Walkers, cyclists want safety in capital area, consultants told

Dave Stewart
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International active transportation experts will submit report to three municipal councils and province

IBI Group project manager Norma Moores, right, discusses some draft recommendations for the Regional Active Transportation Plan with Stantec Consulting planner Kate Greene during an open house for the plan Thursday night at UPEI.

People in the greater Charlottetown area want to feel safer whether they're out walking or riding a bike.

That's what international active transportation experts are going to tell councils in Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall as well as the provincial government.

The IBI Group, based in Toronto and Hamilton, Ont., has been on a fact-finding mission since September, holding public information sessions with the goal of developing a regional active transportation plan for the greater Charlottetown area.

IBI Group held its final public meeting in Charlottetown Thursday night and will now compile its findings before submitting a final report to the three municipal councils and to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

From talking to people, IBI will split its findings into four categories.

First, people want a visible network.

"It's really about getting some pavement markings, some bicycle logos down on some of the paved shoulders and bike lanes that already exist in the city,'' said Norma Moores, the engineer with IBI that is co-ordinating the P.E.I. study.

"It's a little bit sporadic how they're marked. Plus (it's about) improving the signage so the people who see the beginning or end of a trail know where they are and how it connects.''

Things like signage that's easy to see and clear logos also notify motorists they may encounter pedestrian or bicycle traffic.

Another big request IBI found is people want safer conditions for pedestrians and cyclists on the Hillsborough Bridge and North River Causeway.

"One of the things we're looking at is whether or not there could be a trail that's behind the guardrail or down along the causeway access road that would then come up on the bridge so people would have more separation from traffic.''

As for the Hillsborough Bridge itself, the structure cannot handle any additional load, according to the province.

That means not adding on to the bridge but using what is there now.

Moores said potential ideas include widening the sidewalk or removing it altogether to create a wider paved shoulder.

"There is a bit of a pinch point there. We've heard from (Department of Transportation) that the foundation of the bridge is sitting on and underneath are really at capacity.''

IBI says people also want to see the Confederation Trail somehow connect to Victoria Park and the downtown, a lane perhaps between on-street parking and the sidewalk to provide a little more comfort for people who are used to more recreational riding.

"It's really all about providing some guidance to the communities . . . but it's important that the public realize there may not be an appetite for everything that's in the plan.''

 

Key Areas

- More visible network of pavement markings, bicycle logos and signage.

- Safer conditions on Hillsborough Bridge and North River Causeway.

- Connecting Confederation Trail with Victoria Park and the downtown.

 

Organizations: IBI Group, Department of Transportation

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Cornwall, Toronto Hamilton North River Victoria Park Hillsborough

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Recent comments

  • Michelle
    December 10, 2011 - 11:48

    WHATEVER Happened to the Safe Road Rule OF looking both ways for traffic holding your arm strait out in front of you when crossing the street AND also only crossing between the white lines at a Crosswalk? One of the dumber things I've heard is this, Just - Only, making Eye contact with the driver of a vehicle, Then cross the street. How in the heck can you be certain you've made "eye contact?" Whatever happened to: LOOK both ways BEFORE crossing or turning a bike across any and every road or street, then hold your arm out strait in front of you and then make sure the vehicle drivers acknowledge they have seen you. Only Eye Contact, IMO is foolish and dangerous for both you, the pedestrian or biker & the vehivle driver.

  • signs
    December 09, 2011 - 17:59

    slow moving traffic signs wouldn't hurt --bikes and some other items used on the roads are just slow in comparison to motorized vehicles --------roads are not safe for anyone bkes,cars,wheelchairs,trucks,motorcycles heavy equipment ,farm machinery,pedestrians etc.,etc, etc ------- roads will never be safe for users -they are a place where accidents occur daily -so sadly, people lose their lives on the road -being in a bigger vehicle is bad enough --- using a bike on these roads make you a very fragile part of traffic and by doing so it places your life on the line much more than is necessary----------------the bicycle rider better forget about any thoughts of wearing a "NO FEAR " hat --the reality of being a sitting duck comes to mind everytime i see a cyclist and i make sure the cyclist is given a wide berth

  • Brian McInnis
    December 09, 2011 - 16:49

    I am a former long distance runner and now a cyclist and this past cycling season was the worst for me almost being killed or at least injured by drivers who just don't seem to realize or care that that there are cyclists on the road. One instance happened when I was cycling on the bike lane in Victoria Park near the canteen and a woman pulled out right in front of me and cut me off. After I avoided T-boning her car, she just gave me a supercilious smile and drove off not realizing that she almost injured me not to mention wrecking my bike. I strongly doubt she would care even if she realized what she did. When I was a road runner on the streets I never had the kind of problems with cars that I am having now. Is it because there are a lot more cars and bikes on the road or that some motorists (and also some cyclists) just don't care abut each other? This year was so bad I had strong doubts if I should continue cycling. I decided I would, but I am a lot more wary on the streets. As strange as it seems I don't have a lot of trouble on the bridge or the roadway leading up to it. My main issue is when I am heading into town from Stratford and I want to cycle downtown. You take your life in your hands if you try to change lanes to turn onto Water Street Parkway or to go down Grafton Street East ( I cycle on the wide shoulder) so I end up going down Riverside Drive to the Irving station and turning there to head back into town. Inconvenient, but at least I am not killed trying to change lanes. You can put up all the "share the road" signs that you want, but it is not going to help. Many drivers take it as a personal insult to see a cyclist on the road. Yes, there are bad cyclists, but if they cause an accident they are the ones hurt or killed, not the motorist. Unfortunately, if a driver causes an accident the cyclist dies or is injured so no matter who is at fault, the cyclist is usually the loser. Drivers have to realize that.

    • STAFORDER
      December 09, 2011 - 18:44

      Agreed. That's mostly what I was referring to in my previous comment as the getting on/off problem. I often take the risk of crossing the turn lane to r'side and hit the lights. Getting onto the bridge from r'side going back to S'ford is also challenging due to the turn lane..

  • chris mc
    December 09, 2011 - 16:08

    I work and live in the downtown area, so i walk a short distance to and fro a fair bit. So i'd like to send this Warning out to all..Please take care when crossing all intersections. In the past 2 weeks i've witnessed 7 incidents of drivers running red lights or very late yellow lights. To make matters worse they Speed up to do so. also be wary of drivers taking right turns they'll have their heads turned to the left, looking over their shoulder and not even consider that people are crossing. And contrary to popular belief none of these drivers i witnessed where younger, all were between the ages of 40 and 65 years both male and female. Take care out there and Merry Christmas

  • suggestion
    December 09, 2011 - 13:14

    If the Hillsborough Bridge is at carrying capacity right now, there is a catwalk underneath that could be expanded to carry the active transportation trail. This would not add to the weight.

  • staforder
    December 09, 2011 - 13:01

    IMHO, the Hillsborough Bridge itself isn't too bad, it's getting on and off the bridge that poses the real problem as a cyclist or pedestrian..

  • voter
    December 09, 2011 - 12:31

    these roads and the antics on them are hardly safe for drivers -- yes add most drivers to the list of people wanting more safety markings, more patrols and enforcement ---experts are not the first step --- they might help but highways and streets are far from properly maintained and patrolled now without spending money that should be used on basics