Question By Members, 6 December 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Promotion of cycling

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

Regular physical exercise such as actively commuting to work promotes a healthy community by enhancing overall health, mood, and longevity, by improving environmental wellness, and by developing a culture of social activity, all of which helps decrease government health costs, not to mention the contribution that such activities make to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

Question to the Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy: Could you describe what actions are being taken to promote cycling in Prince Edward Island?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.

Ms. Biggar: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That’s a great question. We have had the opportunity to meet on a regular basis with Cycling PEI and have great discussions with them in identifying routes. We have, to date, paved and widened shoulders in over 30 kilometres across Prince Edward Island, just recently down in Hunter River and up in Alberton, Seven Mile Road, from Pooles Corner to Dingwells Mills, and as part of our construction across the North River Causeway. Within our plans for the Trans-Canada Highway extension we have already added widened bike lanes at the present time.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party.

Separated bicycle lanes

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

One of the most hazardous lengths in the cycling network of Prince Edward Island is the Hillsborough Bridge which, without bike lanes, is dangerous not only to cyclists but to pedestrians and motorists also. Although progress has been made by Charlottetown, Stratford, and Cornwall independently on expanding bike lanes and trails, an obvious weakness still lies in the connections between those.

A question to the minister: Will government rectify this danger and add separated bike lanes to the Hillsborough Bridge and the entire North River Causeway?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.

Ms. Biggar: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As noted, more active opportunities are useful to be in place, and I again want to bring attention to the trails that we have developed within Bonshaw park. That’s 25 kilometres which are accessible to biking as well.

Mr. Aylward: Bonshaw is a long way from Stratford.

Ms. Biggar: But in regard to the Hillsborough Bridge –

Mr. Myers: Not if you’re driving the Premier’s chariot.

Ms. Biggar: – the other thing that needs to be addressed there is the approaches to the Hillsborough Bridge. It would be useful to have some further discussion with the city of Charlottetown in regard to the approaches to the bridge.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Later today I’ll be tabling a petition from Josh Underhay on improving cycle infrastructure on Prince Edward Island.

This government has put a high priority on spending –

An Hon. Member: (Indistinct).

Societal benefits re: cycling and Cornwall bypass

Dr. Bevan-Baker: As if on cue. This government has put a higher priority on spending $65 million on the Cornwall bypass than it has spending a small amount on cycling infrastructure. This is a curious decision given the many societal benefits that active transportation create, notably for health, transportation, tourism, and of course, our environment.

Can the minister explain how societal benefits factor into the decision-making process and somehow make the Cornwall bypass a higher priority than active transportation?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.

Ms. Biggar: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Actually, the share of the provincial government with the Trans-Canada Highway extension is approximately $35 million, not $65 million.

But as part of that project, that actually increases safe passage for those who are biking. It takes a large portion of traffic away from the Cornwall area, but in addition to that we are again concentrating on installing bike lanes as part of that new Trans-Canada Highway extension which will take travellers right across North River bridge into the city.

We will continue to work with the city of Charlottetown on addressing the concerns and the approaches on the Hillsborough Bridge. We had a great conversation with Mr. Underhay just recently, and we’ll continue to meet with Cycling PEI and thank them for their advice.

 

One Comment

  1. W.Wilkins 14 December 2016 at 11:29 am

    Interestingly, after the agreement was struck to have Strait Crossing Joint Venture (SCJV) expand the Hillsborough River Bridge from 2 lanes to 4, but prior to construction, the government of the day held a “consultation” meeting that presented the redesign. (I believe CBCL Limited also undertook the site transportation and traffic studies and that SCJV still owns the bridge?) Anyway. It would be informative to get their original recommendations and project plans.

    Generally speaking (aside from projected traffic delays) the plan seemed to meet with a high degree of approval. However, the plan that met with approval, in the “consultation” process, had a bike/walking lane; when the construction was completed – no bike lane. Also, if I remember correctly, the plan included a redesign of the exit for the ESSO station (or its elimination), which also never appeared in reality, and which to this day presents a well known and documented safety hazard.

    Oh well . . .

     

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