The transportation committee voted to approve a report on a project that would create a 1.9 kilometre-long path for cyclists between Dawes Avenue and Spadina Crescent.
If approved, the City would build a three-metre-wide multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians between Dawes and Avenue P South and paint bike indicators on the road between Ave P and Spadina, connecting a multi-use path west of Circle Drive to the Meewasin Trail.
The committee’s vote does not commit the City to fund the project but gives the administration licence to continue to define and design the project.
A report on the project stated it would cost $2.7 million, of which about $1.1 million would go to build and fix sidewalks.
It also states it would provide better access to the Gordie Howe Management Area.
Several councillors said they wished the title better reflected the sidewalk improvements.
A board member of Saskatoon Cycles, a bike advocate group, said she supported the proposal but said the speed limit should be lowered to 30 km/h where bikes share the road with cars.
“It might add 10 seconds into your commute in a car,” Erin Edwards said, “but I think people’s lives are worth those 10 seconds.”
Speaking over Zoom, she told Global News the City should move ahead with the project, especially when so many people are buying and riding bikes during the pandemic, so long as administrators are mindful of the budget.
She said she was also excited for the new sidewalks the project would create.
Jay Magus said the administration is preparing a report on reducing the speed limit in residential areas.
“A feature of the bikeways is a reduced speed limit, so we will include that component in our upcoming report,” he told the committee.
The proposal is part of the Active Transportation Plan, the purpose of which is to provide greener transportation methods and more connectivity. That plan is part of the City’s broader plan to grow to half a million people in size.
Funding for the project would come from the capital budget in the next budget cycle.