The River City Cycling Club’s Cycling Advocacy Committee has released a report highlighting views of residents on current infrastructure needs in Campbell River.
The report was informed by 212 Campbell River residents who responded to a survey conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 10, during Go By Bike Week. The survey asked which north-south route into downtown Campbell River is the best option for improvements and what other changes could improve cycling in the city.
The most preferred route by respondents was Highway 19A (north to south), followed by the ERT road.
“It makes sense, really,” said John Elson, committee member. “I think it was pretty easy to predict (Highway) 19A would be the logical route through town, from both sides. The ERT surprised me a little bit — it may not be the greatest commuting route, but it’s a great recreational route.”
Many of the respondents said there is a need for ‘buffered’ bike lanes in Campbell River.
“There’s pretty much unanimity amongst cyclists that there needs to be better infrastructure, with some form of bike lanes,” he said.
Other major themes among comments were providing safe routes to schools, improving east-west connections, providing more parking options, and installing green indicator paint at conflict zones.
One way the committee is recommending a safe route into downtown Campbell River is the elimination of some parking downtown, particularly along Shoppers Row. Trading parking for cycling infrastructure results in fewer injuries to pedestrians and cyclists, while reducing traffic congestion, he said.
“It really is a win-win,” said Elson.
Studies have also shown it can boost commerce, per the report.
The committee is also recommending making downtown ‘car free’ on Sundays, as has been done in other cities. This might take some planning, but could help change perspectives, said Elson.
“I think it’d be a pretty doable way to give people a look at what it might be like if the city wasn’t totally dominated by cars,” he said.
The cycling advocacy committee is set to present the report at the Nov. 15 city council meeting.
“There is a certain amount of momentum from council around infrastructure, so we really want to just keep that ball rolling,” said Elson.
The committee’s short-term plan is requesting the city to apply for active transportation grant funding, which has accelerated infrastructure in other cities on Vancouver Island. But its long-term goal is a plan for a consistently-funded integrated cycling network, rather than piecemeal projects.
“We need a planning process that will provide a route to a safe and connected system that makes sense and can be implemented rationally over time,” he said. “We would really like council to institutionalize or consolidate some sort of funding that would actually make these changes possible.”