A Potential Cycling Path on l’Île d’Orléans?

A Potential Cycling Path on l’Île d’Orléans?

A proposal for cycling facilities on the l’Île d’Orléans where costs are estimated between $20 to 25 million was presented recently in Sainte-Famille in front of about 150 citizens, for whom security is a major issue.

After about 16 months of work, the Del Degan and Massé consulting firm submitted the preliminary proposal which is the fruit of consultations with stakeholders and community organizations as well as about 350 residents and 157 companies that have responded to a survey. The survey revealed that they are overwhelmingly in favour of cycling facilities, although two elements were essential to this project: security arrangements that would not involve the expropriation of any businesses or residents.

No less than 22 sections have been identified by the company in four evaluation criteria: minimize impacts on agricultural activities, to advantage of the agricultural landscapes and vistas of the river, join a maximum tourist attractions and shopping local businesses to this trail and allow the project to be completed in several phases.

Representatives have developed four options, including cost estimates that range from $1.5 million to approximately $55 million. The preliminary proposal is thus a compromise between these four options. “When you consider that this project includes 82 km of road, it is inexpensive compared to other projects,” asserts Louis-Mathieu Fréchette, the director of planning and land use at the Del Degan Massé firm, in regards to estimates between $20 to 25 million.

The four choices of facilities in different sections.  Rue Mitan and des Prêtres as well as sections of chemin Royal in the villages would act as designated sections of the path, like we see in Sainte-Pétronille Cyclists and cars would be required to share the same road, therefore signs would be painted on the asphalt road showing that roadway belongs to the cyclists.

A bicycle path would be built parallell sections of chemin Royal in St. Petronille, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Laurent. A paved path would be built parallel to the roads separated by a strip of grass about 1.5 metera in width. A paved shoulder would be on chemin Royal on the east side of the island, between Sainte-Famille and Saint-Jean. Cyclists would be alongside motor vehicles on a strip of asphalt about 1.5 metres in width, which would be built alongside the river side at first. A completely separate road track would be between the tower of Saint-François and the village.
It would be safe and affordable compromise in addition to being adapted to the needs of the island and traffic, according to Mr. Fréchette.

Concerns

Many have expressed their enthusiasm for the project while some expressed their concerns during the survey. An overwhelming majority recognizes that the safety of cyclists should be improved on the island. The proposal did not reassure some people, including a citizen of Saint-François, who would have preferred a more secure path to the proposed paved shoulder design. “The road winds and speeds easily reach 100 km/h in the area. Why not promote a continuous border,” they asked. Another resident was concerned to see cyclists share chemin Royal with heavy trucks and vehicles traveling at over 50 km/h.

A farmer asked stakeholders not to change the current speed limit and to be certain that the arrangements do not affect agricultural areas.
Some have questioned the economic benefits. The designers say that the targeted cyclists would take the time to visit the attractions. These tourists are expected to spend about $ 100 per day, so the cost of this development would be paid off in 25 years.
Citizens doubt that cyclists will spend as much as the proposed amounts as they visit. One of them believes that such impacts have not been adequately assessed and that the work must be done to the business side of the project.

Next Steps

Several steps must now be completed. It will complete the study of the selected options so that they then can make a document to show the representations at different levels in order to identify possible sources of funding. Subsequently, technical and feasibility studies should be made before consulting the population one last time. Bruno Del Degan said that the target implementation date of the project is in 2015.
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LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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