Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

VERNONTAXPAYER
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Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by VERNONTAXPAYER »

Jan. 5, 2020
In November the City of Vernon changed the painted lines on 15th St. from ,21st Ave. to Hwy. 6 and made a “shared pathway”. They did this by eliminating the bike lane on the east side and making each of the vehicle lanes about 1 foot narrower. They plan to continue this pathway on Middleton Way from Hwy. 6 to Kosmina Rd. They placed concrete barriers between some of the “Pathway” and the vehicle lane heading south and plan to erect 3 foot tall plastic posts between the pathway and vehicle traffic for part of the pathway.

They have installed 30 new signs on posts or on the concrete barriers. They say they made the “pathway” to increase safety for students going to and from Vernon Secondary School and for other pedestrians and cyclists.


I have been cycling or walking on this stretch to and from work for over 20 years. Following are my observations and opinions.


When crossing Pottery Rd. heading south on 15th street the City cut out a section of the traffic island to make the pathway level for cyclists. From here the pathway leads you across the turning lane that goes from Pottery Rd. onto 15th St. When you get across the turning lane there is a sidewalk heading west on Pottery Rd. but no sidewalk or shared pathway back heading onto 15th St. The City plans to cut away the bank on that corner and extend the “path” to join the sidewalk. Is this going to make this turning lane narrower also? It looks like they will also have to move a fire hydrant to do this. Cyclists used to go straight across Pottery into the bike lane and they and pedestrians still can (there is about 10.5 feet between the island and the southbound lane), so the cut through the island and the extension of the shared path around the corner are not needed and are a waste of taxpayers’ money.

On the west side of 15th St., the previous bike lane and shoulder were about 6 ft. wide at its’ narrowest and about 17 feet wide or more for most of the rest of that side of the road. The narrower section is only about 10% of the distance form Pottery Rd. to Hwy. 6. At 15 Ave. where there is a sidewalk, it is 24 feet from the west edge of the sidewalk to the south driving lane. This was plenty of room for a cyclist and pedestrians. They have made the “shared pathway” about 9 feet wide at its’ narrowest and 20 feet or more at its’ widest and 27 feet next to the sidewalk at 15 Ave. Most of this is wider than the driving lanes! Making this wide a path with concrete barriers is OVERKILL! The concrete barriers take up 2 feet of space that could have been for the driving lanes or cycling and pedestrian lanes. The city only put the barriers on less than half (not counting driveways or cross streets) of the distance between Pottery and Hwy. 6. So if half the distance is “safe” without them, then barriers aren’t needed on any of it. I don’t think making a pathway where cyclist and pedestrians are travelling in both directions at the same time is safer!

For pedestrians heading south on the west side of 15th, the designer of this change is ignoring the DriveBC rule that pedestrians must walk facing the oncoming traffic. You can’t avoid what you don’t see coming at you.

South of 15th Ave., the shared pathway is next to the sidewalk where the bus stop is. Now buses have a separate lane between the vehicle lane and the shared pathway. So bus passengers now have to step off the sidewalk then walk through the shared pathway to get onto the bus, which makes it more difficult for elderly passengers and those with walkers, strollers etc. The City bus does not have a scheduled stop at this bus stop during the busy times students are walking to or from school. After the “path” was created and just before the concrete barriers were put in place, I spoke with the transit office and to one bus driver on this route and neither of them had heard that there was any change to where the bus stops. Since there is already a sidewalk there for pedestrians, then a “shared pathway” isn’t needed here and they could have left the bus stop as it was. The city’s plans to erect 3 foot high plastic posts along some of the pathway, but this won’t stop any vehicle that goes towards them, so why waste money on them.


On the east side of 15th St. heading north from Hwy 6 there is still a bike lane which now abruptly ends at 14 St. Also, there is still a “Share the Road” sign with a picture of a bicycle and vehicle on this section! They have eliminated the rest of the bike lane that was on the east side from 14th Ave. to Pottery Rd., so cyclists who were travelling south in the bike lane on Middleton way or from Hwy. 6 now have to cross 15th St. to get onto the shared pathway and again at Pottery to get back onto the bike lane heading north of Pottery Rd. This is more inconvenient and dangerous for cyclists. And the City wants to promote more cycling? The bike lane and shoulder on the east side was about 6 feet wide at its’ narrowest and 16 feet or more at its’ widest which was plenty of room for a cyclist and a pedestrian.

I observed pedestrian and cyclist traffic on 15th street between Pottery Rd. and Hwy 6 on Nov. 27th for 40 minutes between 3 and 3:40 pm (its’ busiest time of use) while students were heading home from VSS and saw that 18 pedestrians walked south in the “shared pathway” and 15 still used the east side of 15th (You can’t tell a teenager or adults where they should or shouldn’t walk or cycle!) So, 33 pedestrians were spread out over a 40 minute period and on both sides of the road. Also one cyclist rode on the east side of 15th. Other days I have seen cyclists and pedestrians on the east side. Eliminating the bike lane on the east side does not make it safer for all pedestrians and cyclists. I asked the City for stats on how many accidents there have been between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists on this stretch of road and the answer was none in the last 5 years!


They made each of the driving lanes about 1 foot narrower. By making the vehicle lanes narrower it makes it more dangerous for vehicles, especially the School buses that travel that stretch to and from the School Board yards. Not to mention City buses and other large vehicles like dump trucks.


I believe the way it was, worked fine for both pedestrians and cyclists. This change was not needed. By installing the concrete barriers and plastic posts next to the shared pathway, it makes it more difficult to clear snow from the roadway and shared pathway and to sweep it all in the summer months. They will have to have separate snow clearing and sweeping vehicles for clearing the shared pathway. This will cost the taxpayers more! After the road was plowed after a recent snowfall, the plow pushed snow against the concrete barrier, making the driving lane 2 – 3 feet narrower! They also cleared part of the “pathway” but it was 4 days later that they cleared the section from 14th Ave. to the bus stop. This section should be the highest priority with pedestrians going to and from the Health Unit.

A few days after the snowfall and after the path was cleared, when heading south, the entrance to each section with barriers was still snowy and icy. This is not “safer”. Five days after the heavy snowfall on Dec. 31st, the part of the pathway with barrier closest to Hwy. 6, still had not been cleared! The snow has been trampled down some, melted some and refroze making this part of the “pathway” more dangerous and not safer. The City just put a notice in the newspaper reminding everyone that snow must be cleared from sidewalks within 24 hours. They aren’t following their own rules! If the concrete barriers weren’t there, the plow could clear the pavement right over to the curb or shoulder like it did on the east side.

Since they are putting concrete barriers and plastic posts next to the shared pathway to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, then they should put them next to all cycling lanes in the city. Or are pedestrians more valuable than cyclists?
Four of the 30 new signs (more OVERKILL & waste of taxpayers’ money) are confusing and say “Trail Crossing Ahead” (what happened to “shared pathway”) with a picture of a bicycle (but not pedestrians), to advise that there is a shared path at the next T intersection. This is not necessary or are they going to put “sidewalk crossing ahead” before all sidewalks at all T intersections or cross streets in the City?


The City also plans to continue the “shared pathway” onto Middleton Way south of Hwy. 6 up until Kosmina Road where there already is “Share the Road” sign for cyclists and pedestrians. Are they going to eliminate the bike lane on the east side also? Are they going to make the Middleton Way traffic lanes narrower also? There any many large vehicles (semi’s, tractors with one or two trailers, cement trucks, garbage and recycling trucks and others) who turn onto or off of Middleton at Hwy. 6. Is it going to be safer for vehicles or pedestrians or cyclists or vehicles? Is the City going to cut through 2 islands to make a level pathway? There is currently room for cyclists to ride straight across Hwy. 6, so cutting into the islands is not necessary. Where the crosswalk at the southwest corner leads from the current island to the edge of the road, are they going to make a shared pathway on that west side of the road (which would make the turning lane onto Middleton narrower)? If they put concrete barriers like they did on 15th street, that will take up another 2 feet and there won’t be a pullout for large vehicles wanting to stop at 7-11. If the new shared pathway ends at Kosmina Rd, what about the section between Kosmina Rd until the sidewalk starts on the east side Middleton? Is this section “safe” but the rest of Middleton and 15th St. aren’t?


There are other shared pathways in town that are about 5 feet wide (eg. From 25 Avenue through to Coursier park and beyond to 30 Crescent. Also there are some sidewalks with a bike lane next to it which are a total of 6 feet wide and some bike lanes in town are just 3 feet wide. The City also told me that they plan to put a sidewalk on the west side of 15th. If that’s the plan and they remove the barriers, then there was already enough room for a sidewalk and a bike path and for leaving the bike path on the east side, so they didn’t have to waste their time and our money doing this “shared pathway” first!

If the City wanted to make the paths wider on 15th St., they could have added one foot to each side with the 2 feet they took off the driving lanes or they could have left the east bike lane as it was and added 2 feet to the west side.

I am asking the City to put the roadway back the way it was. They should take the barriers away and add that 2 feet back onto the east side and recreate the bike lane there. At least they could add about 1 ½ feet of pavement on the east side to remake the bike lane. There is already enough payment on that side for a good portion of the bike lane. I urge all of you to send your comments and concerns to the City of Vernon. Please send an email to [email protected] and address it to Mayor and Council.
Ron Dawson, Vernon BC
Gixxer
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Re: Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by Gixxer »

What's the TL;DR version?
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kgcayenne
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Re: Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by kgcayenne »

I second a TL;DNR edition.

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kiabird
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Re: Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by kiabird »

The 1-foot narrower vehicle lanes are definitely an issue as trucks or buses approach one another.
I find the shared pathways -- all of them -- way too wide, having removed too much space from the driving lane (as on Kal Rd
Last edited by Catsumi on Jan 8th, 2020, 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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spooker
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Re: Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by spooker »

kiabird wrote:The 1-foot narrower vehicle lanes are definitely an issue as trucks or buses approach one another.
I find the shared pathways -- all of them -- way too wide, having removed too much space from the driving lane (as on Kal Rd


The nice thing about narrowing vehicle lanes is that it causes them to go slower ... and slower traffic is safer for everyone

And while OP says that he's been riding here for 20 years without a problem, these types of changes are to encourage new cyclists who won't ride a bike because it doesn't feel safe ... sure, I'd love to hear the concrete barrier be extended so as to cover the whole path ...

Investing in changes that increase active transportation have been shown to pay off better than any other type of infrastructure investment ...
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dontrump
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Re: Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by dontrump »

kiabird wrote:The 1-foot narrower vehicle lanes are definitely an issue as trucks or buses approach one another.
I find the shared pathways -- all of them -- way too wide, having removed too much space from the driving lane (as on Kal Rd


agreed kal lake road conversion was a total brain failure in the planning department regarding width for sure :130:
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Glacier
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Re: Shared pathway not needed and waste of taxpayer money

Post by Glacier »

kgcayenne wrote:I second a TL;DNR edition.

:sleepdeprived:

Basically, this...
15th.jpg

15thb.jpg
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