The City of Charlottetown is considering creating 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 year-round cycling lane.
Only cycling and pedestrians would be able to use the south lane, the stretch of road closer to the harbour, while vehicle traffic would continue to use the lane on the north side of the street.
This cycling lane would be two-way buffered traffic, meaning infrastructure would be put in place to keep cycling and pedestrian traffic separate from vehicle traffic.
Fitroy Street was recommended as the corridor in a recent report commissioned by the city by CBCL Ltd.
“They came to the conclusion that the optimum route to take would be to have a double lane bicycle/pedestrian corridor on Fitzroy Street going east-west and west-east,’’ said Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy, who chairs the city’s sustainable committee. “Fitzroy Street was chosen for many, many reasons.’’
One of them is the width of the street. 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. Another problem identified is during the winter traffic parks too close to the centre of the street because snow blocks the curb.
Duffy compares the possibility of transforming Fitzroy Street into a year-round cycling corridor to efforts to put the boardwalk around Victoria Park in the mid-1990s. The city wants people to be more active.
Ramona Doyle, the city’s sustainability officer, said it’s all about promoting healthy living.
“We are thinking long term,’’ Doyle said. “The province has announced they are looking at a corridor across the Hillsborough Bridge so once you get people from Stratford over to Charlottetown, then what?
“There really is a hub already at Joe Ghiz Park where the Confederation Trail comes out (where) you could connect the trail there and it takes (you) all the way down Fitzroy Street to get to Victoria Park.’’
Duffy said they’re only at the design stage now. Engineers would still have to take a look at it and it would have to go through extensive public consultation.
Doyle said it would eliminate some parking along Fitzroy Street but not all of it. There will still be spots available between Great George Street and Queen Street and between Cumberland and Weymouth streets.
Duffy noted that most of the affected parking is residential where people have their own driveways. Other than that, there are one- and two-hour parking spots that would be affected.
It’s estimated the project would cost $1 million, mostly because two of the intersections — 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.
Doyle said this plan responds to a concern they hear all the time.
“People want more opportunity for bike lanes, but they want to cycle but they don’t feel safe,’’ she said. “Some people need that segregation. We’re trying to create that.’’
If the project goes ahead, work wouldn’t begin until 2019 or 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
- More than 150 pedestrians and cyclists used the Towers Road over a 24-hour period
- More than 200 pedestrians and cyclists use Allen Street sidewalks and bike lanes to access the Confederation Trail over a 24-hour period
- More than 500 pedestrians and cyclists use the trail by Longworth Avenue over a 24-hour period
* Survey conducted by CBCL over a Friday/Saturday period for two weekends last September