SASKATOON – Saskatoon is known for its beautiful Meewasin Valley that provides kilometres of trails for cyclists, but the number of users drops for downtown commuters and the city wants to know why. They’re asking for the public’s opinion how to improve active transportation.
“If you want to be a big city you have to have more options available to people. Our population is becoming more diverse. Not everybody can afford a car or does want to take a car so what we’re trying to do is build a city and a future that has characteristics that encourage people to take other forms of transportation,” says city planning and development director, Alan Wallace.
The goal is to double the number of active transportation commuters by 2030, when the city’s population is excepted to reach a half million.
“We’re observing the four per cent of people who’ve indicated that cycling is their regular mode of transportation. What we’re trying to do in the growth plan for thirty years, a growth plan to half a million, is essentially we’re trying to double that number,” says Wallace.
But why aren’t more people biking and walking? For many Saskatonians safety is the top issue. Ice, rocks and unprotected bike lanes make the commute to work too hazardous.
Data from the survey, which closes Sunday at midnight, will be used to develop an improvement plan scheduled for completion spring 2016.
“Once we’ve got all of that community feedback put together in one report it’s going to come to committee and then council and it’ll be happening in the next couple months. From there we hope to prioritize some projects for funding in the next budget,” says Ward 7 Coun. Mairin Loewen.
By next winter another set of protected bike lanes will be built on Broadway and 24th Street, with additional downtown bike lanes on 4th Avenue.