Campbell River’s cycling infrastructure will get a boost after city council approved a parking-protected bike lane for Hilchey Road.
“This is the gold standard for protecting cyclists,” Coun. Claire Moglove said at council’s June 13 meeting.
The plan is to remove parking on one side of the street to accommodate bike lanes on each side. One side of Hilchey Road will have both a parking and a bike lane with the bike lane placed next to the curb. The parking lane will go between it and the traffic lane, creating a buffer. The other side of the street will have a bike lane and no parking. This design will alternate at South Alder Street.
Staff recommended keeping parking on the south side of Hilchey Road from South Alder Street to Highway 19A and on the north side from South Alder to South Dogwood Street. Bollards will be installed at the start and end of each block to further protect cyclists and to avoid vehicle onflicts at intersections.
Unlike previous designs, which kept parking the entire length of Hilchey Road, this redesign of the bike lane proposes to match parking locations with higher parking demand. A review by staff indicates parking demand on the north side of Hilchey Road from South Alder to South Dogwood is higher compared to the south side. Parking demand on Hilchey Road from South Alder to Highway 19A “appears to be fairly even on the north and south side.” However, staff note that there are more properties with Residential Multiple zoning on the south side.
Moglove acknowledged that it will take drivers and cyclists some getting used to and there will need to be an education process but she believes it can work well.
“I believe it’s a really great step forward,” Moglove said.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield pointed out a couple of flaws in the plan, one being that buses will not be able to park at the curb which will be problematic for buses that have the “kneeling” or lowering feature that assists mobility-challenged transit riders stepping down from the bus to the curb. If the bus can’t park at the curb, then there is a large step down to pavement level.
“Somehow we need to accommodate it, maybe for the time being it’s allowing the buses to move right in (to the curb),” Cornfield said.
Staff acknowledged the issue and indicated they would look at it in more detail.
Cornfield also pointed out that the intersection accessing the Timberline Village shopping centre is “a little tricky” because you have left- and right-turning traffic from Dogwood onto Hilchey as well as traffic entering and exiting the shopping plaza close to the Hilchey/Dogwood intersection. Then there is also the parking for access to the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands right at that point of Hilchey. Staff pointed out there will be green paint indicating the cycling lane.
Coun. Kermit Dahl, a Hilchey Road resident “that uses that street every single day” and who also rides to work about 100 days a year, preferred that the parking be all on the north side because that’s where most people park at the end of Hilchey closest to Highway 19A.
“But I still think it’s a step in the right direction. And thank you for all the work you did on it. And I’ll look forward to riding down to the ocean,” Dahl said.
A motion to follow the staff’s proposal was passed.