Nanaimo’s cyclists might smell fresh paint depending on where they ride this summer.
Throughout 2017 the city has budgeted about $850,000 for several cycling route projects, starting with the Dover Bikeway and Turner (McGirr) Bikeway, a 6.5–kilometre upgrade incorporating 4.9km of dedicated bike lanes and 1.6km of shared use lanes that will connect existing north-south cycling routes to Lantzville and Woodgrove Centre and the Rutherford neighbourhood to the Dover Bikeway and commercial services around the Uplands Drive and Turner Road intersection.
About half of the cost of the $180,000 project is paid for thanks to $92,580 from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Bike B.C. funding announced Wednesday, part of $9.25 million the government is spending this year for cycling infrastructure projects throughout B.C.
Poul Rosen, city senior manager of engineering, said many of Nanaimo’s cycling route upgrades are piggybacked on other infrastructure projects to save money.
“The Turner-Dover Bikeway, that one’s actually out for tender right now, so we expect that will get built this spring,” Rosen said.
Several other cycling routes will be upgraded or created this year, too.
Phil Turner, city manager of engineering projects, said that project and others this year are part of the city’s Transportation Infrastructure Master Plan.
“This year was big year for us. We did quite a few projects … We have another one coming out on Pine Street between Bowen Road to Third Street and then there’s also another one on Estevan.”
The Estevan route will connect Terminal Avenue via Princess Royal Ave and Estevan Road with Departure Bay Road by adding bike lanes and pedestrian improvements in the summer.
Looking beyond 2017, cyclists will eventually have a parallel bypass route around Bowen Road’s high vehicle traffic volumes and narrow driving lanes on the Boxwood Road connector.
“We still have a long way to go, but it is improving,” Rosen said.
To learn more about cycling and pedestrian improvement projects, please visit the City of Nanaimo website’s engineering projects section at http://bit.ly/2mAkEef.