Charlottetown city council moved ahead Monday on a proposal to create a major corridor for cyclists that would connect the Confederation Trail at Joe Ghiz Park with Victoria Park.
It would involve transforming Fitzroy Street into a bike lane, similar to Victoria Park.
Council passed a resolution at its monthly meeting to award design and engineering work to CBCL Ltd. in the amount of $74,163. The city’s portion, $37,500 will come out of the 2018-19 capital budget by reallocating money from the Pownal Parkade lighting project. The remaining $37,000 will be covered by the municipal strategic component of the provincial gas tax fund.
Upland Planning and Design Studio in Dartmouth, N.S., will handle the public consultation process. The city expects to issue a public service announcement in another week on when and where the meeting will be, but it will most likely take place in January.
“At that meeting people can expect we’ll have some conceptual drawings and options available in terms of how we’re going to do the separation and also how we’re going to handle all the different intersections,’’ said Ramona Doyle, the city’s sustainability officer.
When Doyle refers to separation, she means how the city plans on creating a barrier that will separate vehicular traffic from cyclists.
The plan is that only cyclists and pedestrians would be able to use the south lane of Fitzroy Street, the stretch of road closer to the harbour, while vehicle traffic would continue to use the north side.
Fitzroy Street was recommended as the corridor in a report earlier this year by CBCL. It was chosen for many reasons, including its width. It’s considered too wide to be a single street and too narrow to be a double lane one-way street for traffic with two lanes going in the same direction.
Doyle said the city has received plenty of feedback since this proposal went public in June. Much of it has been positive, but there are concerns, too. One is that it would exacerbate an already big problem in the downtown — lack of parking.
It will eliminate lots of parking, although parking would still be permitted between Great George Street and Queen Street and between Cumberland and Weymouth streets.
Another concern was removing people’s access to their properties.
“Driveways will all have to be accounted for in the design,’’ Doyle said.
It’s estimated the project would cost $1 million, mostly because two of the intersections along the path — Fitzroy and Queen and Fitzroy and University — would need signal upgrades. Half of the cost would be paid by the federal gas tax fund program.
Council should have plans to consider by its February meeting.
If the project goes ahead, work would begin this year or in 2020.
By the numbers
- During high traffic times, Victoria Park boardwalk had between 120 and 240 pedestrians per hour
- Victoria Park bike lane had between 115 and 179 users per day
- At the Charlottetown Mall, 69.4 per cent of trail users were pedestrians and 30.6 per cent were cyclists
- At UPEI, about 800 pedestrians and cyclists used the trail over a 24-hour period
* Survey conducted by CBCL over two-weekend period in 2017