July 29, 2014 - 12:27 PM
KELOWNA - Some like to do it in shorts and T-shirts, some in business suits, while others prefer to be stuffed into skin-tight, moisture-wicking, polyester-nylon blends. And they're everywhere in Kelowna.
In fact, Statistics Canada shows the city of Kelowna ranks second highest for cycling commuters of cities across Canada. Number one is Victoria, but then, it doesn't really snow much there. Victoria receives about 7 cm of the white stuff each year while Kelowna gets an annual dump of 21 cm — just sayin'.
The top five cities are Victoria with 5.9 per cent of the population commuting to work by bicycle followed by Kelowna at 2.6, the Ontario side of Ottawa at 2.4, Kingston Ontario at 2.2 and the Ontario/Quebec portion of Ottawa at 2.2 per cent.
The popularity of this mode of transportation is being built into the culture and the landscape of Kelowna. According to the city, more than 300 km of on-street bicycle lanes and 40 km of separated paved multi-use paths have been incorporated into the plan over the years. Some paved pathways are part of the Rails and Trails route, an off-street route snaking along transformed defunct railway lines. Construction began in 2008 with the latest phase completed this past spring.
The finished product will offer a 19.5 km loop within Kelowna’s urban centre connecting to neighbourhoods, town centres and recreational facilities. It will also connect to the UBC Okanagan Campus as well as Kelowna International Airport. Further destinations into north Okanagan are also being plotted. It’s part of the city’s 2030 Official Community Plan, to have 88 km of separated cycling and pedestrian paths throughout the central Okanagan.
The next phase was announced last spring with the federal government kicking in $1.46 million through the Gas Tax Fund and the province tossing in another $1.52 million through Bike B.C. to complete the nearly $3 million cycling infrastructure project.
Build it and they will come.
Find Kelowna’s cycling routes on Google Bike Routes or check out the city’s Bicycle Route Map.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014