The city, in a partnership with Stantec, has created a bike grid for the downtown. It’s predominately along 104 ave in the downtown core, but also has north-south links in what they’re calling an all ages and abilities route, connecting that to 100 ave along 106, 103 and 99 streets.
“It will have controversy around it, I know, but if we’re going to start a bike grid anywhere in Edmonton, let’s start it in the core and then as the numbers justify it then we move out,” said Coun. Scott McKeen who asked for the report after a summer long season of complaints from bike commuters who suggested that routes separated from cars by a painted line aren’t safe.
These routes will be physically sectioned off from the regular lanes of traffic.
“I’ve said to a few people in the cycling community, if we do this you better come,” McKeen said. “We better see some numbers. I think we’re going to see those numbers. Already on 102 ave I see a lot of cyclists coming in every morning and I get a lot of email from people who want to cycle and just are disappointed with the lack of infrastructure in the city.”
The goal is to have enough snow removal that these routes can be used 12 months of the year. “I think the way it’s designed you can actually run a unit down there that can brush out the snow. That’s the idea, and with a curb that is tall enough that you don’t get as much of the spray going into that. It’s not going to be easy, I’m not suggesting that it’s easy-peasy to do but again I think we have to do a really good job of maintaining this. It’s not going to be perfect all the time.”
McKeen said if there’s enough pick up on this, the ever increasing load on parking downtown with the new arena will ease. “I’ve said this to many motorists, if you want to commute by car, you should want to see bike lanes. Because that will reduce over time some of the congestion on the roads. Let those other people ride a bike in minus twenty weather. You can drive in but knowing that those people on those bikes means that’s one less car on the road.”
Council’s Urban Planning Committee will debate the report on Wednesday, Sept 28.
You can view the plans here, by going to report 6.4