Cyclists have lodged complaints about delivery trucks in a lane dedicated to bikes, and council decided to have warning ticket issues to violators while staff figures out a permanent solution.
“(Members of) council understand the importance of the industrial sector and the need for businesses to operation, and also for the cycling community to feel safe and utilize our bike routes,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said.
Designated lanes for cycling stretch throughout Government Street in Penticton, which have been collecting the lion’s share of complaints near the southeast corner of Industrial Avenue. Because some industrial businesses are located along the route, delivery and transport trucks have frequently been noticed to obstruct the bike lane, and particularly in the same area.
“It’s one chronic area where some of the bigger trucks come in an sort of impede the bike lane for a short period of time,” Mayor Jakubeit said.
While staff considers long-term solutions, council has directed traffic bylaw services to issue warning tickets out to vehicles parked in bikes lane.
Issuing the warning tickets is expected to help the city to assess the problem more than it will to correct it.
“It’s more of a tracking device for us internally – obviously if you get a warning with no consequence at the end it’s not much of a deterrent,” Mayor Jakubeit said.
Coun. Max Picton, who cast the lone vote against council’s decision to issue warning tickets, shared a similar sentiment.
“There has to be some sort of repercussions to it or its completely ineffective and I don’t understand why we’re doing it.”
But the option of penalizing violators more severely wasn’t popular. Coun. Helena Konanz doesn’t think heavier penalties are the answer.
“We could fine them, but one of our mandates is to improve the economy in this town.”
“If they have no other option I don’t know why we’d bother the bylaw dept with it – that’s just the way it is,” Coun. Andre Martin said. “If we have no place for them to park while they do their deliveries, then why would we send bylaw out there to give them a warning ticket if we’re never going to fine them, it makes no sense to me.”
The city has been in consultation with the Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) as they look for a permanent solution.
“Several solutions are currently being examined with the intent of ensuring the bike lanes remain free of obstruction, safe and convenient for cyclists to use,” said PACA member Louise Blais, who represents the club on the matter. “PACA and the City recognize that cyclists are vulnerable users and sensitive to detours and will therefore continue to work together to find a timely resolution to this problem. PACA does formally acknowledge that the City is working to protect the integrity of the bike lanes and we appreciate their efforts to resolve this issue quickly.”
During discussion at council, Coun. Martin and Sentes both asked why it’s not similarly an issue that delivery trucks impede traffic by parking on streets in the downtown.
Director of operations Mitch Moroziuk said the downtown streets don’t have lanes specific to cyclists, and only the designated lanes are mandated for cycling-use only.
“Cars aren’t allowed to be in bike lanes at all,” Morziuk said.
Mayor Jakubeit said city staff will come back to council likely within a month with new recommendations.