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Make bike lane around Charlottetown's Victoria Park permanent, says Tweel

The City of Charlottetown has these signs posted at either end of the cycling lane at Victoria Park. It states that walking, running, pushing strollers and walking dogs are prohibited.
Charlottetown Coun. Mitchell Tweel wants to restrict two-way vehicle traffic all year on Victoria Park's cycling lane.
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The active transportation lane around Victoria Park will become a year-round fixture, if the chairman of Charlottetown’s parks and recreation committee gets his way.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel wants to restrict two-way vehicle traffic all year.

City council voted at a recent special meeting to close the interior lane of the road around the park to vehicular traffic one month ahead of schedule.

The city was concerned over the increasing number of people using the boardwalk this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic. So, to create more space for physical distancing and ease the congestion on the boardwalk, council chose to shut down that inside lane.

Thanks to the quick work of public works staff, the city opened the interior lane to active transportation — cyclists, walkers, joggers, rollerbladers and strollers – on March 31. That doesn’t usually happen until May 1.

“I can tell you the response, so far, is overwhelmingly positive,’’ Tweel said Monday, referring to the reaction to the extra month. “People have welcomed the opportunity. I had an opportunity (on Sunday) to talk to some of the residents using the inside lane and I can tell you there is strong, strong support to have the inside lane shut off to vehicle traffic (permanently).’’

“With so much stress on our community . . . people are looking to get out and get healthy. Let’s create those venues and let people enjoy themselves. We need to create disincentives for vehicle traffic going through the park.’’

Tweel said it’s time the entire park area become more consistent in its passive and active recreation use.

“I would like to come up with a game plan to lessen the vehicle traffic in Victoria Park, period,’’ he said. “People want to be out. They want to be walking and, of course now with COVID-19, they want to be social distancing.’’

Tweel thinks having the inside lane for active transportation would work during the winter months, saying public works crews could keep it clear and safe. He also pointed out that lots of people like to cycle and jog in the winter months in the outdoors.

“I talked to a runner here last week. She runs every day and she thought (the idea) was fantastic.’’

Tweel said the idea has been floated at the parks and recreation committee level before and he plans on talking to staff about it again in the months ahead. Ultimately, the committee would have to issue a recommendation to council where a final decision would be made.

“With so much stress on our community . . . people are looking to get out and get healthy. Let’s create those venues and let people enjoy themselves. We need to create disincentives for vehicle traffic going through the park.’’

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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