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‘Intrusive nature’: Penticton to take second look at downtown bike lane design

City will look into changing the Martin Street lane with some saying it should be moved entirely

Penticton’s completed downtown bike lane could soon get a makeover.

City council directed staff on Tuesday, Aug. 1, to take a second look at the design of the project on Martin Street, following a notice of motion introduced by councillors Campbell Watt, Ryan Graham and Amelia Boultbee.

The motion, which passed unanimously, was brought forward with hopes of modifying the lake-to-lake route “to better reflect the character of the downtown.”

Watt said he’s still a “firm supporter” of the bike lane but also added that it would be naive to not acknowledge some of the feedback received from the public since the project opened in 2021.

“That feedback has been along the lines of the intrusive nature potentially of the bike lane,” the three-term councillor said. “I don’t believe it fits the feel and vibe of our downtown.”

Although the motion itself passed without any opposition, concerns over spending more money on a bike lane that’s already been built were well documented during council’s Aug. 1 meeting.

“I don’t feel good that we’re adding more money to this project than we’ve already spent,” said Coun. Helena Konanz.

Konanz even went as far as suggesting the downtown section of the project get moved entirely to another street.

“It’s just obvious that the section on Martin Street is just too narrow for a bike lane of that size,” she said.

“I think staff is going to have a tough time making it work (on Martin Street).”

Still, Graham and Boultbee — a pair of rookie councillors who have previously shared concerns of their own over the bike lane — said it’s time to look for “practical” solutions in making the controversial project more effective for all.

The notice of motion does not make any specific recommendations for how to change the bike lane’s design.

Watt told the Western News in July that he wants to let staff do a full review of the potential modifications that can be made, but also wants the project to still “maintain the integrity” of the all-ages lake-to-lake route.

“We don’t have anything in mind, we’re looking at the experts to come back to us,” he said.

The final section of the project will be built on South Main Street, starting near the most north side of the road through to Skaha Lake Park.

That section, like the completed one on Atkinson Street, will feature concrete barriers on both sides of the road.

Martin Street’s bike lane has just one barrier.

City officials collected public feedback regarding the pending South Main Street section during a Q&A session via Zoom on Thursday, July 20.

There was also an in-person open house at the Penticton Seniors’ Centre five days later.

Once the South Main section is built, the 6.7-kilometre Lake-to-Lake route will be complete but the city has outlined future bike lanes in the transportation plan.

READ MORE: Impromptu meeting against Penticton bike lane fills over capacity

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