Watch above: Meewasin Valley Authority gives approval to two new bridges
SASKATOON – The Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA) has approved the design parameters for the new North Commuter Parkway Bridge and Traffic Bridge.
The approval forces plans to draw a pathway underneath the North Commuter on the west side of the structure, similar to the majority of Saskatoon’s bridges.
The Traffic Bridge will be a two-lane route, with room for pedestrians and cyclists on each side.
The meeting wasn’t without some controversy; many advocates for a motor-free Traffic Bridge gave presentations during the public hearing.
Most claimed that Saskatoon’s pedestrians and cyclists deal with exhaust, dirt and noise created by traffic at other bridges in the city. They said they didn’t believe the new bridge would be any different.
“I think all of us are going to regret this decision, quite a bit,” said Marcel D’Eon, a founding member of Saskatoon Coalition to Revisit and Re-imagine our Urban Bridge (SCRUB).
D’Eon advocated for the bridge to be a shared-traffic structure, closing to motorists during select periods.
“It might be evenings after seven, until five-o’clock in the morning, in the summers,” said D’Eon.
He admitted that he would prefer a bridge exclusive to pedestrians and cyclists.
Presentations made by the city claimed that new sidewalks and crosswalks, including a ramp on the Nutana side of the bridge, will help make the bridge more accessible to the public.
Also, the width of the lanes would be more comparable to a city street, than was the case with the old Traffic Bridge.
“The biggest thing, I think people need to understand is the scale to which this bridge is being widened,” said Mike Gutek, infrastructure services general manager with the city.
He predicts the new Traffic Bridge would be the most pedestrian and cyclist-friendly in Saskatoon.