PEI

Victoria Park bike lane posts 'taking a beating,' posts designed to pop back up, city says

A city park user is raising concerns over a new set of posts separating vehicles from the bike lane in Charlottetown's Victoria Park. The posts are being knocked over by large vehicles into the lane they're meant to protect.

Harbour Hippo says it has permission to run over the posts, as there's not enough space

The city of Charlottetown installed posts in Victoria Park to prevent motorists from entering the bike lane. Now the posts are regularly knocked over by larger vehicles. (Rob LeClair/CBC)

A city park user is raising concerns over a new set of posts separating vehicles from the bike lane in Charlottetown's Victoria Park. The posts are being knocked over by large vehicles into the lane they're meant to protect.

Rob Walker was at the playground near the boardwalk when he first heard the problem. "These loud cracking, flapping noises. Like you could really hear it echoing through the whole park," Walker said.

When he turned around, Walker saw the Harbour Hippo, an amphibious tour bus, knocking over the new posts put in place by the city.

Walker said it's a safety concern as the vehicle was not only in the bike lane, but bringing down several posts along with it. 

"If it was just cars on the other side, maybe not a big deal but especially with having different infrastructure for cyclists and there's no protection for them. They're not in a car. They're just cycling, on roller blades," he said.

Posts installed for safety

The city installed the posts at the beginning of the summer. Public works manager Scott Adams said they were put in as a response to concerns that too many vehicles were using the bicycle lane as a passing lane when trying to drive around other vehicles parking along the boardwalk.

"They are veering into the bike lane and the concern was they weren't checking their shoulder, their blind spot, for a cyclist coming up behind them," Adams said.

The city said the posts are designed to be a visual cue for drivers and to snap back into place if they get hit, though that doesn't always happen.

"A lot of them, you can even see now, are sort of like half bent over and have a definite curve to them so they're definitely taking a beating from people hitting them," Walker said.

Permission to drive over the posts

The driving lane is a tight squeeze for larger vehicles. 

In an email to CBC, Harbour Hippo owner and operator Chad Casford said it's an issue that was discussed with the city at the beginning of the summer season.

The new posts at the park are designed to snap back into place if they get hit, but sometimes they get knocked completely out of their base and onto the road. (Rob LeClair/CBC)

"We voiced our concerns about space and were given permission to drive over the pylons," Casford wrote. 

"We are very aware of our surroundings while driving through this beautiful area and have had no issues with safety."

Casford said that the Harbour Hippo is often forced into the bike lane to avoid hitting vehicles parked along the boardwalk. 

Review at end of season, says city

When asked if the city would consider moving the posts to make enough room for larger vehicles, Adams said the plan was to keep the bike lane as is.

"We want every user to be able to use it comfortably. In narrowing in that lane, it may cause some issues with cyclists because you know bike lanes might get too narrow."

Adams said the city has heard a few concerns but has received mostly positive feedback about the new layout of lanes at the park. 

"Many residents in the area, they like the added safety measures for cyclists who are using the bike lane because they're less and less worried about the vehicle veering into the lane that they shouldn't be getting into," he said.

Scott said the posts are currently a pilot project and the concerns will be something the city takes into consideration when it does a review at the end of the year.

When asked if the city would consider eliminating parking along the boardwalk in Victoria Park, Adams said "no." 

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