In celebration of Bike to Work Week, we’re taking a look at some of the exciting trail blazing projects that are supporting cycling in the province. So grease your chain, hop on the saddle and start cruising all around the province on trails made possible by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Bike BC program and cost sharing with federal and local governments.
We’ll start our “Tour de BC” on Vancouver Island in the hometown of Ryder Hesjedal, who won the famous Giro d’Italia last weekend, before exploring cycling initiatives in Northern BC.
Vancouver Island: Rail Trail and Fresh Timber on the Kinsol Trestle
Whether travelling to work or simply out for a leisurely ride, cyclists can soon rely on a paved new connection between Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal and Langford. Phase 1 construction of the Rail Trail-Humpback Connector is underway, and will provide more than 14 kilometres of newly constructed trail within the E&N Rail Corridor while incorporating municipal road cycling lanes.
The trail will mean free-wheeling through new and growing communities and a green gateway for those West Shore residents working in downtown Victoria. Interested in following the progress? Check out the Flickr photostream.
Or, turn your bike into a time machine by visiting the historic Kinsol Trestle in the Cowichan Valley. Whooosh! Recently restored and now open to runners, hikers, horseback riders and cyclists, Canada’s tallest timber trestle (about the same height as the Port Mann Bridge at 44 metres) completes an important section of the Cowichan Valley Trail, connecting Shawnigan Lake to North Cowichan. The Cowichan Valley Trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
The trestle was built over the Koksilah River in 1920 to support the area’s timber industry, spanning about three hockey rinks in length (188 metres), but held its last train in 1979. After being refurbished to its original dimensions and designed with BC-grown Douglas-fir and cypress, the Kinsol Trestle now stands resurrected as a blast from the past for cyclists and other recreational movers.
Want to see the trestle rebuilt in less than a minute? Watch the time lapse video:
Northern BC: Pedal-Friendly Highways and Campus Connectors
Our northern highways are getting more cyclist-friendly, too. Take Highway 16 between Smithers and Telkwa, for example. The shoulders along this 15-kilometre stretch of road were recently paved and widened in order to make travelling safer for those cycling between communities. Also, new “Share the Road” signs add a helpful reminder for motorists.
Learn more about how the ministry is shouldering for safety on Highway 16 in this blog.
Follow Highway 16 west of Smithers and you’ll also be able to ride a new 1.5-metre wide bike lane along Lanfear Drive in Terrace as part of the Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program (CIPP).
Now, if you have the energy, pedal back east on Highway 16 until you reach Prince George. The Tyner Boulevard Trail added 2.6 kilometres of paved trail to the UNBC Connector Trail System, another pathway that encourages students to ride and helps cycling commuters in the Cranbrook Hill area. Neighbours to the north in Fort St. John also received CIPP grant funding for 500 metres of multi-use paved trails that link the local sports centre to other recreational trails in the area.
Okay, break out your water bottle – it’s time for a breather. Now that we’ve enjoyed the scenery on Vancouver Island and around the north, we’ll explore some of the new cycling infrastructure the ministry has supported around the rest of the province tomorrow in Part 2.