Episode 4: Bike Lanes

Bike lanes have been a hot topic in Edmonton lately so that’s what we discuss in episode #4!

The City is planning to install 23 km of on-street bike routes this summer and has been conducting some open houses and other events to make people aware and to get feedback. Some people are really upset with the proposed routes, while supporters point to the fact that a very tiny percentage of the budget is spent on making Edmonton a friendlier city for cyclists.

Have the plans to add more on-street bike infrastructure really become “a nightmare” as Mayor Mandel put it? Can you really cycle in the winter? We chat about those questions and more in this episode.

Here are some relevant links for this episode:

Bike lanes will be in the news again in a couple weeks when Administration returns to City Council’s Transportation Committee with an update on the consultation process. Stay tuned!

  • Lindsay Smith

    Another great podcast guys. I think the City’s target of putting in 500 km of bike lanes over the next few years is not the right approach. They need to study where bikers are travelling in greatest abundance now and concentrate on building really good infrastructure for those routes. Completely separated from vehicle traffic wherever possible. The test of a good bike lane is: do Grandmothers and children feel comfortable to ride on it? LRT stations need to have bike corrals so people can ride to the LRT on their bike, park it in a safe and secure place, ride the LRT to their destination and back, and bike back home. Again, dedicated bike lanes need to go to the LRT stations. Trying to run bikes and cars together down some of our busiest streets like 76 Ave. and 106 Street is not the way to go. We need more dedicated paths like along the railroad right of way north of the high level bridge.

  • ChrisBuyze

    I find some of Grahams comments concerning and bristling. It is endemic of the a particular view that car usage and travel is a right, this is how we do it in Edmonton, and there are no other viable options. ‘Progression’ means looking at good urban planning best practices, not righteousness! Bike commuting as a percentage of our modality, not as something you have to do 365 days a year. Graham is trying to stereotype how this infrastructure would be used – an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ attitude – when in fact all modes on the road can get along just fine. In fact the issue is, and opinions are, much more nuanced that Graham would allow us to believe. Bike communting is and will continue to be a very viable mode of transportation for a growing amount of citizens.

    Firstly, I don’t believe the ‘rights’ of motorists (and one could argue they don’t have rights, it’s a privilege to drive) are not in fact being trampled on, but the attempt is to create better balance on the street between various modes of transport.

    Secondly, public parking is also not a right for your private vehicle. There is a righteousness amoungst some car drivers that significant amounts of public property be set aside for cars. There is lots of research and urban planning to suggest that parking is a very wasteful use of public space and does not ensure the vitality of an area or street. That said, I do support a mix of vehicles, bikes, and pedestrian, including street parking, where that can be achieved. For example, loading zones are important to independent businesses. But not at the expense of better balance on the street that could include bike infrastructure.

    In terms of 76 Avenue corridor specifically and practically – where else would you put it if it’s not there? 82 Avenue is not an option, as isn’t Argyll Road. There is not other way to cross Mill Creek Ravine, and the bike commuter use would be that much higher than a few lost parking stalls. Bike commuting does not equal recreational biking!

    The current bike plan included over 3 years of consultation. Was that consultation process perfect, probably not. It should be noted that we are only spending $1m per year on bike infrastructure. Heaven forbid what would happen if Council ever planned to spend more! Graham simply is not educated on the subject and that is very unfortunate given the influence he could have for constructive dialogue.

    • http://twitter.com/journalistjeff Jeff Samsonow

      I love how angry people get about parking right in front of their home. It amazes me whenever it comes up, and makes me laugh when I happen to drive and park a car. My goodness, walking a block is a small price to pay for the privilege to drive freely (and drive without having to pay for the actual cost of using the road, unlike transit riders subsidizing their ride).

      The 2013 bike lanes are probably not the answer to our commuting mix, but this is a step forward and hopefully this passion builds so the City puts some actual money into bike infrastructure. Cars rule Edmonton now, but they don’t have to rule forever and a true metropolis has to have a mix.