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Richmond councillor balks at bike lane cost

Coun. Carol Day asked whether the $5.7 million price tag for a separated bike lane on Steveston Highway could be trimmed.
Richmond is planning a separated multi-use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians on the south side of Steveston Highway.

One city councillor took issue with the cost of building a bike lane on Steveston Highway while another questioned why it wasn’t located on Williams Road.

The $5.7 million price tag for a multi-use pathway from Railway Avenue to No. 2 Road, was called into question by Coun. Carol Day during city council’s budget deliberations Monday.

“These dollars just blow my mind,” Day said.

The cost of the entire multi-use pathway that will eventually run from Shell Road to Railway Avenue on the south side of Steveston Highway will be about $14 million, but about half is expected to be paid for by TransLink.

Day asked city staff whether the cost of the multi-use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians could be trimmed.

Lloyd Bie, director of transportation with the city, said it would cost about one-tenth to just put painted lines on Steveston Highway, but he said city staff have been given direction by council to create separated pathways when building on arterial roads.

This pathway will be separated from vehicular traffic and will include changes to the road lanes, more lighting and new crosswalks.

Furthermore, Bie said, if the bike path were put somewhere else, the city wouldn’t get funding from TransLink for it because Steveston Highway has been identified as a part of the regional bike network.

During the municipal election, Day was surveyed by the cycling advocacy group Hub, and she said she would like to see the budget for cycling infrastructure increased.

At the same meeting, Coun. Laura Gillanders said she was surprised the multi-use pathway was being built on Steveston Highway as she understood Williams Road was the preferred option.

“Even with the funding, I personally don’t know if we would want it on Steveston Highway,” Gillanders said. “But the previous council did, so I respect that.”

The three-metre-wide cycling and pedestrian path will cost about $5.7 million, but the city has applied for a $2.85 million grant from TransLink towards the project.

If the grant application isn’t successful, city staff will bring back another proposal to council.

The section from Shell Road to Mortfield Gate, costing $6 million, has already been approved and construction is expected to begin in early 2023.

The section from Mortfield to No. 2 Road is estimated to cost $2.5 million and is expected to be done next summer.

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