The path connecting North Vancouver to West Vancouver just got a little clearer.
The Hugo Ray Connecter, a multi-use path intended for cyclists and pedestrians that links the north side of Highway 1 between Capilano River in North Vancouver to the entrance of Hugo Ray Park on Third Street in West Vancouver, is now open.
“We have advocated for this facility for several years now,” said Paul Stott, of the bike advocacy group HUB Cycling, during an official unveiling ceremony Friday morning.
Prior to the project’s completion, cyclists and pedestrians had to travel along an uneven shoulder directly adjacent to the busy highway. The purpose of the creation of the formal multi-use pathway is to improve safety and accessibility though the corridor, according to the District of West Vancouver.
The new pathway, which was co-funded by the district and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, involved installing a railing to separate the path from traffic, constructing a retaining wall, and improving the area’s drainage and paving.
Although the project involved more than a year of planning, it took approximately seven weeks from shovel-ready to completion, according to West Vancouver Mayor Mary-Ann Booth.
“If we’re going to reduce congestion, we know we need to support sustainable modes of transportation like walking, cycling and public transit. The Hugo Ray Connector is an excellent example of how we can do that,” said Booth. “This path not only creates a safe cycling and walking route between West Vancouver and North Vancouver, it also greatly improves access to the Capilano Pacific Trail and the Capilano Regional Park.”
North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma, who spearheaded last year’s Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project that emphasized developing more multi-use paths, touted the importance of creating more safe cycling infrastructure.
“I’m really excited to see more of this kind of infrastructure pop up across the North Shore,” said Ma. “I’m often reminded of the serious consequences that occur when you don’t have safe cycling infrastructure.”
Earlier this year, a cyclist was killed after being knocked under the wheels of a truck trailer on West Esplanade, and in Moodyville last year a cyclist died following a collision with a dump truck.
“In 2017 I was actually present for the tragic death of another person on a cycle over on Keith Road. There are serious consequences and they’re unacceptable,” said Ma.
Although significantly smaller, the Hugo Ray connecter joins the Spirit Trail as another multi-use path that connects North Vancouver and West Vancouver.