The group ‘Paths for People’ is not taking any chances when it comes to Tuesday’s city council vote for a downtown bike grid. Even though it appears there’s next to no opposition for this plan, 46 letters of support were delivered Friday afternoon to City Hall.
“They are businesses both small and large,” said Anna Ho. “Businesses like Dynalife, Epcor, Stantec. As well as not-for-profits, and educational institutions like the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension and MacEwan University, just saying that they are in support of the minimum grid.”
“Businesses are in support because it’s been proven that adding active transportation infrastructure increases the economic prosperity of the region,” she said.
It’s that participation that Coun. Scott McKeen wants to see increased. And he’s confident you’ll see that. “Calgary has found that with the segregated bike lanes, the number of female riders really went up. I think you’ll see families riding together now that you wouldn’t have seen. You might see situations where kids are able to ride from home along a segregated bike lane to school.”
He’s already envisioning 127 street as a next step, because it has a bike lane that is used, but if it can be separated by flower boxes, bollards or rubber curbs, you’ll see use grow even more.
“It’s about perception of safety as well as safety.”
The proposal, crafted by Stantec and approved by Council’s Urban Planning Committee, comes with a price tag of roughly $1 million, per kilometer.
“Believe me, I’ve been struggling over the cost of bike lanes,” McKeen said. “Even the 102 ave bike lane which was $9 million, it was really about $4 million, but into the budget gets thrown a bunch of utilities work that they might as well be doing at the same time. And in this one, they’re going to be upgrading a bunch of traffic lights.”
“People are skeptical. It’s good to be skeptical about government I think. The goals are good here. It’ll always been the implementation. Can we pull this off in a way that it attracts cyclists so that we can reduce congestion.”
“When Stantec did their traffic analysis, the tried to limit the impact to motor vehicle traffic. This have very limited impacts on motor vehicles yet it increases the safety for those who choose to cycle, and it increases the safety of pedestrians as well because now every one has an area where they can choose their preferred mode of transportation,” Ho said.
Council will vote on the plan Tuesday, and if it’s approved it’s hoped it’ll be in place by late June or early July.