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Plans for a new $1-million active transportation path connecting the north end of Summerside to the south have been unveiled.
Construction on the one-kilometre, two-lane shared cycling and active transport path is underway and the project is expected to be completed in October. It will run from Pope Road, down Greenwood Drive to the Credit Union Place.
With traffic increasing on Greenwood Drive and the new eco-park expected to further increase traffic, the project is a way for Summerside to improve safety while furthering the city’s green initiatives, Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart said at Friday's announcement where the plans were unveiled.
“It’s certainly going to be a great addition to our city and that area, so we continue to work on those kinds of things, green energy and safety. It’s a great start.”
Funding for the project is being split evenly between the City of Summerside and the federal government. The $500,000 from the provincial government is part of its active transport fund announced last November.
This is the first official announcement for a project related to the fund, said Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers.
“It’s part of our sustainable transportation action strategy. One of the pillars in it is to create active transportation links across Prince Edward Island and connect communities for walkers and cyclists.”
Myers sees the path as a step toward reducing the Island’s carbon footprint as a whole while getting more people active, he said.
“If we’re looking at reducing our greenhouse gasses, we need to get people to use transportation that isn’t an emitter … but we need to make sure that there’s a safe way to do it before we encourage a whole bunch of people to get out on busy streets.”
While Summerside considered a number of projects when applying for the active transport funding, Greenwood Drive was identified early as a candidate, as many citizens already used the road to bike, walk and run, said Coun. Cory Snow, who chairs the city's community services committee.
“Hopefully, it provides a safe way for people to get out and get active and navigate through our city safely. It’s hopefully the start of many projects to come that will do just that.”
The community has responded positively to the new path, Stewart said, and while there are no firm plans for future projects, the city is always looking for ways to improve.
“We’ve always got things in the hopper that we’re thinking about and working on and we’ll see what may be available as well by working with the other two orders of government for more projects.”
“We’re looking to find ways to get our community active. An active community is a healthy community and that’s what we would like to have.”