News / Edmonton

Downtown Edmonton Bike lanes possible by 2017 for $7.5 million

Engineering firm designs grid to cover downtown.

Stantec's proposed bike grid would connect most of the core to a cycling route.

Suppllied / Stantec

Stantec's proposed bike grid would connect most of the core to a cycling route.

A 'minimum grid' of bike lanes across the downtown could be installed by next year at a cost of no more than $7.5 million, according to a report going to city councillors next week.

The proposal for a minimum basic grid would see lanes along 104 Avenue, 102 Avenue and 100 Avenue, as well as 106 Street, 103 Street and 99 Street.

The report says they could be installed in 2017.

The report comes from engineering firm Stantec, who approached the city earlier this year, offering to identify a minimum basic grid.

The company got involved in part because they wanted their employees to be able to cycle to their new tower downtown.

Edmonton has plans for permanent bike lanes in the core, but due to the Valley Line LRT their construction is projected to stretch into the 2020's.

Stantec pegs the cost of the full network at a top price of $6.6 million, which would separate the lanes with small curbs and planters.

The city has added additional costs for increase snow maintenance and improvements to traffic lights to get to the $7.5 million number.

Conrad Nobert, with Paths for People, said even at the city’s higher cost the project is good value.

“The dollar amount is relatively low, but more importantly it could be allocated within the existing capital budget,” he said.

Nobert said a full network in the downtown like this would be a shot in the arm to encouraging cycling in the city.

“They would be doing it all at once, so seven kilometers of these protected bike paths would all go in,” he said.

Nobert said that could mean a cyclist could ride in safety for their whole commute.

“It’s not a small part of your route.”

If council supports the network they will be asked to authorize construction for either 2017 or 2018. Nobert said they shouldn’t wait.