Viewpoint: Safety first or safety last?

I didn’t laugh and I didn’t cry when I read about the controversy over the cycling lane in front of Mitchell Brothers store on Manson Avenue in Cranberry. I did shake my head and let out a sigh of irritation when I read the article [“City addresses cycling concern in Cranberry,” September 28], in which City of Powell River staff and council were touting the need for the safety of cyclists on our streets. How can one disagree with safety you would all ask, and I would agree. But when the safety issue is held high in such situations, one has to look at what is reasonable.

People have been parking in front of Mitchell Brothers since 1946 and on both sides of the street. Any business that depends on “driving home traffic” as Mitchell Brothers does, needs full access and that would mean parking on both sides of the street.

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Something missing from this picture is the fact that this cycle lane ends on Manson Avenue just as soon as it passes the store.

Cyclists continuing down Manson no longer have this “safety-based cycling lane” as they pass the hotel and turn onto Cranberry Street.

The city would have us believe there would be cyclists run down in masses if this short cycling lane in front of this store were not in place when the truth is there are many streets that don’t have cycling lanes at all. It would be a simple matter to erect a sign stating “cycle lane ends ahead.”

Let people continue to park on either side in front of the store in order to run in and get their dinner supplies while cyclists proceed with caution as they always do.

This all takes on a whole different meaning when you look at our group’s continuing efforts to establish safety on that notorious stretch of Cranberry Street that runs around the North side of Cranberry Lake. This very narrow stretch of road is the only way for anyone to get around the north end of the lake.  There are no sidewalks at this location and on one side of the road the embankment rises up immediately and on the other side it drops away immediately.

The result is that all cyclists and pedestrians, some with small children and some pushing baby carriages, must walk or bike on the road itself. And even stranger, the city is constantly resisting our attempts to have them reroute the hundreds of gravel trucks and logging trucks that regularly use this very narrow and dangerous stretch of road. These haulers are endangering anyone who is simply trying to use this route to get to the other side.  Now that’s a real and obvious safety issue.

In retrospect, the wringing of hands regarding the short stretch of cycle lane in front of Mitchell Brothers is a true “tempest in a tea pot.”

Jerry Eskes is a Powell River resident.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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