Fixing cycling gaps in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, a bit at a time

The bike advisory committee floated that suggestion to Maple Ridge council last week as a way of creating a temporary path, off the roadway, until 128th Avenue/Abernethy Way is completely rebuilt.

Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition spokeswoman Jackie Chow on Lougheed Highway near 224 Street.

Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition spokeswoman Jackie Chow on Lougheed Highway near 224 Street.

If you’re digging up the dirt and burying a major water main and doing all that work, why not slap down some pavement on top – and make it easier to pedal east-west off the busy Abernethy Way corridor?

The bike advisory committee floated that suggestion to Maple Ridge council last week as a way of creating a temporary path, off the roadway, until 128th Avenue/Abernethy Way is completely rebuilt.

Metro Vancouver will start extending the main water line in the area this fall, so the committee asked the regional government to do the bit of extra work between 203rd and 256th streets.

A bike lane currently runs west from 210th Street, leaving cyclists to struggle east of that on a narrow, crowded 128th Avenue/Abernethy Way.

The long-term plan is to widen 128th Avenue/Abernethy Way from 210th Street to 232nd Street, after which it would have bike lanes on both sides.

Bike committee chair Alex Pope says putting a new path on top of the new water main would take advantage of the construction work already underway.

That could create a temporary bike path on 128th/Abernethy Way from 210th to 224th street, while from 224th to 232nd Street it would be off road.

Cyclists can also look forward to bridging eventually of another major cycling gap.

Design work is now underway on putting in a cycle path along Lougheed Highway between 222nd Street and Laity Street. That will allow cyclists to safely connect from the western part of the district to the downtown.

Council has set aside money for that.

Lougheed Highway is the future corridor for light rail to downtown Maple Ridge, if that ever arrives in the district.

Pope noted in a presentation to council that another seven kilometres of bike lanes have been added in Maple Ridge in the past year, resulting in a total of 29 dedicated on-street bike lanes and 13 kilometres of shared bike lanes. The 1-2-3 Route that runs north of Dewdney Trunk Road from 203rd to 256th Street, connected another 10 kilometres.

Also new this year was the opening of the North Alouette Greenway Bridge. That allows cyclists to ride from the Alouette River dikes in Pitt Meadows to the eastern suburbs in Maple Ridge without having to go on to 132nd Avenue.

Another, separate path was created when 240th Street was rebuilt between Abernethy Way and Dewdney Trunk Road.

The committee is having a contest inviting cyclists to photograph themselves at a municipal event then send it to bikecontest@mapleridge.ca.

In Pitt Meadows, new bike lanes were added on to Ford Road, between Harris and Baynes roads, while Kennedy Road Bridge opened allowing cyclists to stay on the bike path paralleling Lougheed Highway.