Make the Sea to Sky Corridor Great for Cycling
Photo Credits: Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane
The Sea to Sky corridor (Highway 99 and secondary roads) connects Horseshoe Bay, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Mt. Currie and on to Lillooet. The natural beauty of the corridor and recent improvements to the highway and roads to Squamish Valley, Callaghan Valley, Pemberton Meadows and Portage Road to D’Arcy, has enhanced the attractiveness of the area for motorists and cyclists alike.
Widespread awareness created by GranFondo Whistler and IRONMAN Canada plus the growth of road cycling throughout Canada has resulted in a remarkable increase in the number of recreational road cyclists in the corridor. These major events and related visitors have brought significant economic benefits to corridor communities and to the province.
The Whistler Cycling Club believes that the cycling priorities in the provincial government’s recently issued B.C. on the Move – A 10-year Transportation Plan could markedly improve the safety and experience for both cyclists and motorists in the corridor. The provincial plan identifies three cycling priorities for action:
- Invest $18 million over the next three years to partner with communities to build new bike lanes and trails throughout B.C.
- Widen shoulders, double the frequency of sweeping and implement safety improvements on provincial highways in areas with a high volume of cyclists
- Develop and implement a cycling tourism signage and marketing strategy
The Whistler Cycling Club has submitted the following recommendations to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in line with the cycling priorities of the provincial plan. We believe these would help improve safety and enjoyment for all road users in the Sea to Sky corridor.
- Significantly increase the frequency of shoulder sweeping, especially where gravel and debris from logging trucks, etc. collect along concrete barriers and at intersections.
- Clearly mark shoulder hazards until they can be remedied.
- Repair cracked, uneven and damaged shoulders.
- Repaint worn fog lines and bicycle pavement stencils early in the cycling season.
- Ensure high value cycling secondary roads are well maintained (e.g. Callaghan Valley Road to Whistler Olympic Park).
Regulation and Signage
- Clarify existing cycling laws, and educate cyclists and motorists on the laws and etiquette for shared road use through advertising, collateral, ICBC, driver training and cyclist training (including school-aged youth).
- Create laws to adopt a mandatory ‘minimum 1.0 to 1.5 metre’ separation between vehicles and cyclists.
- Utilize existing road signage (such as the overhead electronic signs at Alice Lake and Alta Lake Road) to encourage motorists to watch for cyclists.
- Install frequent regulatory and cycling tourism route signs to alert drivers that cyclists may be present and to legitimize and promote road cycling.
- Install large “Warning – Cyclists on Roadway” signs for areas where the shoulder width is minimal/non-existent, where sightlines are poor or where there is a high risk of vehicle/cyclist collision. Suggested new locations are at the bottom of the northbound hill from Britannia and at the bottom of the northbound Duffey Lake Road from Lillooet Lake.
- In specific areas where gravel and debris collects frequently, we recommend the province consider paving adjoining gravel side roads near their intersection with the highway or redesigning the shoulder to prevent debris from accumulating. This one-time cost may be less expensive than the repeated cost of sweeping, and it will provide a consistently safe shoulder for cycling.
- Replace hazardous drain grates that could cause a cyclist to crash or force a cyclist to venture into the vehicle lane.
- Repave Highway 99 from Whistler to Pemberton with minimum 1.5 m shoulder width for cyclists.
- Continue to repave and/or widen shoulders of secondary roads in the corridor (e.g. Squamish Valley, Pemberton Meadows, Portage Road).
- Repair/repave roads shoulder-to-shoulder, not just the vehicle lanes.
- Widen Highway 99 shoulders in key locations, including Britannia Beach to Murrin Park; Porteau Cove to Furry Creek and hazardous sections between Whistler and Pemberton. Where possible, the minimum useable width, not including rumble strips, should be 1.5 m. (If it is impractical to widen the shoulder in the Porteau area, consider the installation of cyclist-activated flashing lights to warn motorists that cyclists are present.)
We at the Whistler Cycling Club believe that road cycling could be safer and more enjoyable and that cycling tourism would grow if similar improvements were made in other areas of the province. We support the BC Cycling Coalition in urging the BC Government to increase investment in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and programs.
We encourage you to review the BC Cycling Coalition Billion for Bikes information and decide whether you wish to support their petition to the Provincial Government.
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates