Cycling P.E.I. president calls for more bike paths in city

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown staff and council members left their cars in their driveways for the city's Bike to Work Day June 15.

The president of Cycling P.E.I. is calling on the City of Charlottetown to add more bike lanes.

David Sims was one of 50 people who took part in Charlottetown’s first annual Bike to Work Day today.

Charlottetown staff and council members left their cars in their driveways and pedalled to work in an effort to show leadership and encourage residents to consider active transportation.

“We need more lanes in the short term with an idea to turning lanes into paths,’’ Sims said after the group finished a ride around Victoria Park. “If moms and dads are going to feel good sending their children to school riding a bicycle a bike lane along Queen Street just isn’t going to cut it.’’

One of the councillors taking part in Wednesday’s official bicycle event was Rob Lantz, who chairs the city’s integrated community sustainability committee.

The only complaint he had was with the weather.

“It was a bit chilly, but refreshing,’’ Lantz said. “It’s crucial, to maintain the health of our citizens and our environment, that we all get out of ours cars now and again.’’

Sims said a big part of getting people to do just that is making it easier for them.

“We have to talk about rearranging how we use our roads to the point where we have bicycle paths and I define that as cyclists and walkers (being) separated from the motor vehicles.’’

The city is moving in that directon. Dedicated bike paths exist out by the Charlottetown Airport and on Riverside Drive.

Sims wants to see an east-west connection from Joe Ghiz Park all the way over to Victoria Park. A logical choice, he said, would be Fitzroy Street.

Laura MacPherson, the city’s sustainability co-ordinator, is currently working on a long-term vision and was encouraged by the interest shown in Wednesday’s Bike to Work Day event.

“From the reaction to our events, the appetite is there,’’ MacPherson said. “Riding our bikes today is a symbolic gesture. We want to show that we’re committed to changing the way we think about our urban spaces.’’

Public works manager Sue Hendricken said the city continues to work on making conditions safer.

“We’ve improved our trails, identified in our parks master plan all of the city’s active streets that we want to promote as cycling routes, placed stencils on routes and put up share-the-road signage,’’ Handpicked said.

The city is also working with Stratford, Cornwall and the provincial government on a regional active transportation plan and entered a partnership to add new bike racks throughout the downtown core, designed by Shane Ross, one of the city’s firefighters.

Sims said in addition to the obvious environmental benefits, cycling will help reduce diabetes and childhood obesity.

“I think it behoves us to celebrate the changes that Charlottetown City Hall is in the midst of making,’’ Sims said.

Organizations: Charlottetown Airport

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Victoria Park, Queen Street Joe Ghiz Park

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Recent comments

  • Dave Mumbai
    June 15, 2011 - 22:55

    I would be very much surprised if Jill is not a man using a phony name.

  • Walace Cameron
    June 15, 2011 - 22:53

    Jill, look at your comments. I would not call people crazy if I were you. I have read your comments many times before and you come across as a frustrated old troll who lacks something in her life. You should stop trying to bait people all time on the web and try getting a life.

  • Keep on pedalling
    June 15, 2011 - 19:59

    For a small city, there's lots Charlottetown can do to make cycling attractive for everyone. Yes, there are always differences between some drivers and some riders but they won't be resolved by arguments over paying for pavement with gas taxes. Highway and street costs come from general revenues mostly so everyone has an interest in what's done (and not done). It would be useful to do some very basic things such as: 1) make it easy to buy bike safety kits including reflective strips front and back on bikes, a bell or horn, a rear view mirror etc. 2) start bike training at schools at a young age. This would go a long way to promote safer cycling and answer those who find cyclists not law abiding.

  • Tobias Gregson
    June 15, 2011 - 19:35

    jill, what does unemployment have to do with bike lanes? In fact if more bike lanes are built that would mean more workers needed to build them. It is obvious you are not a cyclist and I suspect you do no physical exercise at all so when your heart explodes from lack of movement why should my tax dollars pay to try to keep you alive? At least the cyclists are thinking ahead and if more people biked there would be less drain on the medical system. People would be in better condition. Hey, Give and Take, yes you pay to register your car just as I do (I am also a cyclist), but if more people biked there would be less wear and tear on the roads and you and your precious car would still have nice highways. Maybe if you clowns who hate to share the road and just can't stand to see cyclists on the streets were to try biking instead of posting really stupid comments (Jill and Give and Take) you might just like it. Although it does take some hand and eye and feet co-ordination to balance a bike so you may not be able to do it.

  • pingu
    June 15, 2011 - 17:30

    Get with the times Jill MacDonald. Why should I pay for your self-interest group (cars) ? Especially in Charlottetown where obesity and depression is rampant. And improving cycling only improves your ability to get around the city. PLus it is a lot cheaper to own and maintain a bike compared to a car.

  • Give an Take
    June 15, 2011 - 16:54

    I pay to register my car every year. That registration fee goes to help pay for the roads I drive on. Cyclists want equal treatment? How about a $10/bicycle registration fee, which comes with a little license plate, enforceable by the police, along with the helmet law, to help pay for bike lanes. I don't think it's unreasonable.

  • Jill Macdonald
    June 15, 2011 - 15:54

    Sims is crazy if he thinks that Charlottetown will bend to the whims of this self-interest group and give up streets, parking and the ability to get around the city. There is too much unemployment now and having this dumb idea even considered is absolutely astounding.

    • DL
      June 15, 2011 - 18:16

      Jill....what are you talking about? Practically every major city in the world is moving forward on cycling lanes. As for ability to get around the city, and unemployment....what is the connection? Does every street in the downtown have to be two lanes for cars? Unemployment???? Wow.....your arguments are so flawed I do not know where to begin.....

    • yup
      June 15, 2011 - 22:26

      Jill is a typical Islander who has never travelled beyond Borden. If she did, maybe she'd see that Montreal is building a world-class reputation as a cycling city, ditto for many cities in the U.S., Europe and Australia. The day of the car is coming to an end. China and India and Brazil's growth is ensuring this. Cities are investing in transit and active transportation infrastructure. People will be healthier, the environment will benefit, and we won't be wasting so much money on cars and gas.

  • grampie
    June 15, 2011 - 15:40

    I assume that Cycling PEI will be paying for this?