Charlottetown aims to improve safety for cyclists by replacing an intersection with a roundabout
A new roundabout at the intersection of Belvedere Avenue, St. Peters Road and Brackley Point Road in Charlottetown will have separate bike lanes.
Com. Terry MacLeod says he’s heard pedestrians and cyclists talking about challenges at the so-called Vogue Optical intersection.
“There were a huge number of near-misses with pedestrians and cyclists, as well as cars,” he said.
One of the “technical challenges” for the proposed roundabout was to create a safe way for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate it.
“Part of this whole process was making sure it just wasn’t for cars,” he said. “There will be a lane for cars and there will be a lane for bicycles and suitable pedestrian crossings.”
MacLeod said the roundabout will also improve access for local businesses.
An opportunity for “really good design”
Isaac Williams of Bike Friendly Communities and an avid cyclist says the current intersection is not safe for cyclists – and neither are other roundabouts in the city.
“This is an opportunity to set a precedent for really good design,” he said.
“I’ve been through most of the roundabouts in the city and it can be nerve-wracking for even an experienced cyclist to navigate your way through it because you have to behave like a car.”
Williams points to the roundabout on Belvedere Avenue near UPEI, where cyclists are forced to ride alongside traffic through the roundabout because the bike lane simply disappears.
MacLeod said the planning process for the Brackley Point Road intersection caused council to reconsider the safety of other roundabouts in the city. He said there are plans to increase bike lanes along Belvedere Avenue and the UPEI roundabout.
“Cycling is becoming a very big part of our lives,” he said.
MacLeod did not give a timeline on when this work would be completed.
10 years of preparation
The construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Vogue Optical has been discussed for more than a decade.
MacLeod said the final piece of the puzzle is finally in place – the city has purchased land that is part of the nearby gas station owned by Cape D’or Holdings for $340,000.
“By the end of the summer, hopefully it will be started and finished in the fall,” MacLeod said.
Requests for proposals on the project close Friday. MacLeod estimates that the project will cost around five or six million dollars.