Regina’s new mayor will still be driving to work. Pat Fiacco was re-elected mayor Wednesday night for his fourth term, walloping Jim Elliott by 84 per cent.
Fiacco mentioned sustainability as something he wanted to push during these next three years. With this new council, he hopes to push forward the planning that was previously done.
“There’s a lot of plans in place, there’s a lot of reviews that come to fruition,” said Mayor Pat Fiacco.
While bike paths and lanes were not a heavy contender in election issues, it’s still an issue that can’t be paved over.
Bike paths are concentrated in and around parks and bike lanes are sporadic at best. But all that could change with a little time and money.
In August, councillor Terry Hincks launched an inquiry to look into the bike path system, in particular the feasibility of running a path east-west and the timeline for which paths could be added in the north of Regina.
“I had people coming to me with concerns about the paths,” said Hincks. “I also ride those paths myself and saw the deterioration – you could say it makes the ride more challenging.”
Challenging isn’t the word Melissa Adams would use. She rides her bike to work whenever the weather agrees with it.
“I would have loved it if [Jim] Elliott was elected. He would have definitely had more pull on bike lanes,” said Adams.
But Adam’s change is a few years away at best. The feasibility enquiry hasn’t been released, but it does forewarn that new paths will be at the mercy of the 2010 budget.
“We haven’t run into any opposition. Who can say they don’t want bike paths? But what we have heard is that they want something that runs not only east-west but north-south,” said Hincks.
If and when those paths do get paved, it would do more than please Adams, it would make her ride a lot safer.
“Without our own lanes, where are we suppose to be? In the traffic. But that’s not safe for us cyclist and it’s not safe for people driving either,” said Adams.
The inquiry results will come out after the election. But that didn’t stop candidates from taking a stand on the peddling issue.
Jim Elliott campaigned for mayor of the Queen City. He doesn’t own a car and cycles everywhere.
“My interest in many cases is destination orientation travel versus recreation. We have a fair number of bike paths. What we need is to be able to get from point A to point B – safely. That means bike lanes,” said Elliott.
Bike paths could see extension but councillor Hincks says bike lanes could also be in Regina’s future.
“Absolutely they will happen. Our city needs them, getting around on a bicycle is hard enough and bike lanes will make that easier for cyclist and drivers,” says Hincks.
Hincks does not know when construction for separate cycling lanes will happen. He points to the study to clarify the timeline, along with the cost.
Even though Elliott isn’t the new mayor of Regina, he said he isn’t going to let that stop him from pushing for bike lanes.
“I guess the other general approach is to take what’s being proposed for the downtown developed plan and add a walkable, bikable community – but for the whole city.”