Lake-to-lake bike lane?

The City of Penticton will consider improvements to cycling infrastructure during 2019 budget deliberations after hearing from local cyclists Tuesday.

The Penticton Area Cycling Association was before council with two requests — that the city invest in new protected bike lanes and install more bike racks throughout the city.

PACA board member Mike Hopkins urged the city to do more to make cycling an attractive option for commuters, rather than wait for the demand.

“In terms of car transportation, you wouldn’t judge where to build a bridge based on how many people are swimming across,” he said.

He noted to cyclist’s main route through the city, Government Street, has numerous problems for riders with it acting as a bypass for much of the community with considerable hills.

“Someone 80 years old is not going to be able to scale those hills,” he said.

Council agreed, with Jake Kimberley acknowledging Government Street has gotten very busy in recent years.

“It’s becoming extremely risky for cyclists in regards to the volumes that are there,” Kimberley said. “To be honest if I was cycling along Government Street at the peak of traffic, I’d be very concerned about my safety.”

City staff said $20,000 for bike racks and $35,000 for design work of a lake-to-lake protected bike lane west of Main Street was removed from the 2019 budget due to funding constraints.

Council directed staff to reinsert the items into the 2019 budget for consideration during budget talks next month.

“We need to begin somewhere and the sooner we start the better,” said Coun. Judy Sentes.

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