July 12, 2016 - 10:31 AM
VERNON - Community members will play a large role in whether skateboards are allowed on sidewalks, bike lanes, both — or neither.
The city is exploring what to do about small-wheeled transportation (skateboards, longboards, in-line skates and foot-operated scooters) which are currently only permitted in parks. Local skateboarders are pushing the city to expand opportunities for their form of transportation.
City staff surveyed a number of people at the recent Sunshine Festival and found strong support for skateboards and other forms of small-wheeled transportation on bike lanes and sidewalks, but some council members feel more consultation is needed before they consider changing the rules.
“I’d like to see it (consultation) be much wider somehow,” Coun. Scott Anderson said.
Coun. Catherine Lord agreed it would be beneficial to consult with the general public, including those who walk downtown but don’t necessarily use small-wheeled transportation.
One of the city’s main concerns with allowing skateboarders and other devices on sidewalks and bike lanes is the possibility for collisions.
While some councillors felt more consultation is needed before moving forward, others felt it was taking too long.
“It seems like this is becoming a big study…. It seems like it’s getting out of hand in my opinion,” Coun. Brian Quiring said. “Do we have to go through this whole process for something this insignificant? Can’t we just say you can ride your skateboard in a bike lane?”
Coun. Dalvir Nahal also expressed interest in voting on the issue immediately.
Because the city’s traffic bylaw would have to be changed, city staff advised that further consultation is necessary.
Various stakeholder groups including transportation committees and the Downtown Vernon Association, as well as the general public, will be invited to provide input on the concept sometime in the future.
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