News / Edmonton

Edmonton councillors face decision on downtown bike lanes

New grid could be in place next summer if council green lights spending.

At a cost of $7.5 million, there could be a bike grid downtown on the streets marked in green by next summer.

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At a cost of $7.5 million, there could be a bike grid downtown on the streets marked in green by next summer.

The push for a fully separated bike lane grid downtown could move across the finish line Tuesday, as councillors vote to give their approval of the plan.

The proposed basic minimum grid downtown would see lanes along 104 Avenue, 102 Avenue and 100 Avenue, as well as 106 Street, 103 Street and 99 Street using planters and small curbs to separate traffic.

Some councillors at the city’s urban development committee gave their approval unanimously last month, but to move ahead with the $7.5 million proposal a majority of the 13-member council will have to support them Tuesday.

Chris Chan, executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuter’s Society, said they’re confident there are enough votes to support the plan.

He said they want councillors to know it’s not only the right decision, but one supported by the public.

“As it rolls out in the coming year and beyond that, they know they did it with strong support from the community,” he said.

Paths for People, another group that supports the lanes, delivered 46 letters from downtown businesses to councillors on Friday.

The group’s chair Anna Ho, said in a media release the businesses all realize the lanes will make their business more, not less viable.

“These organizations realize that the bike grid can improve vitality and quality of life downtown. We’re pleased to deliver such a positive message to council”.

Chan said these lanes downtown represent a big step forward and he’s confident everyone can get behind them.

He said once they’re in place he imagines all kinds of cyclists will start using them to commute.

“They might still feel intimidated by biking downtown until they actually get out and try riding on protected bike lanes. They will really realize how comfortable they can actually be.”

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