Sidney residents will have a chance to shape the active transportation in their community in the spring of 2022, with council’s selection of Urban Systems to develop the municipality’s plan.
Urban Systems, which completed the Central Saanich active transportation plan, was among five companies that submitted proposals for Sidney’s plan, which will include a detailed design for the proposed north-south cycling corridor described in the financial plan as the Resthaven Bike Lanes.
The town has budgeted $100,000 for the plan including contingencies, with 50 per cent of the funds coming from a provincial planning grant which stipulates completion of the plan must be before March 31, 2023, which is also Sidney’s targeted completion date. The total budget for the cycling corridor plan is $80,000.
Urban System’s fee is $176,150 plus GST.
Detailed design of the cycling corridor will take place after the municipality has adopted the plan.
Active forms of transportation include human power such as walking, cycling or rolling by other means. E-bikes and e-trikes are included, while fully motor-powered vehicles such as mopeds and motorcycles are not.
While a popular destination for cyclists from other parts of Greater Victoria, as well as a thoroughfare for cyclists from elsewhere in the province travelling to regional destinations, Sidney – unlike Central Saanich and North Saanich – currently lacks an active transportation plan.
The proposed Resthaven Bike Lanes have already drawn attention. In a letter to council dated Jan. 14, Sidney resident Rick Parent asked the municipality about plans for the corridor, while expressing general concern about the effects of bike lanes, in referencing a story that appeared in the Peninsula News Review.
“I also read almost everyday of the distress and disruption in Victoria as they attempt to alter and or establish bike lanes,” he wrote. “I would not wish to see this level of discourse in Sidney.”
Staff responded at the time saying the community engagement and concept design for the corridor – not detailed – would be completed at the same time as the active transportation plan.
“It should also be noted that although it is called ‘Resthaven Bike Lanes’ in the financial plan, the intent is really to find a suitable north-south cycling corridor,” the response read, adding the active transportation plan will consider many factors when determining an optimal route.
Staff also encouraged Parent to remain involved as the process unfolds, and to report violations of the Motor Vehicle Act by cyclists. The suggestion was in response to his written reference to “club rides of multiple cyclists, riding (two), (three) sometimes (four) abreast, who (currently) take no precautions to obey current traffic signs or normal civil behaviour, such as allowing pedestrians to cross streets.”
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