Down­town bike lanes get rolling this sum­mer

City wants growth in rid­er­ship among fam­i­lies and women: project man­ager

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - CLARE CLANCY cclancy@post­ twit­­clancy

Cy­clists will be able to use most of the freshly painted down­town bike paths start­ing in July, city staff an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

The end re­sult will be 7.8 kilo­me­tres of sep­a­rated bike lanes and shared-use paths, said project man­ager Olga Messi­nis.

“We’re look­ing to see rid­er­ship within the down­town grow,” she told re­porters at a new bike lane on 106 Street. “We want to see a lot more peo­ple us­ing it at all ages and abil­i­ties. We want to see fam­i­lies ... We want to see an in­crease of women rid­ing in the down­town bike net­work.”

The bike grid’s suc­cess partly de­pends on pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, so that peo­ple learn how to use a new traf­fic sig­nalling sys­tem, Messi­nis said.

“You’ll ac­tu­ally see spe­cific changes to sig­nals in gen­eral,” she said, not­ing a bike sym­bol will be added to stan­dard red, am­ber and green lights.

Bike coun­ters will be in­stalled through­out the grid and a street team will be tasked with ask­ing users for feed­back, Messi­nis said.

Coun. Ben Hen­der­son said the routes are flex­i­ble if ma­jor changes are nec­es­sary.

“It’s good in­fra­struc­ture, but it’s done in a way where it can be moved around,” he told re­porters.

“We’re fol­low­ing in the steps of work that has been done in a lot of other Cana­dian cities,” he said, ref­er­enc­ing Cal­gary’s bike lane project. “The change is al­ways hard. There are trade-offs to try­ing to retro­fit these kinds of things.”

The cy­cling grid has hit some bumps dur­ing the con­struc­tion process — a lane planned for 104 Av­enue near Rogers Place has been moved to 105 Av­enue, run­ning from 101 Street to 116 Street. The move aimed to ad­dress pos­si­ble traf­fic con­ges­tion in an­tic­i­pa­tion of crowds go­ing to Rogers Place for events.

Cer­tain sec­tions will be in­stalled af­ter 2017 due to on­go­ing con­struc­tion in the city, Messi­nis said.

De­spite con­cerns the lanes will take space pre­vi­ously used by cars, Hen­der­son be­lieves the net­work will ben­e­fit driv­ers in the long term.

“It’s frus­trat­ing for cars when they don’t know ... (where) bikes are go­ing to go,” he said. “We have cho­sen the roads down­town ... that had a lot of ex­tra ca­pac­ity.”

Hen­der­son said the project is part of cre­at­ing an at­trac­tive down­town core.

“There’s an en­tire gen­er­a­tion com­ing ... who want to live in a city that of­fers this,” he said. “Un­less you of­fer the in­fra­struc­ture, you’re not go­ing to see the use.”

A com­pre­hen­sive map of the Down­town Bike Net­work is on­line at ed­mon­


Coun. Ben Hen­der­son says es­tab­lish­ing bike lanes is part of cre­at­ing an at­trac­tive down­town core for young peo­ple “who want to live in a city that of­fers this.”


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