PoCo residents stop new path for Patricia Avenue

Plans to build a $300,000 multi-use path on a northside Port Coquitlam street came to a halt last week.

Plans to build a $300,000 multi-use path on a northside Port Coquitlam street came to a halt last week.

At last Tuesday’s committee meeting, council members put the proposal for Patricia Avenue on hold following opposition from residents.

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The city, which had the three-metre-wide path as part of its 2013 Master Transportation Plan to improve pedestrian and cycling links on the east-west route, called for it to connect along Patricia from Shaughnessy to York streets.

It would have eventually run from the Hyde Creek recreation complex, and in front of École des Pionniers and Westwood schools as well as Wellington and Westwood parks.

The project — was to be funded 50% by TransLink — was backed by the city of Coquitlam as well as representatives from HUB Cycling and ICBC.

But at an open house last November, area residents opposed the bid, saying the path — to be located on the north side of Patricia — would take up too much space and be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

It would also eat up street parking spots and attract extra bike traffic, opponents told city staff at the open house or in writing.

Coun. Nancy McCurrach said she visited the area and “in 20 minutes, I did not see one bike or car. This is a really quiet street."

"This is not the place to have it,” she said of the path. “We don’t need to force it on them.”

To date, the city has spent $13,000 to prepare for the path.

Before unanimously deferring the proposal to the Master Transportation Plan revision next year, committee members told city staff they need to do a rethink on transportation improvement projects — and with future consultation.

“We are losing touch with what people want now, not 20 years from now,” Coun. Glenn Pollock said, referring to the Master Transportation Plan.

Coun. Laura Dupont said council has taken flack recently for traffic updates, citing past projects along Pitt River Road and Somerset Street, for example.

“This is the third time we have had staff invest time and resources where the residents in the neighbourhood have said they don’t want it,” Mayor Brad West said, adding, “If there’s no neighbourhood support, it’s a non-starter.

"We need to come up with a better way to proceed with projects from the beginning. When we update the Master Transportation Plan, we need to think about how we talk to residents about projects in their neighbourhood.

“It seems as though we are searching for things to do because the money is there. It seems to be a backward approach,” West said.

Coun. Steve Darling suggested city staff host pop-up open houses on weekends — in tents in affected neighbourhoods — rather than in the evenings at schools.

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