Advisory bike lanes have been added to Memorial Drive. This project was identified in the Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) as a pilot project to create awareness and serve as an education tool about cycling infrastructure. During the consultation process for the ATMP, many people identified Memorial Drive as a location that could use bike lanes since the Kate Pace Way was designed as a recreational route and accommodates inline skaters, cyclists, walkers and dog walkers, it does not function well as an active transportation route.
An advisory bike lane defines a preferred space for bicyclists and motorists to operate on narrow streets that would otherwise be a shared roadway environment. Roads with advisory bike lanes accommodate low to moderate volumes of two-way motor vehicle traffic and provide a prioritized space for bicyclists with little or no widening of the paved roadway surface. Because of their reduced cross section requirements, advisory bike lanes have the potential to open up more roadways to more comfortable bicycle travel.
The Active Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC) was formed back in August 2016 with the primary objective of developing an Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) which was completed in January 2019. The ATMP provides direction for active transportation for the period of 20 years and this is the first infrastructure project implemented under the ATMP. The City of North Bay along with partners from the ATAC were able to access provincial grants under two programs that will fund all of the active transportation projects and programming for 2020 along with the City’s required contribution, which will make a substantial change in the community.
Unlike dedicated bicycle lanes, which prohibit motor vehicle use, an Advisory Bike Lane overlaps with the motor vehicle travel area and it is expected that motorists will regularly encounter meeting or passing situations where driving in the bike lane is necessary and safe. At low volumes, conflicting bicyclist/motorist interactions are limited, and the design can maintain a comfortable environment for bicyclists.
The key features of an advisory bike lane are: