Commuter bike pilot program delayed

The planned commuter bike pilot program has seen some set backs this year and will be reviewed again by City council in August.

The pilot project has primarily seen large delays in the amount of construction along the proposed bike routes through the City.

Public Works Manager Frank Colosimo said it has been a challenge to hire engineers as they have been in such short supply.

“We are going to try for a smaller plan for this year and aim for the larger plan next year.”

The route, as seen on a map developed for the application for funding, is not complete and Colosimo said that will have to be re-evaluated as well.

As it stands right now the map that exists only displays the south portion of the City and neglects anything north of the river.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling explained that the map was done up in haste to get the application and funding process moving along before worrying about re-drawing it.

The routes have been carefully planned and are also going to be looked at again before the next presentation to council to make sure that best possible routes are set up.

Because of the amount of construction right now there is a bit of a push to configure the route to see if there is a cost effective method to get the bike lanes put into play when the new asphalt goes down on the roads.

“We are trying to make sure that what is going down on the road will accommodate the winter traffic as well as the start of our bike routes for next year,” said Colosimo.

Councillor Tara Veer said it would make sense that while there were upgrades being done to portions of the roads that maybe that is when council could look to make some upgrades for commuter cycling.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said she was disappointed not to have seen any progress this year and that even one of the strips would have been good improvement.

“This is a chance to give the space back to the public in recognition of the fact that streets are public places too.”

Flewwelling said that in some areas the plans for bike lanes may have to incorporate more than just lines painted on pavement. Bike lanes could see the possibility of curbed barriers or pylons.

More detailed plans regarding what will happen in 2011 and 2012 will be brought back to council Aug. 8.