Edmonton bike infrastructure in focus as snow falls
Bike enthusiasts are excited to see how the new downtown bike grid improves winter cycling.
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Adam Noble-Johnson cycled through five kilometres of snow and cold temperatures Monday morning, and he can’t wait for the new downtown bike grid to make things easier.
“It was pretty hard today – there was freshly fallen snow and not all the roads are clear,” said Noble-Johnson, a former resident of Calgary, which already has a downtown cycle grid.
“I’m noticing not having that infrastructure makes a difference. I’m excited to see what gets built here.”
Noble-Johnson isn’t the only Edmontonian faring new trails as snow coats the roads.
The city’s recently-opened 102 Avenue trail — from about 126 Street to 134 Street — is making some commutes easier, especially when it’s snowy and cold.
Coun. Andrew Knack, an avid winter cyclist, said using the 102 Avenue mixed-use trail — which opened in the summer — has made his trip better.
“I started using it just as the snow started to fall,” he said. “For me, it’s a good introduction and it’s getting me downtown easier and safer than before.”
Chris Chan, executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, said the new trail is critical for cyclists coming from the west-end to downtown.
“Previously, a lot of people would either be riding on the sidewalk or on the road,” he said. “The new shared-use path is definitely an improvement, and I find myself preferring to take it — it’s a lot more comfortable and you have your own space.”
Chan said the 102 Avenue trail — like all bike infrastructure — encourages more people to cycle in the winter.
He’s anticipating an uptick in cyclists when the trail connects to Oliver and the new bike grid later this year.
“Having a good route where you can feel safe — that’s something you have to rely on the city for,” he said. “Having this good infrastructure really opens up that option for a lot of people who wouldn’t be comfortable otherwise.”