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Charlottetown council drops two-way bike lane project for Fitzroy Street

Coun. Terry MacLeod says while a two-way bike lane project will not be moving forward, the public feedback will be useful in future projects for the city.
Coun. Terry MacLeod says while a two-way bike lane project will not be moving forward, the public feedback will be useful in future projects for the city. - Mitch MacDonald
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The wheels have fallen off a proposal to create a dedicated bike lane on Fitzroy Street.

Council voted unanimously during Monday’s meeting not to proceed with the proposed two-way bike lane.

“Unfortunately, we’re not moving forward. The residents were quite clear on what they wanted,” said Coun. Terry MacLeod, chairman of the environment and sustainability committee.

The city has withdrawn its application to the municipal strategic component (MSC) of the provincial gas tax funding, which could have covered 50 per cent of the funding for the estimated $1 million project.

The project, which was unveiled by council in June 2018, was not without controversy.

During public meetings, concerns raised by residents outweighed the benefits. Those living and working near the area shared worries about the location of disabled parking spaces, waste pickup, snow removal and the loss of about 60 parking spaces.

The city had already spent about $62,890 for the project’s design phase, which will now be completely expensed through the 2018-2019 operational budget.

Despite the project not moving forward, MacLeod said that money was still well-spent.

“We did come out of it with some good traffic studies. There are some good parts to this study, and I felt there were some things that could be done to (improve) some intersections, even without a cycling lane,” said MacLeod, who also praised the level of public engagement.

“We learned an awful lot about our cycling paths. A lot of people came out and expressed interest, and that’s where you learn.”

During the public feedback phase some, including Cycling P.E.I. members, suggested the city should instead invest in upgrading existing active transportation trails.

In the future, MacLeod said the city will revisit the idea of creating a dedicated bike lane or may reapply for MSC funding to enhance the existing cycling routes.

“Going forward, it would be a great thing for the City of Charlottetown to have a path that would take you from one end to the other.”

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