City admits ‘we could have planned better’ before implementing bike lanes

File photo of a bike lane. Lluis Gene / AFP / Getty Images

EDMONTON – The City of Edmonton says it could have done a better job of implementing on-street bike lanes and is asking for the public’s help with the process going forward.

The city took out an ad in Friday’s Edmonton Journal, hoping to press the reset button.

An ad in the Friday, May 16, 2014 edition of the Edmonton Journal. Global News

“We could have communicated better, we could have engaged better, we could have planned better. And we want to do better,” said Tyler Golly, general supervisor with the City of Edmonton’s Sustainable Transportation department.

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There wasn’t enough public engagement before installing the city’s current bike routes, Golly explained. Now, before any more lanes are installed, a seven-week consultation process about cycling in the city – which includes online and public discussions – will be held, asking Edmontonians “What the B*ke is Going On?”

“How do we improve the public engagement processes? What do we need to provide so that motorists and cyclists feel safe while sharing our roads. And also, for our central areas, what type of routes do we want in those areas?,” said Golly.

Golly says the City of Edmonton has spent $4.3 million on establishing 66 kilometres of on-street bike routes, and an addition $6.7 million on shared-use paths since 2010. But residents have voiced a number of concerns with the current lanes, including a reduction in driving lanes and parking spaces, and a lack of public consultation prior to their implementation.

READ MORE: Edmonton community continues its fight against bike lanes

“As good as the plans were, and as good as the intentions were, of course there were a lot of objections and a lot of issues with the consultation process,” said Chris Chan, executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuter Society.

Chan said he’s looking forward to the consultation process, and believes positive changes will come out of it.

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“Having bike infrastructure on the roads – good, strong, safe infrastructure – really makes cyclists feel a lot safer. It helps interactions with cars, as well.”

Golly added: “What we’re hearing from people is that they want the city to be bikeable, they want to feel safe cycling in the city, but they really want us to focus on popular areas of cycling in the central core and making sure that we provide high-quality infrastructure to make that safe.”

WATCH: Golly on Global Edmonton’s Morning News, Sunday, May 18, 2014

The consultation process will also look at whether cyclists and motorists prefer on-street lanes or separate paths.

For more information on bike lanes and the consultation process, visit the City of Edmonton’s website.

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With files from Quinn Ohler, Global News.

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