Revelstoke council hears alternative bike route plan with many parking closures
Revelstoke city council was presented with a competing vision for a proposed new bike lane system at their April 24 meeting.
The city's proposed main bike lane route through the city would follow roughly the same route and no parking would be eliminated. Learn more about that proposal here.
However, a recommendation from the City of Revelstoke's Enhancement Committee proposes a plan that would see the elimination of on-street parking on one side of the street for extensive stretches on the route through the city.
Revelstoke Enhancement Committee representative Toni Johnston presented the plan to council on April 24, just before the city's engineering department presented their bike route vision.
Johnston said the committee studied many aspects of the bike lane idea in 2011. Their commuter route focuses on getting less experienced, less confident cyclists into the lanes. She gave the example of seniors, inexperienced cyclists and children.
The committee studied bike lane standards and found that most Revelstoke streets aren't wide enough to accommodate dedicated bike lanes, car lanes and parking lanes all on the same street. "Unfortunately our streets, most of them are 44 feet wide," Johnston said. "So our streets aren't wide enough to have shared use or exclusive use."
After considering several configurations, they recommended a plan that would eliminate parking on one side of the street along the route, although the side of the street would vary.
In Southside, the route runs from the Illecillewaet Bridge to the CPR 'Y' intersection on Fourth Street. Parking would be eliminated on the north side of Fourth Street from Mount Begbie School to the CPR 'Y' intersection to make way for one-way, exclusive bike lanes on either side of the street.
In the downtown area, the route would run along Third Street. The plan calls for the elimination of parking on the south side of Third Street from Victoria Road to Mountain View Elementary School. It would also be replaced with one-way, exclusive bike lanes on either side of the street.
In Lower Town, the route would shift to Douglas Street to the Big Eddy Bridge. Parking would be eliminated along one side of the street and there would be, one-way, exclusive bike lanes on either side of the street.
The route would be seasonal, from April to October.
Johnston acknowledged that many would be concerned about losing their on-street parking.
"What I think is people have to understand what we're dealing with here, they have to understand our street widths, they have to understand what the guidelines are ... if we want to put them in and we want money from the province or other bicycling organizations, we have to meet those guidelines," Johnston said.
The Enhancement Committee is an advisory committee to council. Some councillors expressed concern over the proposal.
Coun. Gary Starling noted he lived on Third Street and said parking was already an issue in busy seasons. "We're already almost seeing bumper to bumper there," he said.
Following Johnston's presentation, City of Revelstoke engineering department staff member Kristy De Vuyst presented the city's vision for their bike lane. It involves some painted-on lanes and 'sharrows' which include signage and bike symbols painted on the road to indicated shared use between cars and bikes.
"We have enough room for parking, but we do not have enough room for a dedicated bike lane and if we put in a dedicated bike lane, we have to obey parking," De Vuyst said. "We wouldn't recommend doing this at this time because the [Official Community Plan] states that in order to do something like that we would have to provide alternate parking and we need space for that. As well as some people ... do not have other alternatives at this time for parking. They have on-street parking, they do not have a garage or a driveway."
De Vuyst said extending the route past city limits to Mount Macpherson was part of the long-term vision. "At this time we still need to discuss that with the ministry of transportation," she said.
PHOTO: This map shows the City of Revelstoke engineering department's proposed bike routes through Revelstoke. The public is invited to comment on details from April 23 to May 10.
Can the city just close large sections of major city streets to parking? City CAO Tim Palmer said they could because there wouldn't technically be a road closure; a dedicated bike lane is still a road. The changes wouldn't require complex legal paperwork.
City planning director John Guenther said the Official Community Plan does recommend having a parking management strategy in place before big moves are made to remove street parking.
In response to questions from the Times Review, mayor David Raven said that extensive parking closures would likely require a longer process: "The recommendation that you see coming forward from engineering is something they can do in a very short period of time, very effectively and efficiently as opposed to major changes," he said.
So, is the plan as presented by the engineering department just a first step? "Every step is a first step," Raven said.
Revelstoke RCMP Staff-Sgt. Jacquie Olsen was in attendance for the presentation. She told the Times Review that the RCMP is planning upcoming spring cycling enforcement. Local officers will be out on bikes looking for infractions and spreading awareness about the rules of the road.
Maps, information, comment forms and other details will be made available on the City of Revelstoke website and at the Revelstoke Community Centre from April 23 to May 10. The public is invited to comment during that period and council will decide what to do sometime after that.
To view the full plans, see items 8a and 8b in the April 24 city council agenda.
Clarification: A computer file management error caused some confusion regarding this story. The document provided by the City of Revelstoke Enhancement Committee to the city for their agenda and meeting was an older version of a recently updated document. The differences were subtle but significant. What they boil down to is the current, final recommendation from the committee is for single, one-way, exclusive bike lanes on either side of entire route. A two-way bike lane together on one side of the street is not being considered. In addition, those following the link to the city website to see the entire document should note that due to a staff vacation, it has not yet been updated to reflect the new version. The story above has been updated to reflect these changes.