French Creek bridge bashed by bicyclists

Coalition wants government to change French Creek walkways

Oceanside Cycling Coalition member Gord Byers tries his hand at negotiating the narrow walkway on the French Creek bridge.

Even as members of the Oceanside Cycling Coalition met with officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about the narrow walkways on the French Creek bridge Tuesday, they were treated to a real-life situation that illustrated their point.

As coalition spokesperson Jim Swanson talked with transportation engineer Janelle Erwin about the problem, a pedestrian and an elderly man driving a medi-scooter met in the middle of the walkway overhead, forcing the younger pedestrian to scramble up onto the railing to get past.

“We didn’t set this up,” Swanson joked.

The coalition has been pushing for changes to the walkways ever since they received the results of a survey this spring about the challenges facing cyclists in the Oceanside area. The survey showed the narrow walkway was the number one concern of cyclists in the region. Swanson said many cyclists are intimidated by the .91-metre-wide wooden walkway and simply ride across the bridge in traffic.

That fear, he added, has often proven justified, with 10 out of the survey’s 62 respondents reporting sustaining some form of injury on the walkway.

That width, he noted, is well short of the Transportation Association of Canada standard of two metres.

Other problems identified by the group included poorly signed barriers and handrails that are worn and can catch people’s skin when they ride past.

Rather than the current wooden construction, which can get very slippery when wet, Swanson and his group suggested an aluminum structure be used instead. Such a structure would be lighter, allowing it to be wider.

The group’s position was bolstered by Regional District of Nanaimo parks and trails co-ordinator Joan Michel, who stressed the need for action on the bridge that went beyond merely erecting new signs.

“There’s an engineering solution,” she said. “This bridge will last for several more decades before it needs to be replaced, so we need an intermediate solution.”

Erwin said she and her team will discuss the issue with a ministry bridge engineer to see what can be done.

“We need to talk with our bridge engineers and see if the design will accommodate those loads,” she said. “If it can, we need to look  at the funding — what is the cost and how can that money be obtained.

She added however that she would like to the new signs put in place even as the engineering report is being prepared.

That didn’t sit well with Michel.

“Before we have new signage I would like to see the engineering report on retrofitting the bridge,” she said. “There’s a congestion issue here, clearly, so let’s get a number. Anything can be done with dollars, so let’s get a number on the table and get this resolved. That gives us the ability to see what we can do.”

Erwin thanked the group for their input and said she would keep in touch with both the coalition and the municipal governments involved.

 

Just Posted

Farewell to Parksville Beach Festival for 2019

People’s Choice Awards tallied, organizers report another successful year

Group aims to preserve French Creek tree

Save Estuary Land Society says bald eagles used tree for nest

UPDATE: Nanoose Bay residents miffed as roadwork on Northwest Bay Road causing long delays

‘I sat in traffic for a half-hour and moved approximately 50 feet’

Oceanside RCMP officer makes Alexa’s Team

Munro able to stop and process 15 impaired motorists during the past year

Oceanside Generals boost arsenal for coming VIJHL season

Coach Lemmon gets a good look at players at main camp

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Parksville man, 75, goes missing from north Nanaimo home

Police dog services called in to help with search

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Most Read