City of Kelowna budget for cycling facilities

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According to an excellent source, the City of Kelowna puts $400,000 per year towards bike lane projects in Kelowna. They also get monies from the Province and Feds on an irregular basis amounting to another $200,000 per year. Occasionally they put more money towards major projects – the latest example being the Rails with Trails where the City put up $1,000,000 and the Province put up the same amount – for the first phase. This took well over 5 years of planning so realistically the funds should be spread over that time, and not regarded as a one time “grant”.

The city also looks at bike projects from the point of view of safety, usage, suitability, and cost. They claim that their main goal is to reduce the number of vehicles on City roads however I was told by a manager that their main concern is to reduce peak usage (eg. around 8 am weekday mornings and 5 pm or so on weekday evenings). My conclusion from these “goals” is that health, pollution and greenhouse gas issues are not considered priorities. Support for this opinion is the fact that the City of Kelowna refuses to pass an anti idling bylaw – certainly a first step to recognizing the effects of car emissions on health, pollution and GHG’s.

The city does try to add bike lanes and other infrastructure when roads are being constructed or rebuilt as it is the least costly method of providing these facilities. This certainly makes sense.

The City’s current priorities for cycling infrastructure are:

– lanes along Abbott and Lakeshore.

– offroad lanes along part of Gordon Drive.

– trails in Rutland.

There are two glaring omissions in the above list. It is interesting that the City is one of the first to declare the benefits of UBCO to our area and yet the last to make a determined effort to gain legitimate cycling access to the campus.

Putting in safe, effective and practical access to the campus would be one of the most effective means of reducing the number of motor vehicles on city roads. Is there any other large group of people in our community likely to get on a bike than students? I sincerely doubt it.

The second big omission is the Glenmore road to Lake Country situation. As mentioned in previous posts, there are no safe and enjoyable routes from near Lake Country to the Okanagan Lake Bridge. This certainly is a bottleneck when considering the Soaring Eagle Wine route from Osoyoos to Vernon.

I will take a look at monies spent on motor vehicle facilities (roads, parking and the like) in another post.

John.

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One Response to “City of Kelowna budget for cycling facilities”

  1. Wilson Says:

    Can anybody provide an update on the status of the planned bicycle path to UBC-O? I am moving to Kelowna in a couple of weeks to begin a faculty position at UBC-O. While I am not an avid cyclist, I am an avid cycle commuter. The present lack of safe access is a concern.

    The notes in this blog seem to indicate that the path should be completed in the spring of 2008. Since we are now approaching the summer of 2008, I am keen to hear any further news.

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