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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 7, 2020
I am a retired provincial health inspector in Charlottetown living with osteoarthritis. I shop in Stratford weekly and sometimes ride my bicycle to manage my arthritis. Presently, cyclists in Charlottetown and Stratford of all backgrounds feel threatened to cross the Hillsborough Bridge, especially with children and otherwise. There’s no barrier between bicycles and cars and the sidewalk is narrow. Every year, more cars cross at highway speeds, and a gust of wind might send a cyclist off balance into the car lane.
The P.E.I. Department of Health and Wellness promotes physical activity for a good reason.
We have a shortage of MDs (who might really enjoy bike paths) and too much of our provincial revenue goes to treatment of sedentary lifestyle diseases.
How do we promote healthy lifestyle activities for our population?
The P.E.I. Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy is mandated to construct and maintain safe transportation routes in the province.
Bicycle/car fatalities occur here in P.E.I. A safer cycling environment is needed if we want to encourage cycling as a community activity. A multipurpose pathway for this bridge was announced in 2017 but was not built during the recent bridge renovation as expected. The pathway is now rescheduled to occur after the next election?
Two recent petitions on this pathway have been brought to the P.E.I. legislature, including one by the late Josh Underhay to the previous Liberal government, and another about a week ago by Bike Friendly (over 3,000 signatures). The City of Charlottetown has an active transportation committee and some bicycle routes already exist in the general vicinity of the bridge. Stratford has existing and planned pathways near the bridge.
Many area residents would appreciate it if the City of Charlottetown, Town of Stratford and P.E.I. Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy form a joint committee to expedite construction of a safe and easy bicycle route.
The benefits include increased community engagement, fewer bicycle injuries and mortalities, low demands on our health system, a more relaxing commute for both car drivers and cyclists and probably less traffic congestion on the roadway.
The road construction industry could benefit from this work and it would generate substantial employment for those involved. Sounds good to me.