Archive for the ‘UBC-O access’ Category

Rails to Trails and the University

October 2, 2008

Last month the Provincial government and the city of Kelowna announced funding for another section of the rails to trails project. I would like to thank past and present members of the university cycling club and the Kelowna Area cycling coalition for their work on getting this moved up in priority. The word is that the project will be complete by next September. We hope that it gets completed on time and work also starts on the link from Sexsmith to Spall.

Our coalition would also like the parties to get together and solve the east access problems.

You can read more on this announcement at




September 18, 2008

Hopefully this announcement means safe access to the University and completion of the rails to trails project. The cycling coalition will try to stay involved and keep you informed.


VANCOUVER – Cyclists throughout British Columbia will benefit from new,

safe and high-quality cycling trails, bike lanes, bike lockers and more,

thanks to Bike BC, a $31-million program for cycling infrastructure,

Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

More at

UBC-O cycle access

June 5, 2008

Hello Folks,

Many people have enquired about the proposed bicycle access to UBC-O from the east.

Recently we have heard from the BC Ministry of Transportation and the City of Kelowna and both are expecting to work something out with CN Railway.

Here is an email from the Ministry regarding the railway crossing.

Thanks to everyone working on this issue.

Don (KACC):

The City, UBC and Ministry of Transportation are working together on delivering the bike path connection over the next couple of months, and things are looking quite positive.

Ron Westlake, City of Kelowna Transportation Manager met with CN officials in Edmonton last week, and he response was very positive. We will be preparing a proposal for their consideration within the next couple of weeks.

I also met with Gord Lovegrove on site last week to walk the route and discuss the overall strategy for providing safe bicycle access from Reid’s Corner to UBC, the Airport and points north. The meeting was very productive, with Gord providing a couple of good suggestions that are being followed up

There will be safe bike access to the UBC campus prior to the start of the fall term.

Bill Smith.

City of Kelowna budget for cycling facilities

April 5, 2008

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.


UBCO Access – summary of situation available

March 3, 2008

Some time ago I put together a summary of the different routes available (or not) for cycling from the south to the UBCO campus along with a brief history of same. You will find it here (a short .pdf file):


Response from the Minister of Transportation re: UBCO access

February 25, 2008

I wrote the following letter to the Minister of Transportation and emailed it on the 27th November 2007.


Dear Sir:

re: UBCO campus access by cyclists and pedestrians.
Hwy 97 from the Okanagan Bridge to Oyama is a major safety problem from a cycling point of view. Some of the areas that are effected are the UBCO campus, the Kelowna airport, Lake Country and all of it’s rapidly expanding population and businesses throughout that area. There are few detours available to avoid the dangerous areas of the highway and there are no indications that the situation will be remedied in the near future.

There can be few campuses in North America that do not provide safe and pleasant routes for access by cyclists and pedestrians. The UBCO campus does not provide this.

There are two routes from Kelowna to the north, one is Hwy 97 and the other is Glenmore Road through the Glenmore Valley (maintained by the City of Kelowna). Both are congested with heavy and fast motor vehicle and truck traffic and both are dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians.

Your government has just announced an initiative to decrease greenhouse gases. Surely safe access for cyclists, to the north of Kelowna, including the UBCO campus are an important part of reducing GHG. Students, if encouraged to cycle, are likely to continue throughout their lives. I can assure you that the situation as it now stands is not at all encouraging for cyclists and pedestrians.

If you wish to view the situation on the ground, I would be happy to cycle the area with you and discuss the situation.

Please give this serious consideration for the inclusion of safe cycling and pedestrian access to UBCO and the other areas mentioned above.

Yours Truly,


Late this last week, after a telephone call to see if a response was forthcoming, I received the following reply:


Dear John:

Thank you for your e-mail of November 28, 2007, regarding your concerns about the lack of safe access for cyclist and pedestrians to the campus of the University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBCO).

I’m an avid cyclist myself, and I understand that promoting cycling in our province’s communities has numerous benefits, including personal health and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as you’ve noted. Our government has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30per cent by the year 2020, so creating opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians is becoming an even greater priority for us.

You may be pleased to learn that property acquisition for the new pathway is now underway, and should be completed early in 2008. Construction of a paved pathway should be finished in late spring of 2008. Once the path is finished, cyclists and pedestrians will not have to cross the Ellison Overpass or cross Highway 97 at an unsignalized intersection and will have safer access to UBCO and points north from the city.

The Ellison Overpass project included construction of a separated pathway to allow access for cyclists and pedestrians to campus, but there were delays in generating an acceptable design connecting the path to the city road network. In September, the conceptual design for an alternate route was completed, and while ministry staff had been in talks with CN Rail for some time beforehand, a formal application for land use was made in October.

As someone who enjoys cycling and is involved in the cycling community, you may be interested to know about other cycling infrastructure projects my ministry has undertaken. We’ve contributed $250,000 towards construction of bike lanes along Lakeshore Road, and spent $1 million to help build the bike path from downtown Kelowna to the Apple Bowl along the CN Rail right-of-way. As well, bike lanes were included as part of both the Highway 33 extension and Highway 33 four-laning projects. We’re also planning to provide signing to identify cycling routes that parallel Harvey Avenue.

If you have any further questions or concerns about cycling issues in and around Kelowna, Bill Smith, my ministry’s Project Director for the Okanagan Corridor, would be pleased to assist you. He can be reached at 250 712-3663 or by e-mail at

I hope you find this information useful. Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Best regards,

Kevin Falcon

There is no mention of the negotiations with CN Rail or KPR in the above letter. I wonder if that means they have come to a successful agreement?

I certainly hope that the route referred too (the north end of Adams Court to the UBCO campus) is completed by late spring this year – we will have to wait and see for now. As my grandmother used to say “the proof is in the pudding”.


Where are the Students?

February 22, 2008

Well over a year ago about 40 of us, mostly students did a “ride in” from the UBCO campus through Robert Road to City Hall where we met the Mayor and the Vice Chancellor of the University. The purpose was to publicize the lack of cycling access to UBCO and ask that the situation be improved.

Everyone at the event was polite and considerate but the end result was that nothing changed – some promises, little action. Since then the campus (with the exception of a very few people, mainly staff) has been extremely quiet on the cycling issue.

I can think of several reasons for the lack of activity on the part of students:

1) the student council is not interested in bikes. At least one of the council has been publicly vocal against the U pass and that same individual told me that “bikes might be ok for the likes of you but I’ve been driving since I was 16”. This fellow is less than 1/2 my age – sad.

2) some students are working two jobs to pay for school and understandably don’t have time or energy to advocate for cycling.

3) Kelowna is so wealthy that many students can afford to own and operate a motor vehicle – it is just so much easier than riding a bike.

4) since the biking routes to the campus are poor, few are encouraged to ride a bike and thus the “UBCO biking lobby group” is very small to start with.

It is too bad that the students are not more active – they could have a lot of political clout. We all know that Climate Change, Peak Oil and other aggravations will have no effect on Kelowna because we are such a privileged lot. However there are a few people who are very concerned that our generation has taken so much from the earth – resources that will never be available for our children and grandchildren. Perhaps a lobby group of students pointing this out to our political “leaders” would be effective where all other means have failed.


Robert Road Access – UBCO

January 30, 2008

This comment came in today regarding the UBCO access situation. I have made it a post as that is what Paul wanted. The link noted below is to a copy of a letter put in the Phoenix recently by Phil Armstrong. I have referred to it in a previous post.


“I can’t figure out how to start a new post here, so I’m just replying to the latest one. I scanned the recent article from the Phoenix (student newspaper) on bike access via Roberts Lake, and put it at

The riding on that road is better than the article outlines, but the private property issues are very real ones that I feel the University community is overstepping its hospitality. We have recently had fairly good relationships (or at least a lack of really bad relationships) with the property owners, but with all of the cars using the road to drop off students at the gate I think we’re looking at the issue blowing up on us again. That would be unfortunate.

Current road report: Packed snow, some ice especially at the entrance. Back gate is fine except for right after a plowing of the parking lot.”

Paul Shipley


Note: I am still learning about the use of the blog. The way it is set up now, only Grant or I can post directly. If you wish to contribute a new post please send it in as a comment with the request that it be a new post. Subject to our review that will be how it is treated.

Thanks for the information Paul,


Update – UBCO access Hwy 97

January 24, 2008

I received an email this morning from Bill Smith (Provincial Department of Transportation), the project manager of the Flyover into UBCO. He is the contact for the cycling route from the north end of Adams Court up to the campus.

Bill Smith stepped into this situation late in the day and is certainly in a difficult position with regards to dealing with several parties to make this route a reality.

Since there are ongoing negotiations with property owner(s) and the two railways I won’t provide details of the email other than to say that Bill advised that his department is actively pursuing both property acquisition and rail access to allow the cycling/pedestrian route to become a reality (my words).

I would encourage cyclists, students, pedestrians and other interested parties to write to the Minister of Transportation, City of Kelowna and UBCO asking that they do everything possible to resolve this problem. As it stands there is no safe access to the campus, airport or other points north of the Ellison Overpass on Hwy 97. The cycling/pedestrian bypass into the campus is sorely needed.


Cycling Advocacy Kelowna

January 23, 2008

In the non winter months there are a many cyclists on the roads in our area. Many are racers or triathletes but there are a considerable number of recreational riders and commuters.

There have recently been comments by City officials and politicians that the bike community in our area is “fragmented”. At the very beginning of a recent meeting with a local politician we were asked how many cyclists the KACC represented. Whatever your thoughts are on this approach, this is the general attitude of many of our senior officials.

I can’t recall the last time motorists had to lobby for better access to facilities – did it take a concerted effort by the motorist lobby to have the COB initiated? Did it take a concerted effort for them to have the flyover planned and completed? Does Kelowna have a “Kelowna Sport Utility Coalition (K-SUC)” dedicated to lobbying for improved roads and parking? Have those using motor vehicles waited 15 years to get legal and safe access to the local university campus?

The reality is that cyclists and pedestrians must lobby hard to be provided with safe and convenient facilities. Most of our roads, traffic signals, sidewalks and bike lanes are built with the needs of motorists a priority and the safety and convenience of non motorized traffic a secondary concern.

Some would argue that the City and Province have a responsibility to the majority (those driving motor vehicles). However, considering the social and environmental costs of building bigger and better motor vehicle related facilities, I believe that the City and Province have an obligation to provide decent and safe facilities for cyclists, pedestrians and other non motor vehicle transport users.

In some regards I am surprised at the amount of resources the City has put towards cycling facilities. Over the last few years there have been only a handful of people lobbying for better facilities. When Okanagan College opened what is now the UBCO campus, there was a brief time period when students, faculty and others lobbied for cycling access. This lobbying did not last for long and the result is that we have been faced with the same problem for over 15 years. In my opinion until there is a continued and loud outcry the City, Province and UBCO are unlikely to make a real effort to improve this situation. In fairness to UBCO, they are limited in their ability to improve access to the campus, however their voice could be much louder in asking (demanding) that the situation be remedied.

In some ways we may be getting what we deserve – if you as a cyclist or pedestrian want better and safer facilities speak up. Your best option is to be a part of the local cycling coalition as they lobby directly on these issues. If you sit on your butt and do nothing don’t be surprised when the cycling and pedestrian communities are shortchanged.