The decision to go forward with the design phase of the lake-to-lake cycling route in Penticton has not gone without feedback.
The city wants to gather more specific details from the residents in the Phase 3 and 4 sections and make them more involved with the design of the route.
“There were a number of concerns raised about running the route in the downtown and the potential impact to businesses along Martin St, and a number of solutions have been brought forward by the community,” said Penticton’s general manager of community services Anthony Haddad. “Staff have identified some potential options to help mitigate issues that have been identified during the process that we are ready to discuss more formally with the affected businesses and residents.”
One of the concerns heard by the city and council was the location of Phase 4 along Martin Street, particularly on how the bike lane could necessitate the loss of parking spaces and the patio space that businesses paid into as part of the revitalization project in 2013.
A potential solution for this, included in the agenda for the Dec. 8 council meeting, could be to potentially remove one vehicle lane in the 200 block.
In the council’s regular meeting on Dec. 8, city staff will be presenting a report on the project and the plan for better including consultation from the residents.
The consultation plan for the route will be focused on the residents and businesses along Fairview Road, and Martin Street.
The Martin Street route was selected in part based on having a potential loss of 90 parking spaces compared to 210 if the route went along Winnipeg Street. Based on the presentation on the route that went to council on Nov. 17, parking along one side of the street would be removed to make way for the cycling route.
That loss of parking would also cause a loss of the beautification work done as part of the 2013 revitalization project. Property owners along the 200 block of Martin Street contributed to the costs of the beautification work, with most of the payments set up to be done over a 20-year period.
According to the staff report, if the city went through with removing the parking along one side of the street, it would leave between $40,000 to $84,000 in payments that the city would no longer look at receiving.
The city has begun one-on-one conversations in-person and virtually with landowners and businesses. City staff will also be looking to set up a virtual working session with representatives of Sections 3 and 4 as design solutions come forward.
Once the detailed design is complete, staff will return to Council for direction before construction proceeds.
“Early next year, we will also learn about the outcome of our grant request and will be able to provide Council with more information on funding options before a decision is made on how to proceed,” said Haddad.
The grant, part of the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program, would provide up to $1 million in funds for the project. If the grant is successful and with the completion of the detailed design on the northern sections, construction could begin as early as spring 2021.
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