Cyclists in Maple Ridge wants more consideration of bikes as the Haney Bypass intersection improvement project is designed.
The Ridge Meadows HUB organization would like to see a bike path on the south side of the bypass, but has been told by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure that will not happen during the first phase of the planned $22.3 million improvements. Cycling paths will be considered for the second phase.
Ivan Chow, the HUB Cycling co-chair for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, said the bypass can be a scary ride in its present state.
“You have cars on one side and concrete barrier on the other.”
The cycling advocate would rather see a bike path on the south side of the bypass, with a concrete barrier between cyclists and traffic, creating an uninterrupted ride along the Fraser River. If it was on the south side of the bypass, cyclists would not be forced to stop for intersections. It would also tie in well with use of the Port Haney train station and the transit system, Chow said.
“If there was a safe passage there, people would ride to the West Coast Express.”
That was his message to the ministry in lobbying for more cycling infrastructure.
He said the Haney Bypass is considered a gap by HUB, but is also a critically important cycling route because it is the most convenient, fastest and easiest east-west commuter route for cyclists.
“Routes like the Haney Bypass, with no or few stops are ideal for people on bikes as it’s important for them to keep their momentum. Improving this route will help encourage more people to use their bikes for transportation,” he wrote to MOTI project manager Sheila Hui.
He said the provincial cycling policy states “provisions for cyclists are made on all new and upgraded provincial highways.”
The government has announced it will add an east-west bike path to the Lougheed Highway, on the north side, between 220th and 222nd streets.
It will not connect with a multi-use path created on the north side of the highway between 216th and Laity streets.
Chow said HUB is a non-profit group that works to get more people cycling, and represents the interests of hundreds of avid cyclists.
He said it is important for the MOTI to get feedback from cyclists early, while it is still working on the design for the intersections, so that cycling nicely fits in.
“We want to be able to look forward to a design that works for cycling.”
The project is halfway through the design process. It will focus on four congested areas along the bypass, providing:
• the reconfiguration of the intersection of Highway 7 and 222nd Street;
• the reconfiguration of the intersection of Highway 7 and Kanaka Way;
• a new traffic signal at Highway 7 and Callaghan Avenue;
• and a new traffic signal at Highway 7 at 227th Street.
The government website notes that collision rates are between two and three times higher than the provincial average throughout much of the corridor.
The work is scheduled to go to tender in the spring of 2018, and be completed by the end of 2019.
The government is taking public feedback until the end of February through an online feedback form.