This Thursday a council and senior management meeting at noon in the Heritage Room of Whitehorse City Hall may well determine the fate of the Rotary Centennial Bridge. At that meeting (which is open to the public) options with regard to the future of the bridge will be presented.
The main topic of an earlier meeting, on June 19, of the Whitehorse Trails and Greenways Committee was the bridge. The suggestion of motorizing the bridge was raised.
We hope that common sense has prevailed and that discussions held by members of the trails committee at a “special” Sept. 23rd meeting will have put to rest the idea of “motorizing” the bridge, and that this flawed concept will not be presented at this week’s meeting.
The Riverdale Community Association, Porter Creek Community Association, and Wolf Creek Community Association (as well as Active Trails Whitehorse Association), all of which are current or previous members of the trails committee, have stated their opposition to the possible motorization of the bridge.
The pedestrian and cycling bridge was built by the city as part of its Urban Transportation Showcase Project in order to reduce greenhouse gases in the transportation sector by providing an attractive alternate route to the downtown area for Riverdale residents, as well as to help eliminate barriers to active transportation. The 315,000 user visits per year demonstrate its amazing success.
A partnership consisting of Transport Canada, Yukon Energy Corporation, and the Rotary Clubs of Whitehorse along with other sponsors, provided funding specifically for the building of a non-motorized bridge.
The new Snowmobile Bylaw and the ATV Bylaw prohibit use of the bridge and the Millennium Trail by ATVs and snowmobiles.
Ask yourself what your experience of the Millennium Trail would look like if the bridge becomes a designated motorized route for offroad vehicles. Will you be comfortable relying on traffic lights to regulate who can cross the bridge at any given time?
Would you enjoy navigating the trail alongside the Yukon Energy property fence amidst ATVs in summer and snowmobiles in winter? How safely will young children on bikes, or running ahead of parents, be able to perceive and react to offroad vehicles approaching from behind?
Consider everything that makes the experience of the Millennium Trail and the bridge enjoyable and appealing for such a huge number of citizens and tourists. Join with those who are urging mayor and council to protect the non-motorized status of the bridge, and put this idea of opening the bridge to offroad traffic to rest once and for all.
Vice President, Active Trails Whitehorse Association