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Edmonton considering options for new bike lanes

EDMONTON – Downtown and Old Strathcona could soon be the latest neighbourhoods to have new bicycle lanes.

With the success of bike lanes installed in other areas, the City of Edmonton will restart talks on where new lanes should be implemented.

“The last couple of months have been really great,” said Tyler Golly, general supervisor of the city’s sustainable transportation department.

“In May, we asked Edmontonians to restart the conversation on bike lanes and residents jumped on board. We received tremendous online and public meeting feedback which has helped shape our plans moving forward.”

In May, the city admitted in a full-page ad in the Edmonton Journal that it should have had better planning and consultation for previous bike lanes.

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

Golly believes the issue has been addressed and planners are on the right track with their open bike lane discussion scheduled for the end of October.

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He also thinks the number of cyclists on 106 Street and 76 Avenue will be reflected in the newly-proposed routes along downtown’s 102 Avenue and Old Strathcona’s 83 Avenue.

“They’re pretty popular routes for cyclists. They have about 400 to 600 cyclists a day and we think, with some high-quality infrastructure that Edmontonians are looking for, we can really boost that and have a significant increase,” said Golly.

The City of Edmonton’s 2014-2018 bike lane infrastructure plan includes a network of nearly 500 kilometres of proposed bike routes.

On Friday and Saturday, residents had the opportunity to test out design options: Bike Boulevard, Bicycle Contra-flow Lane, and Cycle Track.

“We really have to be looking at ways to move people through our city safely and efficiently. We can’t just be doing it with vehicles. We need to be looking at LRT, making walkable neighbourhoods, improving transit service, as well as providing bike infrastructure,” said Golly.

The Bike Boulevard is a shared road space where priority is given to cyclists and pedestrians. According to Golly, the cost can range from $400,000-$600,000 per kilometre.

The Contra-Flow Lane allows cyclists to travel against the flow of vehicle traffic on a one-way street.

The Cycle Track – also called a protected bike lane – can cost roughly $1 million per kilometre.

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“Having really high quality bike infrastructure in Edmonton, we really demonstrate the need and the demand for it and the desire from residents to have road infrastructure that really enables people to have choice, said Chris Chan, of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society.

The downtown route discussion takes place October 29 at 5 p.m. at the Robertson-Wesley United Church.

Old Strathcona will have a talk in the Maple Leaf Room of the Lister Hall Conference Centre October 30 at 5 p.m.

With files from Global Edmonton’s Shallima Maharaj