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Charlottetown applies to gas tax program to connect hospital with St. Peters Road

Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. - Submitted
Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. - Submitted - Contributed

The City of Charlottetown is proposing to spend $544,000 on a bike and pedestrian pathway from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to St. Peters Road.

In late September, the city submitted an application to the municipal strategic component of the federal government’s gas tax fund for the project.

The city already has the money set aside because it was originally earmarked for the Fitzroy Street bike lane project. However, those plans were abandoned due to strong opposition from residents and businesses along the street.

So, the city went back to the drawing board and consulted with the provincial government to find an alternative use for the infrastructure money.

“We had two conversations (with the province) and they agreed. They thought (this) project would be best suited for all parties,’’ said Coun. Terry MacLeod, chairman of the city’s environmental and sustainability committee.

Right now, there is a sidewalk that runs along Riverside Drive, from Park Street to Murchison Drive (entrance to the hospital) but nothing beyond that.

The idea would be to build a multi-use path, for cyclists and pedestrians, that continues along Riverside Drive, from Murchison Lane all the way up to St. Peters Road. That amounts to about 2.3 kilometres.

“It would be great if someone could walk or bike to the hospital from the Parkdale or Sherwood area without having to be on the bypass,’’ MacLeod said. “The province likes the idea; we like the idea.’’

The project cost would be shared among the three levels of government so the $544,000 is the city’s share. If the application gets approved under the gas tax program it would still require council approval.

Eventually, the city would like to extend this multi-use path from St. Peters Road down Norwood Road, back to the bypass highway, past the Brackley Point Road intersection, continue along the bypass highway to the Confederation Trail at Mount Edward Road. That would involve another 2.94 kilometres. However, that is not included in the city’s 2019-20 capital budget.

The city would need to consider the funding model for the project would not include snow clearing in the winter months so the city would have to take care of that on its own or close the trail for a few months of the year.

This all dates back to 2012 when the city and the towns of Cornwall and Stratford and the province released the Regional Active Transportation Plan for the greater Charlottetown area. The plan recommended a number of changes to improve active transportation in the city and in surrounding communities.

Some have already been implemented, such as marked paved shoulders, improved signage and new maps.

And some have been initiated but not yet complete, such as connecting Cornwall to Charlottetown, an active corridor across the Hillsborough Bridge and a connector between the Confederation Trail and Victoria Park.

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