The City of Penticton is looking to establish an all ages and abilities cycling route that would span from Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake.
“The route will function as the spine of the overall cycling network that joins other cycling routes. It will also be a connection to local destinations, commercial centres, schools, parks, existing trails and community facilities,” said Ian Chapman, the city’s engineer, during the committee of the whole on June 18.
Chapman outlined the need for this route, noting that in 2012 it was concluded to be necessary at the completion of the cycling panel based on community feedback. He said bike lanes have been installed on various city streets from 2006 to 2013, but since then until this year, aside from “small initiatives associated with traffic calming, there’s been nothing really happening” in terms of adding bike infrastructure to the city. He added that “Penticton is now lagging behind other communities.”
“In 2019 the city renewed its commitment to the cycling network through the Official Community Plan process, in which cycling is a prime form of transport in the community. Council has committed to developing this lake-to-lake route as part of the budget process,” said Chapman.
In terms of how the city plans to establish a lake-to-lake cycling route, Chapman explained the city has completed its preparation of scope and issued and awarded a request for proposal to a consultant called CTQ and their partner Drdul Community Transportation Planning. Chapman said this consultant “actually developed one of the very early cycling network plans for Penticton and is known as a very dedicated and cyclist-enthusiastic designer of transportation facilities in other communities.”
“The technical route analysis of options of identification is already underway and will be completed in early July,” said Chapman. “In early July and into August there will be community engagement, which we will be consulting all of the options and the results of the analysis of all of the options. We’ll provide an update to council in the middle of August, and then in late August there will be a follow-up community engagement which will share outcomes and recommendations. The final outcome will be September.”
Chapman said the addition of this route may require the removal or reduction of existing infrastructure, but hopes through “a creative design approach we will be able to mitigate the negative impacts of it.” Options identified for the route to make it all ages and accessibilities include multi-use pathways shared by cyclists and pedestrians, protected bike lanes, crossing treatments at intersections and bicycle boulevards.
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