In a surprising move, the city council of Penticton, B.C. has decided to halt the construction of new bike lanes for the next three years. The motion, put forward by Coun. Amelia Boultbee, received a narrow passing vote of 4-3 during a recent council meeting. This decision has sparked controversy within the community and raised concerns among cycling advocates.
Boultbee, a first-term councillor, cited voter opposition to new bike lanes as the driving force behind her motion. However, Mayor Julius Bloomfield and others who voted against the motion expressed apprehension about the long-term implications of such a decision.
Matt Hopkins, the urban cycling director of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association, expressed disappointment, stating that the council’s decision was “really disappointing.” Hopkins highlighted the success and popularity of the Lake-to-Lake Route, a protected bike lane currently under construction. Despite being only halfway finished, the lane has already seen significant usage, with counts indicating that 85,000 people have cycled through the intersection of Eckhardt Avenue and Martin Street in 2023 alone.
While the construction of the Lake-to-Lake Route will continue uninterrupted, future projects will be affected by the council’s decision. The move to cease work on new bike lanes has sparked debate about the potential consequences for public safety, alternative transportation options, and the city’s image as a cyclist-friendly community.
The decision comes at a time when Penticton is facing various challenges, including an opioid crisis, homelessness, and concerns about crime. Proponents of the motion argue that these issues should take precedence over bike lane expansion. However, critics contend that investing in cycling infrastructure can contribute to addressing these challenges by promoting active transportation, reducing traffic congestion, and enhancing public health.
Ultimately, the impact of this decision on Penticton’s future as a cycling-friendly city remains uncertain. As the community grapples with the implications of the council’s vote, many hope for continued discussions and a comprehensive evaluation of the benefits and drawbacks of bike lane expansion.
**Q: Why did the council vote to halt the construction of new bike lanes?**
A: The motion to cease work on new bike lanes was based on feedback from voters, who expressed opposition to bike lane expansion during the campaign process.
**Q: Will the construction of the Lake-to-Lake Route be affected?**
A: No, the construction of the Lake-to-Lake Route will continue as planned, with the final section set to begin next year.
**Q: How popular is the Lake-to-Lake Route?**
A: Despite being only halfway completed, the Lake-to-Lake Route has already seen substantial usage, with counts indicating thousands of cyclists using it in 2023 alone.
**Q: What are the concerns regarding the council’s decision?**
A: Critics are worried about the potential impact on public safety, alternative transportation options, and the city’s reputation as a cyclist-friendly community.