The City of Vernon is trying to alleviate perceptions that roads are getting narrower.
Some residents believe the vehicle portion of roads have been trimmed when bicycle paths are added but officials say there’s only a visual difference when going from a shoulder to curbs.
“The lane widths are still the standard lane widths,” said Leon Gous, chief administrative officer.
Coun. Jack Gilroy frequently hears complaints.
“People wonder why we dig up a bigger road and put back a smaller one,” he said, adding that some residents question whether fire trucks and snowplows will be able to use roads they consider narrower.
“We need to show the plan because there’s been a lot of hostility over bike lanes.”
City staff insist that many roads can be realigned to allow for bicycle paths while also keeping the vehicle portion at a minimum width of 3.2 metres.
“Many roads were built on the philosophy of the time,” said Ed Stranks, engineering development services manager, referring to the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
“The thought was you drive your car and that’s it. It predates bicycle paths and other transportation methods.”
Stranks believes redesigning roads can bolster the sense of community in neighbourhoods.
“A lot of areas are residential and need to be better suited for residential and not thoroughfares,” he said.
“People don’t have to be so afraid to go see their neighbour because there’s a sea of asphalt.”
According to city staff, bicycle paths will be installed where it makes sense.
“We need to connect them so cyclists have a network but they won’t be on every street,” said Amanda Watson, a transportation technician.