10/15/2014 03:52 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST

South Delta bike lane advocates aim to steer clear of driver hate

Long-time cyclist Carol Vignale says bike lanes should be more than just a dream for suburban residents on the south side of the Massey Tunnel.

While there has been the addition of some commuter bike routes in Delta, including three kilometres of marked lanes completed in 2014, Vignale says connections are sorely lacking in the town she dubs "super-suburbia".

"We need to have an infrastructure in place" says Vignale,  speaking outside a coffee shop on 12th Avenue, while the sound of trucks rumbling by drowns out her voice every few minutes.

Meanwhile, others in the cafe hints at growing interest in cycling. Bike riders, clad in their bright colourful gear, roll up to the bike racks and immediately strike up conversation with Vignale.

The chatter is all about how to gain momentum for cycling advocacy in sleepy South Delta.

Time is right

Delta is ripe for a new era in bike infrastructure, according to Patrick Thompson, the organizer of the newly-formed South Delta Hub Committee.

He points to intensifying development including the approval of the Southlands residential project, the construction of a 1.2 million-square-foot mall, and plans for a replacement for the Massey Tunnel.

He'd like cycling to piggy-back on those changes now, rather than retrofit everything years after they're built.

But even as candidates vie for votes in the upcoming municipal election, Thompson isn't ready to drive the campaign for bike lanes into high gear.

He may envy Vancouver's current bike network, but he doesn't envy the hostility between drivers and cyclists, fuelled in part by the insertion of bike lanes into existing roads.

"Living out where we do, cars are a really critical part of our infrastructure. Whatever antagonism we have in our suburban environment, it's certainly going to be more magnified than in a city like Vancouver."

"It's not about that" says Thompson. "It's about creating options."

Catch Michelle Eliot with On the Move, a segment on commuter issues, Tuesdays at 6:50 on The Early Edition, CBC Radio 1, 88.1 FM / 690 AM in Vancouver