102 Avenue bike lane green-lit for funding from Edmonton city council
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Some may consider it a long-fought battle, some have described it as long-needed in the downtown core and, now, the 102 Avenue bike lane is set to go ahead.
Council voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to dedicate $8.779 million for a stretch of bike infrastructure physically separated from motor-vehicle traffic from 96 Street to 136 Street.
"[Council] showed a lot of leadership in rebooting the city's bicycle infrastructure strategy and they decided to build, with this budget, two high-quality bike routes in central neighbourhoods where they're needed and where they will drive a high level of ridership when built," said Conrad Nobert, a member of the Edmonton Bike Coalition.
Coun. Scott McKeen put forth the motion to fund the previously unfunded project, saying the minute the budget came out and the 102 Avenue bike lane had no dollars next to it, his inbox began to "ping."
"I brought this forward because of the demand from the community. The emerging generations— people in their 20s, 30s —are not as reliant on cars as my generation," he said."They want to see council invest in this infrastructure to show that we get it."
Coun. Ben Henderson echoed his colleagues' statements, adding that the bike lane will mean increased ridership to the downtown core.
"This will allow us to get more people out there who want to use it," he said.
City administration is still early on in the consultation process for the proposed design of 102 Avenue. Construction is estimated to begin in 2015 or 2016, after the public is consulted on a more detailed design, set to be released in the spring of 2015.
"From a cycling and commuter perspective— and when I say commuters I mean all commuters, not just cyclists— 102 Avenue is a huge one," said Christopher Chan with Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society. "Having full funding to build the highest quality of infrastructure that the communities wish for is really promising and is a message from council that: 'We do get it and we think this is a valuable part of the direction Edmonton is taking.'"