A paper published by University of Lethbridge professors studying cycling infrastructure in the city says more room for bikes might lead more people to leave their cars at home.
The study finds adults are interested in cycling as a method of travel, but want separation from vehicles.
“It tells me that there is a desire for more cycling infrastructure in Lethbridge,” paper co-author Richard Larouche said. “It was one of the things that came out loud and clear, was the need for safe infrastructure.”
An assistant professor of public health at the University of Lethbridge, Larouche says many respondents spoke favourably about bike boulevards and multi-use bike paths.
City of Lethbridge transportation engineering manager Ahmed Ali says the 7 Avenue South bike boulevard is already getting more bikes on the road, with five times more cyclists hitting the streets in 2019 compared to in 2016, before the boulevard was built.
“Lots of people, including myself, don’t feel comfortable when I’m riding on a road along with vehicles,” Ali said. “We’re trying to create infrastructure that is inviting… safe and encouraging.”
An avid cyclist himself, Larouche is hoping to see more paths like the bike boulevard in Lethbridge, encouraging people to choose pedal power over horsepower.
“We’re quite fortunate to have a good network of paths for cycling, walking and running for recreational purposes, but I think where there is room for improvement is when it comes to transportation.”
The city is currently planning protected bike lanes along 4 Avenue South between Scenic Drive and Stafford Drive, with another along 7 Street, connecting the 7 Avenue bike boulevard to 3 Avenue South.
Construction is expected to be completed next year.