CS4PR Endorses KITEARS' McClymont Park Trail Upgrade

Complete Streets for Prince Rupert recently endorsed the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society’s (KITEARS) Port of Prince Rupert Community Investment Fund grant application to upgrade the McClymont Park Trail.

The plan is to improve the trail so that it is accessible for everyone including people in wheelchairs and people who ride bicycles. The trail would provide a useful off-street connection between Rushbrook, and cultural, recreational and educational facilities located around the Civic Centre.

Investments in walkability and cycling infrastructure promote the overall health of the community, and would help make Prince Rupert a more appealing place to visit and live.  

For more information on trail development, see KITEARS’ Trail Network Official Plan.

Prince Rupert Grad Reflects on Streets - An Interview with Isobel LeBlanc

CS4PR: Hi Isobel. Tell us about yourself.

Isobel: Hi. My name is Isobel LeBlanc and I am a university student and I am taking a Natural Resource Planning bachelor with a minor in Environmental Sciences.

CS4PR: What got you interested in the program you’re studying now?

Isobel: I was always really interested in design and architecture and sciences and then I was talking to an academic advisor and they said that this program sort of puts that all together. I read about it and read about some studies that people did on urban planning and it really enticed me to do this as my degree.

CS4PR: So what got you interested in complete streets?

Isobel: I actually heard about it at Seafest and then my mom told me about it as well when I started doing my degree saying that it would be something that I would be interested in since it has to do with planning. I just found that it was a really good idea since so many people are biking now in Prince Rupert. It’s really become a big thing, but there are no bike lanes to separate people from the cars.

CS4PR: Do you think that people would bike even more if there were some protection from vehicles?

Isobel: I think that they would because they would feel safer... even if you put trees or something on the side of the sidewalk more people would tend to walk on them .… [T]hey feel more separated from the cars and less at risk.

CS4PR: How do you think it would be different if the streets of Prince Rupert were safer, more accessible and more enjoyable for people who walk, bike, drive and use the bus?

Isobel: I think that more people would find it enjoyable to bike having those bike lanes to separate them from the cars and also more enjoyable to walk because they would have the sidewalk [and] a bike lane…. I think it would also speed up traffic some more because there wouldn’t be so many bikes and other people on the roads. It would allow them a safer commute to work, school, etc.

CS4PR: So if there were fewer bikes on the road competing with cars, getting around would be easier for drivers as well.

Isobel: Yes. Some bikers don’t know how to signal very well, like hand signals, so it’s hard to tell where they’re going and sometimes drivers get very leery of that and they get a little scared to go near the bikers. Drivers will try to move over and weave through traffic which can also cause other drivers to be more at risk because they don’t know where the car is going if they keep weaving and switching lanes all the time.

CS4PR: I know that you just finished high school in Prince Rupert and, as a former student here, why do you think more students don’t walk or bike to school?

Isobel: Well, personally, my commute time would have been way too long for me to be able to get to school on foot on time - wake up, get ready and everything, especially going to school early for band. But, I think the main reason why other people don’t is the convenience that cars give them. It’s convenient for kids to get a ride to school from their parents on their way to work. There are also no bike lanes really for kids to get to school or work. Many parents don’t want their kids to bike because there is no lane. They find it dangerous for their kids to bike alongside of cars and the traffic of the container trucks.

CS4PR: What do you think Prince Rupert is doing well now in terms of mobility?

Isobel: I think our roads are very good. We have a lot of crosswalks now and the way that we direct traffic now is really good in town. I also think we have sidewalks everywhere which allows people to walk throughout the whole town, minus along some of the highway-type roads. But other than that, I think it’s been a well-thought out thing we’ve done.

CS4PR: What do you think Rupert could do better in terms of mobility?

Isobel: I think dividing people from the traffic would be helpful. It would allow people a safer place to walk. As well, adding bike lanes would create safer routes for bikers and people using wheelchairs. People feel safer when there’s a separation from the road. Also, people using the crosswalks have been hit multiple times. That’s something that we also need to improve - people should be able to cross the street more easily to get to where they need to go.

CS4PR: Thanks so much, Isobel. Good luck on your studies!

(Isobel’s interview was edited slightly for length and clarity.)

"A seamless connection from network to network" An Interview with Seamus McConville

CS4PR: I am here with Seamus McConville. Hi, Seamus. Tell us about yourself and tell us why you’re into complete streets.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20181023085054698_COVER.jpg

Seamus: My name is Seamus McConville. I was born and raised here in Prince Rupert and currently I’m doing a Masters in Community Planning at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. I’m very passionate about complete streets and active transportation because it provides a better way for for citizens to get around their cities. It’s not only healthier and better on the planet, but also a better way to build community.

CS4PR: Now that you’re living in Nanaimo, can you tell us some of the similarities and differences of living in Nanaimo compared to Prince Rupert?

Seamus: Prince Rupert is blessed with a multitude of sidewalks. There’s only a few streets in town that I can think of where there are no sidewalks to walk on to get where you need to go. Nanaimo, on the other hand, does not have this same level of infrastructure. Where I live there’s a sidewalk that’ll go downtown, but if you need to go anywhere else in the neighborhood, you’re using a shared lane that’s just painted onto the road, which is definitely far from safe. The other part that Prince Rupert is doing pretty well is public transport. Prince Rupert also has an excellent public transport system with 30 minute service on four routes which basically touch on every portion of the city. From what I understand, it was one of the most used transit systems for a community this size in the province a few years ago.

CS4PR: What from your studies have you learned that might apply to Prince Rupert?

Seamus: In the Master of Community Planning Program, one of the things we focus on is small community planning and revitalization. One of the things that we look at is how to make spaces livable and convert them into places for people, especially in cities that may be facing a new reality, such as a transition from industry-based economies to more service- and tourism-based economies. Knowing the change that the city has undergone in the past 20 years, we can apply many of the case studies we utilize in the program to our own local contexts. We also focus a lot of Indigenous engagement, as we believe urban design is at its best when indigenous nations have a say in the spaces that they participate in.

CS4PR: What do you think Prince Rupert could do for people to get around on foot, bicycle, car or bus?

Seamus: I think one of the big things Prince Rupert has going for it is its already existing infrastructure such as sidewalks. We have the recently reopened Rushbrook trail which is an excellent active transport corridor. We have a developed Cow Bay district which is spanned out into the rest of the city, providing a district to eat, drink and socialize. Pieces such as the Rushbrook trail and our existing pedestrian networks build upon these districts, as they provide ways for us to get to the area without a car. The big challenge however is connectivity. Take the Rushbrook trail for example, which does provide an excellent connection. However, you end up traversing a parking lot to get to the trail head, which might not be ideal and disconnects it from the rest of the pedestrian network. And once you get to the end of the Rushbrook trail in Seal Cove, you’re just kind of dumped out in an industrial area, not allowing the trail to live up to its full potential. Through Cow Bay you have a similar scenario when you’re trying to continue to the waterfront. Here, what you see is you’ve got a great trail and great seawall, probably one of the best in BC. It stops at Kwinitsa and boom - you’re now dumped in a pseudo-industrial site and cannot continue your journey much like at Seal Cove. One of the things we do need to see moving forward is how to re-engage these lands. One of the big questions we focus on in the Masters of Community Planning Program is how to convert communities that are primarily resource-based and convert them into more walkable and livable places and somehow find a way for industry to play and interact with the average person’s life.

CS4PR: So it sounds like you’re interested urban planning as not just a tool for transportation and livability, but also as a tool for economic revitalization. Could you tell us more about that?

Seamus: Absolutely. One of the ideas I’m playing with right now as my thesis is how do communities such as Prince Rupert convert from more industrial and resource-based economies to more tourism-based? One of the great examples that prompted this question in my mind is when I went to Tofino earlier this year. I found myself surfing and it kind of just hit me, like the many waves that knocked me off my board, how is it that Tofino is now known more for its surf community and its ecotourism rather than the logging town that it originally started as? So what was so successful in Tofino’s experience as opposed to what could have been done better in other communities all along the coast? While it’s easy to say “Hey! We can convert to a tourism-based economy!” but how do you do it in a sense that will actually take hold like in the Tofino-Ucluelet experience? One of the pieces I felt in Tofino’s experience was that it was not only rather walkable, but it also had options for public transportation that helped connect the beaches. This way you were able to hop off with your surfboard and go surfing or simply hike. Another thing is I actually saw a guy on a bike carrying a surfboard between the beaches, which was really cool. The only reason he was able to undertake that was because the infrastructure for cycling was there.

This is one of the big things that Prince Rupert’s got going for it. We have excellent nature and we have water access; however, access that is underutilized and inaccessible. So how do we take this land that industry has been holding for almost all of the city’s existence, and convert these spaces into places which we can use?

CS4PR: So we’ve got a lot of natural assets. One of our challenges is to create the infrastructure so that the populace can access them. Is that what you’re saying?

Seamus: Absolutely. Today, the placement of our industry has shifted dramatically to the seaport developments over at Fairview and Ridley Island, which remove the industries that previously made up our foreshore. However, what do we do about the lands on the waterfront where the railroad has the beach? Why can’t that be remediated to be a more public space? Why can’t those rail yards be more integrated into the cityscape of Prince Rupert, barring the obvious environmental and safety concerns? There was a reason that the Kwinitsa beach was so popular despite being officially out of bounds - it was the only place in the city limits you could physically touch the ocean.

CS4PR: What do you think Prince Rupert could do to be a shining example of active transport in a small community context?

Seamus: I think when it comes to accessibility and active transport, we need to embrace those kind of trails and build upon them and make our connections between all of our infrastructure. Whether it’s the road we walk along, our waterfront, the Rushbrook trail, or the pathways that take us up to downtown, we need to find a way to integrate them so that it’s a seamless transfer from network to network. I feel with a win such as with our Rushbrook trail, we’re definitely on the right track; we just need to find a way to connect it with the rest of the city. We have the idea of connection to nature right with this, as the trail connects us with nature of the city. It’s almost like you can forget you’re within the boundaries of the city. I think that’s one thing that we’re definitely getting right - embracing this nature which is all around us. This natural space is something that many other cities just don’t have.

(Seamus’s interview was edited slightly for length and clarity.)

Rupert Runners Signs 'Communities on the Move Declaration'

Rupert Runners running club has signed the BC Alliance for Healthy Living’s Communities on the Move Declaration. Way to go Rupert Runners! The Declaration is meant to encourage the provincial government to make investments that support active, connected and healthy communities.

The club released a statement explaining its decision to join the 100+ community groups and municipalities endorsing the Declaration. “We believe that our streets should be safe and accessible for everyone, not only for people who run, but also for people of all ages and abilities who walk, use mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, ride bicycles, take the bus and drive automobiles.”

Click on the statement to read the complete text. Visit the BCAHL’s website for more information on the Communities on the Move Declaration and to sign it yourself.

"I'm connecting with the environment and connecting with the community...." An Interview with Michael Yue

CS4PR: Hi, I’m here with…

Michael: Hi. I’m Michael Yue and I actually just moved here from Vancouver and I’m a new itinerant teacher with the school district.

CS4PR: Welcome! So Michael, you told me that you sold your car six months ago. Can you tell me more about that?

Michael: Yeah, so I used to own a 1984 Toyota Celica. You know it’s a quite old car. …What I noticed is that, especially in Vancouver, I got frustrated driving around with traffic. And I realized that I really enjoyed cycling. In addition, my car insurance was high and gas was quite expensive, and I’m like, you know what? We live in a connected city and you can bike anywhere in Vancouver. So, I decided to sell and got an electric bike, which is great for the hills. The one thing that really changed, personally, is that whenever I need to go somewhere, it’s very uplifting. It’s not like I’m dreading the drive there. I actually look forward to the ride. As I’m riding, I’m connecting with the environment and connecting with the community and I get to feel much more around my surroundings. So I’m really enjoying this experience. It’s been six months so far. So far in Prince Rupert the electric assist is very nice ‘cause there are quite a bit of hills. I haven’t had any issues with it so far. And since Prince Rupert is quite a dense city for its size, you can get to places from here and there. I also see avid cyclists around. So overall, it has been a great experience.

CS4PR: What could make your cycling experience better here in Prince Rupert?

Michael: I think the main thing is talking about how dark it gets and the one concern that I do have, and I am mindful of, is that there’s often very limited visibility. So when I’m cycling, I always try to wear reflective gear and turn on my lights. It usually helps, but the one thing I’m extremely mindful of is parked cars. I usually try to stay a metre and a half away because there were a couple of occasions where the door would just swing out open and it’s just being mindful of what context you’re biking in. So I feel like as long as you are biking defensively rather than aggressively, that makes a better biking experience. I also tend to stick to the more less traffic areas. So if possible, I would go around side streets or even neighborhoods and, even though it might take one minute more, often the riding experience is much better.

CS4PR: So, you’re saving money on gas, insurance and the expenses related to owning a car. You also feel happier commuting by bicycle. What advice would you give someone who’s considering an e-bike?

Michael: Definitely do your research. There are many e-bikes out there but each one is best suited for a particular lifestyle and climate. When I started looking at e-bikes, the top five things I looked for were affordability, reliability, waterproofing, heavy duty, and quality. Starting out with a priority list allows you to specify viable e-bike options. Two things you should never overlook are the battery specifications and motor strength as these ultimately dictate the performance levels of your bike.

CS4PR: Thank you very much!

CS4PR Co-Sponsors 2018 Cannery Road Race

Road runners spend countless hours pounding the pavement around Prince Rupert. Adequate sidewalks and crossings with good visibility are important for staying safe while running on our streets. Therefore, to help spread of the word of safe, accessible and enjoyable mobility, Complete Streets for Prince Rupert proudly co-sponsored the 2018 Cannery Road Race.

For coverage of the race, including race photos and a brief video, follow the link to The Northern View’ story. For race results, visit Rupert Runners.

CS4PR’s Logo on Race T-shirt

CS4PR's Seafest Survey In The News

Read the our recent coverage in The Northern View: Complete Streets for Prince Rupert survey finds that Prince Rupert wants Protected bike paths

See below for our summary and link to full report.

SUMMARY

Complete Streets for Prince Rupert conducted a survey at Seafest, 2018.  The survey found that people firstly choose to drive and secondly walk downtown.  People also reported that protected bicycle paths and better visibility would make it easier to walk or cycle downtown.

"I enjoy life by cycling every day." An Interview with Curtis Bolton

On a recent beautiful day, CS4PR had the honour of interviewing a local Prince Rupert legend, Curtis Bolton.

CS4PR: Hi Curtis!  Please tell us about yourself.

Curtis:  Hi. Curtis Bolton.  Born and raised in Prince Rupert.  Originally from Masset. Finished high school in ‘82.  Started working roofing at 20 years old. Did roofing for 10-15 years.  Now I’m a full-time bottle collector. Got hit twice by two cars. First one, split my helmet right in half and the second one... I was lucky I put it backwards or else I would have broke my nose.

CS4PR: Curtis, when did you start riding your bicycle?

Curtis:  I started doing this about 15 years ago after I had a mild heart attack.  And ever since then, been on the bike. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke.

CS4PR:  So you started riding your bicycle for your health.

Curtis:  That’s right.  And now that I got grandkids, I’d like to see them all before I kick the bucket.

CS4PR:  What do you think would make it easier for your grandkids to ride their bikes around?

Curtis:  It’d make it easier if we had bike lanes in the city.  Like Terrace. Like Vancouver. I’ve seen their bike lanes in Vancouver.  They’re awesome. And the people who cross into the bike lanes, they get fined.  And that’s what we need around here. For our safety, the adults' and the kids'. There’re so many kids now riding bikes, especially when the summer’s coming, eh?  Ya. Other than that, I love riding. I’m healthy all my life. I played basketball, soccer.

CS4PR: What has cycling done for you?

Curtis:  It has done lots.  Puts food on the table for me.  Pays my rent. Gives the kids money when they need it.  I have four daughters all grown and I love them dearly.

CS4PR: So people see you carrying a lot of cans and bottles with your trailer.  Can you tell us about that?

Curtis:  Oh yeah. They stop right in the middle of traffic.  They’ll honk at me, “Curtis! Do you want empties?” “Sure!  I’ll take ‘em!” Every day. Seven days a week, except I guess Sunday off for resting.  But I love my job. I’m a part-time roofer. Last year roofing. Be 57 this year. And I enjoy life by cycling every day.

CS4PR: Do you have a message for the people of Prince Rupert?

Curtis:  Oh yes. I’d like to thank all the people of Prince Rupert for supporting me through my bottle collection and get on board.  And you for making it safe for the kids and for us to ride in the city.

CS4PR: Thank you so much, Curtis!

Curtis:  Thank you and have a good day!

CS4PR Receives Lions Club Donation of $800

Complete Streets for Prince Rupert is grateful for the Lions Club of Prince Rupert's generous donation of $800.  We are happy that the Lions Club shares Complete Streets for Prince Rupert's goal of safer, more accessible and more enjoyable streets for everyone. 

Complete streets are streets designed to be safe and accessible by people of all ages, abilities and modes of travel.  This money will be used to further promote the concept of complete streets in Prince Rupert.  Specifically, the money will be spent on banners, stickers and other promotional material to be shared at Seafest, 2018.  

Everyone, no matter their age, ability or mode of travel, has the right to safe mobility.  Cities all over North America are proving that walkable and bikable communities are healthier, happier and more prosperous.

We look forward to continuing to partner with the Lions Club of Prince Rupert for the benefit of our community. 

Thank you!

CS4PR Partners with Transition Prince Rupert

"The Transition Prince Rupert Board is happy to announce a new partnership with Complete Streets for Prince Rupert. At least one member of Transition Prince Rupert’s Board of Directors has participated in Complete Streets since its inception, and we are now formalizing the partnership to cooperate and support each other on shared goals. This partnership will enable Complete Streets to apply for funding within Transition Prince Rupert’s organizational umbrella, and work towards improving our community’s neighbourhoods and streets."