Cycling committee releases network plan 

New routes, new facilities, and an educational program proposed

New routes, new facilities, and an educational program proposed

On June 2, the Whistler Cycling Committee (WCC) released the first draft of a comprehensive bicycle network plan that will make it easier and more convenient for Whistler visitors and residents to walk and pedal their way around town.

According to committee chair Keith Bennett, a member of the municipal planning department and the current president of WORCA (Whistler Off Road Cycling Association), public input will play a large role in the formation of the final plan.

"At this stage, we want to hear from everybody – what do they like about the draft, what don’t they like, what help we can offer people and businesses to get people into bicycle commuting," he says.

"We tried to be as comprehensive as we could in the draft to give people something to think about."

The draft includes plans to expand and link sections of the Valley Trail system, plans to widen highways wherever possible to include commuter lanes, and plans to provide end-of-trip facilities at the most commonly visited areas of Whistler.

Some of the highlights include:

• New sections of Valley Trail and bike paths to link Lakeside, Wayside and Rainbow Parks, connecting with the existing Valley Trail from Alta Vista to Lakeside; Alpha Lake Park to Function Junction; Myrtle Philip Community School to Highway 99 north of Spruce Grove, connecting with a lane that connects Nesters to Meadow Park; Spruce Grove Park to the Valley Trail at Nicklaus North; and trails connecting the Whistler Creek Development to Bayshores and the highway heading south to Function Junction.

• End of trip facilities for primary destinations of the Village, Function Junction, Spring Creek Community School, Whistler Creek, Myrtle Philip Community School, Meadow Park and Whistler Secondary.

• Improved facilities at Rainbow Park, Upper Village, Lost Lake Park, Nesters and Spruce Grove.

The map contains dozens of smaller additions, all designed to improve the flow of bike traffic and to cut down on trip times and inconvenient detours.

While Bennett says it could take a decade to put all the various components of the plan into place, enlisting the co-operation of the key players now will ensure that bikes will be considered by agencies like the Ministry of Transportation and B.C. Rail when they build or upgrade their own networks.

"I don’t believe that this plan is going to be so specific, but more of a set of guidelines," he says. "We’ll definitely have recommendations to make when a road is rebuilt, whether we’re looking at a wider shoulder, bikeways, bike lanes, shared roadways – we don’t think of the plan in terms of deadlines, but say if a road is being rebuilt, let’s incorporate the guidelines we’ve developed in this plan."

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