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The concerns far outnumbered the benefits raised during a public meeting Tuesday night on a proposed two-way bike lane on Fitzroy Street in Charlottetown.
The location of disabled parking spaces, waste pickup, snow removal and losing parking spaces were all brought up at the event at the Rodd Charlottetown hosted by city council.
Mark MacDonald, with CBCL Ltd., the engineers commissioned by the city to come up with a design proposal, said the bike lane would be separated from traffic by a three-inch high concrete median in some places and painted buffer lines in other spots.
He also noted that the intersections would have painted markings to identify possible conflicts between motorists and cyclists.
He estimates about 60 parking spaces would be lost as the bike lane would take over the south side of the street (the side closest to the Hillsborough River).
Milan Radanovich, speaking for St. Peter’s Cathedral which corners on to Fitzroy Street, said the church is concerned about access for elderly and disabled parishioners who normally get dropped off at the back of the church where the bike lane is proposed.
“By the look of this proposal we lose that access,’’ Radanovich said. “Some of our parishioners park on that side of the street.’’
David Robinson, the clerk of session with Kirk of St. James just up the street, said he’s not for or against the proposal but noted his parish would lose eight of its 16 parking spots.
A woman who works at the Canadian Mental Health Association office on Fitzroy Street said she sees “huge problems’’ with the disabled parking spaces in front of their office being located on the same side as the bike lane.
Ian Scott said backing out of driveways on Fitzroy Street is already dangerous enough.
“There are complications at every intersection and at every single driveway,’’ Scott said, adding that more than 500 vehicles entering and exiting daily from the Fitzroy Street parkade is another hazard.
Jason White, a resident on Fitzroy Street wanted to know why Cycling P.E.I. was not at the table Tuesday night to answer questions.
Mayor Philip Brown explained that the meeting was for council only.
White asked about a traffic study and was told by MacDonald that one is underway.
“We’re in the 11th hour and we’re not doing a traffic study until the 11th hour,’’ White said. “I can’t believe that.’’
Numerous people also brought up concerns over the concrete medians, saying snowplows would all but destroy them in the winter.
Greg McKee said he likes the idea of a dedicated cycling lane, but the city should work on improving other cycling lanes in the capital such as North River Road.
“I think there needs to be a whole biking strategy,’’ McKee said.
Lane McLaren wondered how many cyclists are projected to use the Fitzroy Street lane, but MacDonald said it’s hard to quantify.
More than one person asked about Island Waste Management Corporation trucks blocking traffic, with some suggesting vehicles would cross over the median into the bike lane.
Not everyone was against the idea.
One woman who lives on Cumberland Street said she favours any mode of transportation that sees fewer cars on the streets.
“I don’t know a lot about this project, but I think it’s a step in the right direction,’’ she said.
Bob Gray also spoke in favour of it.
“I like this design,’’ Gray said. “I would use this every decent day in the summer.’’
Coun. Terry MacLeod, chairman of the environment and sustainability committee, said the meeting was part of the fact-finding process and nothing has been decided yet.