The Lake to Lake Cycling Route final design and approval to proceed received an unanimous yes from Penticton council, with work getting underway starting in May.
At a special meeting held March 31, Penticton city council unanimously approved the controversial bike lane project’s final design and funding so work could get started as soon as possible with a completion date of the cycle path by summer.
The city will work on the first phase of the bike lane barriers in the 100 to 300 block of Martin Street including removing parking and having the cycle track on the east side of Martin Street. While that will save Time Winery’s patio, it will impact parking for Pasta Factory, Decoy Tavern, Slackwater Brewery and some residential units as well as other businesses.
City general manager of community services Anthony Haddad said their will be minimal disruption to Martin Street when the work begins.
“We hope to have the downtown work complete by end of June,” said Haddad.
The city has chosen an open style steel barrier for downtown that will allow for wayfinding signage or logos on it.
“The traffic will be able to flow and the sidewalks will be open at all times,” said Haddad.
City council also approved a financial plan amendment to advance $600,000 from 2022 to 2021 for the Bike Network Planning and Infrastructure Project, funded from gas tax funds, and to incorporate the $1 million CERIP grant, to support construction of both sections 3 and 4 in 2021. The preliminary estimated cost for sections 3 and 4, when the overall route selection was endorsed, was $2.26 million.
Garbage pick up on Martin Street is still being worked out with waste management and might mean workers physically grabbing the cans from the bike lane and to the truck, said Haddad.
Mayor John Vassilaki said in his 15 years on council through the years, they have faced many controversial projects that had huge financial implications like borrowing to build the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“The community sure appreciates having the SOEC now,” he said.
Coun. Judy Sentes said she was asked by many voters to put the bike lane on pause because of the hardship of this long endured pandemic.
“But I support this and it will have a significant benefit to our community,” said Sentes.
Coun. Katie Robinson has been a huge proponent for the bike lane and was elated it is going ahead.
“The city will be reaping the benefits of it for decades to come,” she said.