News / Edmonton

Edmonton bike grid nearly doubles downtown cycling, early numbers show

Head of Edmonton's Downtown Business Association says the stats are a positive sign

Bike Lanes in Edmonton

Kevin Tuong / Edmonton Freelance

Bike Lanes in Edmonton

Cycling in downtown Edmonton nearly doubled after the bike grid was installed, according to early numbers.

Using sensors, the city recorded 2,454 riders on May 31 before the grids were installed, and 4,711 on the same streets on June 30, following the installation.

Downtown Business Association President Ian O’Donnell said it’s too early to make assumptions based on a small statistical snapshot, but he is “very pleased” with the positive uptake.

“On the face of it, it’s a 92 per cent increase in use on those two days being compared,” he said. “That’s a very positive sign and certainly we want to make sure we’re promoting the bike lanes as a low-cost, healthy alternative.”

The bike lanes have been a point of contention among business owners in the area.

Speaking with Metro in July, some criticized the bike lanes or even called them a “disaster,” while others said the grid was a positive move and bringing in more customers.

“We’ve certainly heard a variety of opinions – some positive and some not as much,” O’Donnell said. “It looks like people are adjusting to the change.”

O’Donnell said some restaurant and bar owners have commented that their patios are more pleasant now that they are more separated from car traffic.

Others, however, have decried the loss of car parking and loading zones – issues O’Donnell said he is working on with the city.

Regardless, the grid is moving ahead at full speed with an official launch slated for Aug. 26, when activity stations will be set up throughout downtown to showcase the system.

“It’s a significant change to how we move about downtown. But we need to be reminded that we’re one of the last major cities to implement a bike grid in their urban core. So we’re not reinventing the wheel here, we’re actually playing catch-up a little bit,” O’Donnell said.

“We want to make sure that people have a variety of low-cost options to get downtown and move about downtown, and certainly the bike grid will help with that.”

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