$8M bike lane through Penticton could be approved in weeks

$8M bike path down to wire

Where to put a proposed $8 million lake-to-lake bike path has been a question of much deliberation and contention in Penticton over the past year, and now the choice for the route is down to its final stages. 

In a report that will be presented to city council Tuesday, staff outline the extensive public engagement both online, through mail and in person that led them to recommend a route along Martin Street rather than Winnipeg Street for the downtown core portion. 

"Two traffic lanes would be maintained on Martin Street. Parking would be eliminated on the west side of the street, but would be retained on the east side of the street. The Martin Street option is preferred as it minimizes parking impacts (90 spaces removed compared to 210 on Winnipeg Street)," reads the report. 

It further notes that while there is widespread support for the lake-to-lake route in theory, those along the recommended route show less support. 

"In the most recent phase of engagement, the City heard from 82 people who live or have a business along the route. While there is support for the proposed preferred location, nearly half of participants did not agree with their street being selected for a section of the route."

That route would see the Time Winery patio likely removed, possible changes to access to Charles Manor which houses 84 seniors, a loss of parking in front of Martin St. Liquor Merchants, among other concerns

Through the initial planning process, other cross-city routes were explored like Government Street and the Penticton Channel, but staff decided using Martin Street as the downtown portion "met the criteria to provide a central route to act as a spine in the cycling network making it convenient for riders of all ages and abilities to access popular destinations throughout the city."

The estimated cost for the project is $8,069,000, a price tag that staff have noted has a 25 per cent contingency included. The City has applied for a grant under the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program which, if approved, could provide up to $1 million in funds towards the project.

At Tuesday's council meeting, members will be asked to forward the matter to a final public hearing on Nov. 16 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre at 7:30 p.m. 

The proposed route would start at Okanagan Lake and follow Martin Street to Fairview Road, then Atkinson Street, then South Main Street through to Skaha Lake.

More Penticton News