More bike lanes, walking paths could be coming to Summerside this year

Work could begin this summer on a five-year active transportation plan for Summerside, P.E.I.

Safety at road crossing to be a priority

Potential projects include bike and pedestrian corridors along Greenwood Drive, Pope Road, and improvements to existing trails in the city. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The City of Summerside, P.E.I., is keen to get rolling on new bike lanes and walking paths, as part of the push toward active transportation in Island communities.

Work could begin this summer on the first of several projects planned over the next five years. City staff updated council members on the plans Tuesday night at city hall.

"We are linking the north and south of the city, east and west in the city," said J.P. Desrosiers, director of community services.

"[We will] try to encompass all the nearby neighbourhoods."

Potential projects could include a bike and walking lane along Greenwood Drive and along Pope Road, as well a link between the city's commercial area and the downtown core. Improvements to existing trails on former railway lines in the city would be a priority.

Funding from the province over the next five years will be a big part of making it happen. Last fall, the province laid out its five-year framework to invest in active transportation, including use of cycling paths, electric vehicles and public transit.

"I would assume other municipalities are chomping at the bit just like we are to take advantage of that funding," Desrosiers said.

City staff are now crunching numbers to see what the work might cost. The city is also exploring promotional efforts, including new roads signs, markings, maps and bike racks. Safety at road crossing would be a priority.

"So drivers know they're going to expect a higher volume of bike or walking traffic in those areas and slow down," said Desrosiers.

The city could begin the tendering for the first project this spring, with work complete late summer or early fall.

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