Transport Action BC

2012, May 11

Kamloops Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge

Filed under: Pedestrian — Tags: , , , , , — Matthew @ 10:25 pm

The long awaited bridge and paths linking the eastern end of downtown with the Rivers trail and the Valleyview are complete. See the bridge and trails on OpenStreetMap. The bridge and trail will do a lot for walking and cycling in Kamloops; linking parts of the city that have been disconnected for decades. The highway interchange (the Trans Canada and the Yellowhead Highway junction) and the Canadian Pacific mainline go through the area. There hasn’t been a safe way to walk between Valleyview and the central area of Kamloops until this new path opened.

Some people complained about the high cost of the trails and bridge, saying that the money would have been better spent building more parking spaces at the hospital. It certainly was expensive and did go over budget, but it was a difficult site with the railway and highway on-ramps in close proximity, and both had to remain open at all times. A lot of retaining walls had to be built to squeeze the trail in between the existing lanes. Poor decisions in the past when the interchanges was built led to this expensive solution today. Why didn’t they build a proper sidewalk at the time? That’s a good question, but I think the idea was that people should be forced into cars or the infrequent bus. Walkers and cyclists were just not thought important enough. We’ve come a long way since those dark days, but it is still an uphill battle to get proper and safe sidewalks, paths and bike lanes so that there are real alternatives to driving. I think Kamloopsians will grow to appreciate this important link on the eastern side of the city.

Coincident with the new bridge and paths is a new designated bike lane through central Kamloops. Aligning along Nicola and St Paul streets, which see less car traffic then nearby roads, it links the new bridge to the west (downtown). The north side of the bridge connects to the River’s Trail and an unpleasant sidewalk on the Yellowhead highway bridge towards Tk’emlups Band territory. The east link connects to on-road bike lanes on Valleyview Drive.

These links will certainly attract a lot of users once they discover it, but the bike route will soon frustrate commuter cyclists due to the number of stop signs and “Stop and Dismount” signs.

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4 Comments

  1. As a vocal cycling promoter, I do not recommend “Bike Lanes” or “Bike Trails”, as these are practically suicidal for cyclists, while giving the false impression that “something” is being done to address the issue.

    In order for cycling to be fully embraced as a functional means of transportation, communities need to provide “Bikeways”. I have produced the following list of “Attributes” that “Bikeways” should have. These are…

    The 12 Attributes of Bikeway Networks, by Paul-André Larose, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Version 2010/04/07 – Rev. 2012/04/12)

    Cycling can be either of a Competitive, Recreational or Functional nature; as a result, there are three types of Cycling. This document deals with one of these, namely “Functional Cycling”; this is a form of Active Transportation, intra-urban in nature, that is known as “Cyclo-Mobility”.

    For cycling to be widely accepted, it must be made safe – presently, it is NOT, as a result of a lack of proper infrastructures. In particular, city streets must be viewed and designed in a way that is not “Auto-Centric”; in fact, the purpose of transportation should be to move people and goods, not cars. A key element towards this is the provision of Bikeways in the streetscape.

    In the same manner that motorized vehicles depend on maintained (and plowed) roads, similarly Bikeways require a basic level of maintenance. They should not be seen as suitable only for mild-weather months. Moreover, they should not be confused with Bike Trails, as these are recreational and generally go where the topography permits, not where the functional needs really are.

    Bikeways can have different levels of sophistication (and costs) depending on the type of intra-urban road conditions and traffic; these need not be a drain on municipal resources. Whenever possible, low-traffic non-arterial roadways can be used successfully in this manner. The essential requirement however is that there has to be a “Political Will” to address the issue.

    A Bikeway does not exist in isolation, but rather it is part of a Bikeway Network. In addition, it has the following Twelve Attributes:
    1. Functional: Providing corridors linking ”Need To Go” places
    2. Safe: Free of moving/parked vehicles and pedestrians
    3. Secure: No isolated, unlit or inaccessible areas
    4. Quasi-Direct: Minimal increase in travel distance
    5. Gap-Free: Continuous interconnection of routings
    6. Conflict-Free: Smart intersection designs and protocols
    7. Extensive: City-wide coverage within a 0.5 km grid
    8. Unrestricted: Usable at any time, in any season, 24/365
    9. All-Weather: No splashing and timely snow removal
    10. Integrative: Ties-in with parking, buildings and transit
    11. Beautifying: Adds to streetscape and neighborhoods
    12. Cost-Effective: For users, taxpayers and businesses

    Major street-rebuilding projects, whether financed by Municipal or Regional Authorities, provide opportunities to introduce bikeways at minimal cost within the urban streetscape.

    People are invited to contact Municipal Council to express support for the Bikeway Concept. In so doing, please stress the need for “Bikeways”, not “Bike Lanes”, not “Bike Trails”.

    Comment by Paul-André Larose, Ph.D. — 2012, May 14 @ 6:23 am

    • I don’t think this facility is in any way suicidal. As a pedestrian facility it is great, as a bike facility it isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than the previous arrangement. It is more geared to the novice cyclist who isn’t comfortable riding in mixed traffic. The main part is physically separated from the road so is very safe.

      Comment by Matthew — 2012, May 15 @ 10:52 pm

      • I never implied that this particular facility was suicidal.

        What I said is cycling in a society that puts emphasis on roads (and joint use of these roads) certainly is.

        I reproduced a document that I use around here to summarize what we should be striving for – hoping that it could be useful to others

        Comment by Paul-André Larose, Ph.D. — 2012, May 16 @ 7:06 am

  2. I grew up in Valleyview in the mid-1960s and cycling / walking to downtown was never considered a real transport option – even when the highway was only two lanes wide (no paved shoulders in those days) and led onto Columbia Street. There was a privately operated, single bus system into town but it was quite unreliable and service was sporadic. As teenagers, we would hitchhike but that didn’t get parental approval. Often the only transport solution was to determine whose parents could be dragooned into providing a ride.

    The construction of the Highway 1 bypass, the Yellowhead highway, related interchanges and the freeway upgrades with the opening of the Coquihalla highway led to the current “dog’s breakfast” of ramps and retaining walls. Even with a separated pedestrian and bicycle route, I am sure walking and riding through the area is not pleasant.

    One question though, how has the pedestrian/bike route been constructed from the north side of the highway to Valleyview Drive on the south side? What kind of crossing is made over the westbound exit ramp from Highway 1 to Battle Street?

    Comment by Rick — 2012, May 21 @ 8:47 pm


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