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Letters  

Bike lanes better way to go

Re. Bike path needs 'rethink' (Castanet, Feb. 27)

Like many cyclists in Kelowna, I am an active user of both the Mission Creek Greenway and the Okanagan Rail Trail.

These are very popular with both families and recreational riders, with the rail trail being used by many commuters as well. Connecting these two paths will improve safety and quality of life for many residents.

I am opposed to this petition.

Multi-use paths (MUPs) are an old-fashioned, unsafe, unpopular and more expensive method of providing protected bike lanes. Pedestrians routinely feel unsafe sharing a lane with cyclists, just as those who ride bikes are often slowed down by pedestrian traffic if they choose to act responsibly.

In the past, the City of Kelowna built many MUPs, but has moved away from them due to feedback from pedestrians and other users.

The Barrera MUP and Leckie/Baron MUP both demonstrate why a MUP is not a good solution—with less use, conflict with pedestrians and lower efficiency. I support the bidirectional bike lane city staff have proposed. To my knowledge it will connect directly to the existing paths while keeping pedestrians safe.

Protecting as much car parking as practical is important, but so is keeping the sidewalk safe for people who walk from their cars to the businesses in question. The current design reflects a compromise that balances the safety needs of both pedestrians and cyclists.

I would also point to numerous studies that show how protected bike lanes increase property values, increase small business revenues (by between 24% and 49%, according to CBC) and lower traffic noise.

For example, the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce once vehemently opposed protected bike lanes, but now support them, due to their positive impacts for businesses.

Davis Kyle
president, Kelowna Cycling Coalition



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