As the city pushes Edmontonians to use alternative modes of transportation, more and more people are using the multi-use trails around the city.
But that is causing some safety concerns, according to one advocacy group.
Paths for People is calling on the City of Edmonton to change how it designs multi-use paths all over the city.
“Off-leash areas, the ravines, anywhere in the river valley,” spokesman Conrad Nobert said. “Some of those places are still remote enough that they aren’t used that heavily and the multi-use path is completely appropriate.
“But, in some of the central areas, they’re starting to get really busy. When they renew or build new paths in those areas, we’d just like the city to take a bit of a more sophisticated approach.”
Users walking side-by-side, owners letting their dogs off-leash and young children on bicycles are just some of the issues cited by the group.
A report released by Paths for People features several recommendations to the city including:
- To commit to build multi-use trails in the future with segregated lanes for those in a wheelchair, cycling, rollerblading, etc.
- Add segregated cycling and walking lanes to existing multi-use trails that are already heavily used
- Give priority for renewal to multi-use trails that are built next to roadways
Scroll down to read the full Paths for People report.
Angel Doyle is a mother of three who has had a few close-calls when using multi-use trails with her kids. A child she was with was nearly hit after moving from one side of the pathway. She said an oncoming cyclist almost fell off her bike to avoid the child.
“I think everything needs separation. It doesn’t need to be physical, like curbs, when it’s cyclists versus pedestrians, but the different modes need to be separated.
“I think the two-direction, multi-use trails are stupid. It’s being designed by people who don’t go biking with kids.”
The issue really came to light last summer when suicide barriers were added to the High Level Bridge.
Cyclists felt they didn’t have the space needed to safely pass pedestrians.
Nobert doesn’t have statistics about exactly how many close calls there are, but points to the outcry after the High Level Bridge was narrowed as evidence there is a problem.
“There’s a lot of conflict on that bridge on the multi-use trails there.”
Nobert adds the group hasn’t done the work to figure out how many paths need to be looked at. He said they want the city to implement a policy before they start that work.