A major road in Coquitlam’s City Centre neighbourhood will be sectioned off next year for bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, skateboards and other micro-mobility devices.
The municipal plan to delineate Guildford Way — from Pinetree Way to the Port Moody border, in both the east- and westbound lanes, with a curb to separate traffic from cyclists and e-riders — was raised on Monday, as the city’s council-in-committee reviewed upcoming changes to Coquitlam’s overall cycling network.
Canisius Chan, the city’s transportation planning manager, told council the Guildford Greenway will be designed this year with construction expected to begin in 2022. The driving lanes will stay and won’t be affected by the multi-use paths, he said.
The separated pathways follow pilot projects in the cities of Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver and the district of North Vancouver, where the provincial government has allowed eight municipalities to enact bylaws to allow e-scooters.
He said the popularity of bikes and micro-mobility uses surged during the lockdown when many public transit users opted for other transportation modes. In June, the city also hired a cycling and micro-mobility specialist.
“This is important for us because, especially through the COVID pandemic, we’ve seen an uptake in active transportation,” Chan said. “We want to capitalize on that momentum.”
According to a staff report, less than one per cent of Coquitlam residents get around by bike, largely due to the incomplete bike network and steep topography.
Under the city’s Strategic Transportation Plan, which is now being updated for council’s consideration, the goal is to have 30 per cent of all trips be “sustainable” — i.e., walking, biking, rolling or taking public transit (bus or SkyTrain) — by the year 2031.
Staff are now tracking their uses in high-transit neighbourhoods like City Centre and Burquitlam-Lougheed before setting a policy framework on micro-mobility modes.
They’re also tapping into recommendations made by a consultant last year, who found in an assessment that the city’s current infrastructure failed to meet shared-transportation safety measures; the consultant also suggested adding wayfinding signs and pavement markings, as well as more bike storage — especially on TransLink properties.
Recently, the city installed more bike racks in Austin Heights, Chan said.
SHORT-, MEDIUM- AND LONG-TERM
While the proposals are “not cast in stone,” said Jaime Boan, Coquitlam’s general manager of engineering and public works, the changes to the cycling network — to fill in the gaps and to retrofit — fall in three categories: short term (within five years); medium term (five to 10 years); and long term (more than a decade away).
In the short term, the city is eyeing all or part of these streets for cycling updates:
- Cedar Drive
- Pipeline Road
- Guildford Way
- Lougheed Highway (Holly Drive through səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview Lands)
- Regan Avenue (connecting Como Lake Park to Burquitlam station)
- Hartley Avenue
- United Boulevard
- Austin Avenue
- Gatensbury Street
There will also be a connection from Mundy Park to the Coquitlam Central station, and a new link from Blue Mountain Park to the Lougheed Town Centre station.
The medium-term plan calls for paths along Cedar Drive, Dewdney Trunk Road, Marmont Street, Austin Avenue and a connector from Mariner Way to Colony Farm.
Meanwhile, under the long-term plan, some existing cyclist routes will be eliminated while new ones will be created; many will be tied to other construction projects.
Besides the planned infrastructure, the city expects to launch the Learn2Ride course, for students in grades 4 and 5, at five elementary schools in School District 43 next year:
- Baker Drive
- Eagle Ridge
- Porter Street
If successful, the program to learn about cycling skills and etiquette will roll out in all Coquitlam schools, starting in 2023, Chan told the committee on Sept. 27.
Mayor Richard Steward, who rides an e-bike, said education for drivers and pedestrians is vital as cycling and e-transportation vehicles become more prominent.
And Coun. Brent Asmundson urged city staff to account for e-vehicles that can be manipulated to go faster with bigger batteries and better coding. He cited an example of an e-scooter in his neighbourhood that can travel up to 70 km/h.
“We have long-term thinking on this, but we have to move quicker,” Coun. Chris Wilson stressed. “I know it’s expensive, and I know that we have a lot of priorities but if we’re truly going to make cycling more popular and if we’re going to achieve the goals that we have, we’ve got to make it very safe and very convenient.”