REGIONAL TRAIL NETWORK
Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:58 PM
Posted 02 February 2007 - 09:36 PM
John Luton, executive director of the Capital Bike and Walk Society, says the money will support the ongoing work to turn the E&N into a commuter rail line.
By Brennan Clarke
Goldstream News Gazette
Feb 02 2007
Major upgrades are in store for the E&N Railway, thanks to an imminent infusion of more than $11.3 million in federal funds that will be used to expand the Capital Region’s network of cycling and walking trails.
In December, the Capital Regional District board decided to allocate $5.65 million in federal gas tax money to help build a “multi-use trail facility” along the E&N railway between downtown Victoria and Langford.
Bob Lapham, general manager of planning for the CRD, said the organization has applied for an additional $5.65 million from a second federal program earmarked for green transportation initiatives
“It’s basically matching funds to complete the trails construction, including some of the connectors,” he said. “It’s a competitive process, so it’s not a given, but the project meets all the criteria.”
The first half of the money flowsing from federal gas tax revenues that former prime minister Paul Martin pledged to return to the provinces, was allocated to the CRD with the proviso it be used for regionally significant transportation projects. The CRD received just over $11 million from that fund and split the allocation between the E&N project and a transportation corridor project on Douglas Street.
Lapham said CRD staff will need most of 2007 to design the E&N trail and reconfigure several key road crossings. Plans call for completion of the trail by 2010.
One of the big-ticket items will be the replacement of the rail bridge near Four Mile Pub with a wider version able to accommodate both rail cars and pedestrians and cyclists. That work will also involve moving the bridge footings back from the road’s edge, in conjunction with the Town of View Royal, to make way for bicycle lanes along the narrow stretch of the Island Highway.
Lapham said there will also be significant improvements to the rail crossing along Esquimalt Road at Catherine Street and another crossing near the intersection of Colville and Admirals Road.
Once completed, the new “rail trail” will stretch from downtown Victoria “almost to Goldstream,” Lapham said.
John Luton, executive director of the Capital Bike and Walk Society, applauded the CRD board for supporting the transportation corridor and said the work will support the ongoing drive to turn the E&N into a commuter rail line.
“There’s some big projects that can be done along the E&N with this money,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”
Luton called on the CRD, its municipal partners, and the Island Corridor Foundation, which owns the E&N, to directly involve user groups and members of the public in the design.
Very nice! Trails are great for tourists and locals alike. Did you know that bicycle helmets are not mandatory on trails.
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