SURREY – Break out those bikes, polish those pedals and pump those tires – cycling in Surrey is about to become mainstream.
The Now has learned that Surrey will be taking a cue from Vancouver by expanding bike lanes within the city.
First up is the conversion of two lanes of King George Boulevard – one northbound and one southbound – for bicycle use only.
"King George Boulevard is a natural choice for bikes lanes," said Bob Loblaw of the bicycle advocacy group Cyclists Loving Outdoors Without Needless Stress.
"The street is four lanes for almost its entire length and is a logical way to traverse the city. It’s only recently that the road was expanded to four lanes near the Serpentine Fen so drivers are used to travelling in a single lane there. Best of all, the impact on the ducks will be greatly reduced because, with more traffic congestion, cars will be moving at slower rates of speed."
The push for bicycle lanes on one of Surrey’s major traffic arteries is part of a long-term plan by the Metro Vancouver Regional District.
The MVRD has long advocated residential growth along what it has designated as the King George Corridor. The bicycle lanes are intended to be a selling feature of these developments with the aim of giving new residents a greener option than traditional commuting methods.
"Our studies have shown that people in the Lower Mainland in general, and in Surrey in particular, are very conscious of their impact on the environment," said project spokesperson Shirley Ujest.
"What better way to start your work day than a leisurely bike ride to work? It’s environmentally friendly, it’s relaxing, it’s healthy and you don’t have to endure the frustration experienced by the drivers stuck in traffic in the lane next to you."
Mr. Loblaw added that in addition to the healthy living aspects of the project, the King George bike lanes will serve as an attraction for ecotourists, who will now be able to ride their bicycles from the U.S.
border all the way to the Pattullo Bridge hassle free. There is even talk of creating an annual Tour de King George cycling event utilizing the new bike lanes.
The King George Boulevard bike lane conversion project is scheduled to begin next week in an effort to maximize disruption of daily traffic flows before the summer months when fewer vehicles are on the road.
With files from AFD