New bike racks, pathway for two-wheel trips in Maple Ridge

Awaiting funding to fill gap for new path along Lougheed Highway

The District of Maple Ridge unveiled a bike rack that resembles the outline of a chicken Saturday in Memorial Peace Park.

The hope is that seeing the real thing will spark downtown businesses and make it easier for those on two-wheels to stop and spend their money.

That’s been the plan at least, to encourage stores to put up bike racks outside their stores, ideally racks that have a decorative touch and relate to the products offered inside.

But so far, no one’s bit, so the District of Maple Ridge got things started Saturday, unveiling a bike rack that resembles the outline of a chicken in Memorial Peace Park, near where the Haney Farmers Market sets up shop every weekend.

“It’s a starting point,” said Alex Pope, chair of the bicycle advisory committee. So far, no other businesses have shown interest, he added, despite the business improvement area trying to promote the idea.

The rack cost about $1,500, said Russ Carmichael, district director of engineering operations.

“There are all sort of images that you can buy off the shelf and that one is very similar to the farmers market logo, which is the chicken.” The farmers market draws lots of customers who arrive on bikes, he added.

“That really fits with your daily trip idea.”

The racks help cyclists peddling to a particular destination by giving them a relatively safe place to park their bikes while they go in shopping.

Carmichael said previously that people asked the district to put a rack on 227th Street, but now the district wants shops to install their own and get creative about it. For instance, a music store could use a rack that would look like a musical note.

“It would be a functional piece of artwork that actually shows you’re a music store.”

Or, some bike racks could have a slot that would take advertising.

Meanwhile, another project will make it easier for cyclists to move from Pitt Meadows to Maple Ridge along what will be called Hammond Trail.

The new, two-kilometre pathway will use an existing TransLink dike and provide a link from Airport Way in Pitt Meadows and run west, beneath the Golden Ears Bridge, to Ospring Street in Hammond.

From there, cyclists will hook into existing bike paths that run through residential streets, parallel to Lougheed Highway.

“With this link, cyclists will be able to get from Pitt River Bridge all the way to 256th Street, with the exception of a piece between Laity and 216th Street,” Carmichael said.

Maple Ridge has already OK’d $50,000 for the project and is awaiting a matching amount from the provincial government. Construction should start in the winter.

Carmichael said parks and leisure services monitored the number of cyclists in the area and found that 55 cyclists rode by on Airport Way and Southgate Drive within six hours.

The route isn’t the most direct for cycle commuters. “It’s a meandering route, but it avoids Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road.”

The path is intended to be multi-use, for both cyclists, walkers and joggers.

One of the final east-west gaps remaining for cyclists remains along Lougheed Highway between Laity and 216th streets.

Provincial money has allowed studying and design of that multi-use trail, which would run north of Lougheed Highway, providing pedestrians and cyclists a direct route, running in both directions, into the downtown.

Although the design has been completed, funding for that project isn’t in place yet.

Maple Ridge also is still waiting on approval of funding from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for its share of the $1.2-million, 650-metre multi-use path on the north side of the Lougheed Highway from Laity to 216th street.

That will be a separated path for pedestrians and cyclists in both directions and will connect to existing neighbourbood bike routes at either end.

Michael Eng, transportation technologist, said the project involves crossing McKenney Creek, which adds to the costs.

But once the money is available, the project can start.

“It’s a missing link (connecting the west part of Maple Ridge with the downtown) and something we’re really pushing for.”

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