Bike lanes were a hot topic at the June 25 transportation advisory committee meeting with Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors saying more co-ordination on planning and safety is needed between local governments.
“I sat in a meeting that was for West Howe Sound’s bicycle route along Marine Drive. I have no idea how well that will work with what Gibsons is doing,” commented Gibsons director Gerry Tretick.
“They’re spending a lot of money. It’s a very difficult solution to come up with and the dollars spent on bicycle routes is quite high relative to the [number of] users.”
The committee was presented with a report by Transportation Choices (TraC) which outlined various areas reported by cyclists that could be improved.
“Most of these issues go between all the jurisdictions on the Sunshine Coast,” explained TraC board member Jody Schick. “Yet the riders are most likely going to be passing between all these communities. Some continuity in some sense would be welcome and definitely some minimum standards about what we’re going to put money into would be excellent.”
The committee voted in favour of a recommendation that could see SCRD staff take on a co-ordinating role with regards to bike lane planning on the Coast.
By bringing together cyclists, TraC members and planning staff from the Sunshine Coast’s local governments, SCRD directors said they hoped bike lane standards and planning in the area could one day be co-ordinated regionally.
“I think this is an excellent and timely motion because we are all in the midst of planning future bike lane improvements,” said Sechelt director Alice Lutes.
But, she added, co-ordination has been difficult due to the opportunistic nature of some bike lane projects, ones that have been undertaken to take advantage of other construction initiatives.
“I think it will always be piece meal when you come to the bigger areas of municipalities for that very reason,” she explained. “There’s always something coming forward that you can tie that kind of improvement into.”
In addition to stressing the need for co-ordinated standards and route planning, TraC also made mention of several other topics in its report to committee.
One area TraC sought to shine a light on was safety, especially related to the maintenance of existing bike lanes.
“Use of the new and expensive shoulder/bike lanes is greatly reduced when they are covered in gravel, tree debris and parked cars,” the report stated.
TraC also stressed their concern about the westbound bike lane near Selma Park Road, where poor shoulder conditions and potholes have wreaked havoc on the safety of cyclists.
“Cyclists are forced to ride through the potholes or veer into the vehicle travel lane, both dangerous manoeuvres,” stated the report.