SASKATOON – As Saskatoon recovers from this week’s first major snowfall, all eyes are on whether the city will deliver its summer promise to keep the new protected bike lanes clear. The city says it’s got everything under control.
Bike lanes will be attended to depending on what street they’re on and where that street lands on the city’s priority list. So far, the city has contracted a private company to remove the snow from the lanes.
“The bike lanes are an entirely different process; they’re part of a pilot project run by the planning and development division,” said Pat Hyde, the city’s director of public works.
But there are still apprehensions. Bevin Bradley, a cyclist who’s never shy to hop on her bike and brave prairie temperatures says she’s noticed snow being pushed to the bike lanes.
“I think we have a long way to go,” she said, adding that the city needs more bike lanes.
“There are days that my life is threatened. And there isn’t a good place for me because on the sidewalk, people are angry that I’m not a pedestrian. On the road, people are angry that I’m not a vehicle,” she said.
On Thursday afternoon, more snow was found in a bike lane by 2nd Avenue and 23rd Street than on the street.
Saskatoon Cycles says a perfect score card is never easy on the first try but so far it’s impressed with the city’s responsiveness.
“The biggest criticism that I heard was just around city hall that the contractors hired to do the sidewalks that were pushing snow into bike lanes. That made it hard for cyclists to get by that section,” said Sean Shaw, spokesperson for Saskatoon Cycles.
Shaw says so far he gives the city a seven out of 10 on its bike lane snow clearing performance.