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Letters: Steveston Highway bike lane funding doesn't make a bad idea good

A Richmond News reader is concerned that the city is pushing through the proposed bike lane because it's getting TransLink funding
A proposed bike lane on Steveston Highway was paused as the city looks at the feasibility of having it on Williams Road instead.

Dear Editor,

I wish to add my voice to those who are concerned about the proposed cycling lane on Steveston Highway. 

There is a multitude of reasons why an upgrade to the existing Williams Road bike lanes is more sensible than the proposal for Steveston Highway.  Among them are:

­— Far less traffic and therefore fewer points of conflict;

— Far fewer major entry/exit points for businesses and access routes to adjacent residential streets;

— Entry and exit from the Westwind subdivision to and from Steveston Highway is already a problem without introducing more points of conflict on one of our busiest roads;

— There is more available width on Williams to accommodate a bike lane without affecting traffic lanes.

­— The single traffic lane on Williams is more than adequate to accommodate the traffic.

The projected total cost of the Steveston Highway proposal is in excess of $17 million and climbing. This is an enormous amount of money for the realized benefit and is clearly not a responsible use of public funds when the value for money quotient is properly considered.

It is evident that city staff are fixated on the prospect of losing $5 million of funding from TransLink if the bike lane is not built on Steveston Highway and that this is part of their justification for the Steveston Highway option. 

In my view this is not a cogent reason for making a bad decision. If the proposal is a bad idea on its merits, getting funds for the same taxpayer body via TransLink won’t make it a good idea.

I am thankful to the general purposes committee for its recent decision to send the proposal back to staff for reconsideration, and to consider the feasibility of a Class A bike lane on Williams Road. We can only hope staff will give the Williams Road option a fair and balanced assessment.

I have asked the city on several occasions to provide more details of the proposal and to arrange an opportunity for meaningful in-person dialogue with the citizens who will have to live with the results, but so far I have not seen any willingness to do either. Hopefully that opportunity will be provided.

Neil Cumming


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