said.
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