Coun. Randy Donauer was the lone committee member to not endorse the report, which includes $300,000 in downtown bike lane design costs in 2020, followed by $2.15 million in 2021 for construction and another $2.15 million for construction in 2022.
“For the amount that it’s costing and the percentage of our residents that use it, especially during winter, it’s a lot of money,” Donauer said.
The $4.6 million is part of the city’s active transportation plan exceeding $10 million over 11 years beginning next year to establish a citywide cycling network.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the cost surprised him, though he stated other cycling infrastructure like that on Victoria Avenue and Meewasin Trail have been well-received.
The decisions at committee still require approval from Saskatoon city council.
The report considered by Saskatoon’s transportation committee also appeared to scrap the 4th Avenue bike lanes, originally installed as a pilot project, in favour of bike lanes on 3rd Avenue.
With cycling infrastructure on 3rd Avenue, the BRT lanes could be moved to 1st Avenue, like some business owners and the North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA) advocated for last year.
Clark said advantages to moving BRT to 3rd Avenue has advantages, including wider streets and a direct transition onto the Traffic Bridge.
Donauer said he is in favour of moving the BRT line to 1st Avenue, adding the bus line needs to be close to a possible downtown arena.
The city’s growth plan includes targets to double transit and cycling usage as Saskatoon grows toward half a million people.