46 letters supporting downtown Edmonton bike grid delivered to city hall

New bike lanes are coming to Bay Street in Hamilton. Global News

The group Paths for People is not taking any chances when it comes to Tuesday’s city council vote for a downtown bike grid.

Even though it appears there’s next to no opposition for this plan, 46 letters of support were delivered Friday afternoon to city hall.

“They are businesses both small and large,” Anna Ho told 630 CHED. “Businesses like Dynalife, Epcor, Stantec as well as not-for-profits and educational institutions like the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension and MacEwan University, just saying that they are in support of the minimum grid.”

“Businesses are in support because it’s been proven that adding active transportation infrastructure increases the economic prosperity of the region,” she said.

READ MORE: Bike lanes around the world: Where mere paint won’t do it

It’s that participation that Coun. Scott McKeen wants to see increased and he’s confident you’ll see that.

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“Calgary has found that with the segregated bike lanes, the number of female riders really went up.

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“I think you’ll see families riding together now that you wouldn’t have seen,” McKeen said. “You might see situations where kids are able to ride from home along a segregated bike lane to school.”

He’s already envisioning 127 Street as a next step because it has a bike lane that is used but, if it can be separated by flower boxes, bollards or rubber curbs, you’ll see use grow even more.

“It’s about perception of safety as well as safety.”

READ MORE: Demolition of contentious Edmonton bike lanes underway

The proposal, crafted by Stantec and approved by council’s Urban Planning Committee, comes with a price tag of roughly $1 million per kilometre.

“Believe me, I’ve been struggling over the cost of bike lanes,” McKeen said.

“Even the 102 Ave. bike lane, which was $9 million – it was really about $4 million – but into the budget gets thrown a bunch of utilities work that they might as well be doing at the same time. And in this one, they’re going to be upgrading a bunch of traffic lights.”

“People are skeptical. It’s good to be skeptical about government, I think. The goals are good here. It’ll always been the implementation. Can we pull this off in a way that it attracts cyclists so that we can reduce congestion?”

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READ MORE: Cyclist groups applaud downtown Edmonton bike lanes pegged at $7.5 million 

“When Stantec did its traffic analysis, it tried to limit the impact to motor vehicle traffic,” Ho said. “This has very limited impacts on motor vehicles yet it increases the safety for those who choose to cycle and it increases the safety of pedestrians as well because now everyone has an area where they can choose their preferred mode of transportation.”

Council will vote on the plan Tuesday. If it’s approved it could be in place by late June or early July.

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