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District looking for public input on cycling plan

Survey is open to the public until May 25
Bikes on pavement. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The District of Kitimat is looking at shifting its cycling infrastructure into a higher gear.

In an effort to develop a local Cycle Network Plan, the District of Kitimat is asking residents to provide online feedback about what they’d like to see in terms of cycling facilities and network connections around the area.

Residents are being asked to complete an online survey which gauges their current satisfaction with the District’s cycling infrastructure. It also asks Kitimatians what sort of trips they use their bike for and how their biking routine changes from season to season in an effort to glean general data about the District’s current habits.

People are also asked if things like additional off-street pathways or marked bicycle lanes on the roadway are things they’d like to see developed in the area.

READ MORE: Kitimat could get a cycling path network

Likewise, the survey looks at if additional poor weather shelters, bike racks or signage would get them out on the road more often.

Notably, one of the suggestions is a dedicated cycle connection across the Kitimat River.

According to the District the plan will be focused on cycling as an alternative means of transportation, versus strictly recreational cycling. They commissioned the plan as a result of the province’s BikeBC program, run by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The result will be an analysis of local on and off-street pathways available to cyclists which will help them determine where to prioritize infrastructure improvements and what sort of supportive politices can be put in place. The District said this is being done with the overall goal of improving the biking experience in the region as an alternative to vehicle travel.

Residents are also being given the chance to point out locations they either have an interest or a concern with through an interactive system which allows them to tag specific locations and provide additional comments which will be reviewed by the District.

“Big trucks passing by can spray rocks and dust at you as you bike on the bridge walkway,” reads one comment with a tag over the Haisla River bridge.

Further south it was suggested the boulevard was too narrow to share with the industrial traffic in the area.

“This road is a disgrace,” reads a tag. “It’s not possible to safely jog or cycle to work for the hundreds and hundreds of employees who work in the industrial area.”

The map also gives residents the chance to offer suggestions for a future cycle plan. “There needs to be a walkway that connects to the walkway along Kuldo and goes along Quatsino in front of the soccer fields and connects to the newly-made walkway in front of Strawberry’ meadows,” reads another tag.

Another resident suggested upgrades to Kitamaat village road. “[It’s a] areat opportunity for improvements to allow cycling to Minette Bay and Kitamaat Village. Currently the road is not engineered to safely allow cyclists.”

The District told the Kitimat Northern Sentinel they will use the results to inform the final plan and see where public consensus sits. A target completion date for the plan has been set for July of this year.
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