NORTH Vancouver's bike plan is a good one, says one local cycling advocate, but needs to be backed by the political will to turn the plan into reality.
The city and district of North Vancouver's 2012 Bicycle Master Plan sets out the future of cycling in the area.
The two municipalities aim to connect up bike routes to create a continuous network, create more off-road paths for recreational cyclists and educate the public about biking.
"When they actually implement this stuff remains to be seen, when and how," said Jay MacDonald, a member of cycling advocacy organization HUB.
"As a starting point I think it takes us a long way."
MacDonald and others in North Vancouver's cycling community were recently dismayed by the District of North Vancouver's decision to remove a bike lane from East Keith Road. Citing neighbourhood traffic concerns, district council voted in July to keep the bike lane off the busy street until construction on the Low Level Road is completed.
"That whole East Keith Road thing . . . everybody knows it's a problem," said MacDonald. "Once it got put in there, the political will should have been to leave it there and find ways around (the concerns)."
Keith Road aside, the 2012 plan is an improvement over the 2006 plan, said MacDonald, when "there was a lot of thought that 'Oh, we can just throw a couple of arrows on a road and it'll be OK' . . .
"It was a lot of tossing us bones instead of giving us real infrastructure."
The plan now identifies two different types of cyclists: commuters and recreational users.
These users have "separate needs and desires," said Coun. Roger Bassam, with recreational cyclists preferring off-road bike paths and commuters wanting on-street bike lanes.
Mountain Highway, Lynn Valley Road, Lower Capilano Road and East 29th Street are some of the routes that have been identified for cycling infrastructure improvements, according to a staff report.
Figuring out how to pay for the improvements is also a challenge.
Bassam noted that in the past, district staff have been "creative" in finding third-party funds for projects, but that finding matching funds may be more difficult in the future.
"We know that TransLink is in a position now where they are not funding cycling infrastructure," said Bassam, referring to TransLink's decision not to restore cycling funding back to $6 million annually; instead, the transit authority will keep the funding for cycling upgrades at $3 million per year.