Refocusing our Bike Plan, Erasing our Mistakes

After a great deal of reflection and consultation with constituents, I’ve decided that in order for us to move forward as a bike friendly city, we must admit our past mistakes and rectify them. Therefore two lanes in Ward 10, (40th Avenue from 119th street to 106th street and 106th Street from Whitemud Drive to 34th Avenue), should be removed. I will make a notice of motion at tomorrow’s council meeting to this effect. It will then be debated on July 7th.

 I will also put forward a motion that “That prior to the 2019 Capital Budget, that City Council refresh our bicycle transportation implementation strategy, review the planned network and return to council with plans for a high quality (segregated from traffic) network of cycle infrastructure in higher density communities and neighbourhood routes determined by our new approach to public engagement.” I will also propose that we create a Councillor-led Active Transportation Initiative to spearhead our work in developing multi-modal transportation systems with an emphasis on good bike infrastructure.

Recently, the Copenhagenize Index released its 2015 list of the Top 20 Bike Cities around the world. Edmonton did not rank in that list. Edmonton could be there in the future, along with cities like Montreal and Minneapolis that did make the list. While Edmonton really doesn’t need to be compared to other cities, it certainly can strive to be among the best at building a city for cycling.

Unfortunately, many of the on-street bike lanes that we currently have are not moving us in the direction of becoming a great bike city. My constituents have spoken clearly about the inadequate consultation that led to poorly designed and implemented routes and I have heard that feedback. There is simply too much “mode mixing” with cars, school buses, city buses and cyclists potentially all competing for the same space at the same time.

We’ve committed to becoming a bike friendly city, yet we continued to under-fund and under-achieve on bike planning and produce on-street lanes that are considered mistakes by a wide range of residents and prominent bike planners like Gil Penalosa. Instead, we should build a great network of cycle tracks and bike boulevards in the core and begin to work our way out.

If we want to be a Top 20 Bike City, we need to excel at creating a bicycle culture, one in which cycling is considered a safe and easy form of transportation. As I’ve spoken about on this blog before, the best way to do that is to focus on creating 8-80 bike infrastructure; lanes and routes that will work for an 8 year old and an 80 year old will work for everyone in between. The benefits of building a bike friendly city are well documented, with increased mental health and decreased obesity paramount among them. We need to create bike lanes that lead to these and other benefits.

I explain my decisions in greater detail in the sections below.


A Short History of Consultation

It has been a long process for me to arrive at this decision - some might say too long. The bike lanes on 40th Avenue and 106th Street went in a month before the 2013 election, and I immediately began hearing about them on the doorsteps.

I began my consultation on this issue in November 2013. I held a large community event planned with the support of the Centre for Public Involvement with almost 350 people in attendance, where there was almost unanimous agreement that the on-street lanes were not working well for the area. Even those who used the lanes felt that the lanes were not the best option for cyclists.

While the feedback was powerful, I knew that there was no appetite on Council to vote to remove lanes, especially ones that had only been in place for three months. I wondered if residents might like the lanes better after experiencing them in a summer season, and it was possible that we, as residents, would get used to them after some time.

In July 2014, we held the Tour de Ward 10, a biking event that travelled through the bike lanes in the Ward, so that residents could show me areas for improvement in our existing and future bike lane infrastructure. Around 30 residents participated, and the preference for high quality lanes completely separated from traffic was made pretty clear by residents.

The change that I had thought might occur hadn’t. Instead of getting used to the lanes, more and more people were becoming frustrated with them. We had waited, but the lanes weren’t working.

In the fall of 2014, I held focus groups with dozens of both drivers and cyclists to gather their feedback on the lanes and the direction they saw for cycling infrastructure in Edmonton. Again, unanimously, they spoke about the need for active transportation, but that the lanes on 40th Avenue and 106th Street were disliked and rarely used. We also received 250 individual responses to an online survey we conducted during this time. I've also heard from hundreds of residents via emails, phone calls and conversations over the past two years that these lanes just plain don't work for them, for a wide variety of reasons.

Starting again and getting a clear message

In early 2015, our administration began designing a new consultation process. The start of that occurred on June 12th, when administration held a community engagement at the Greenfield park (hot dogs and bouncy castles included) to discuss alternative forms of infrastructure that could be installed instead of the on-street lanes. Once again, the feedback from the 250 people who attended was consistent.

From an operational standpoint, the bike lanes on 40th Avenue and 106th Street have not been successful. Ridership is quite low, and clearing and maintenance of the lanes has been a persistent problem throughout the two winter seasons that the lanes have been in place, and during the spring clean up period as well. The lanes have basically become underutilized, summer season lanes that don’t promote year round cycling.

For me, that June 12th meeting was the final straw. If many active and aspiring cyclists don’t support these lanes, what was the point? This breaking point, combined with the recent conversations on Council about problems with on-street lanes in other areas, made me realize there might be an opportunity for Council to make some changes to these lanes and the bike plan overall. In fact, Council has already headed in this direction by unanimously supporting two excellent bike lane projects in the 2015-18 Capital Budget. One is a cycle track on 102nd Avenue downtown and the other is a bike boulevard on 83rd Avenue in Old Strathcona.

Are these lanes really hurting anything?

In theory, the lanes we have today aren’t hurting anyone, and there would be costs associated with taking the lanes out, so why not leave them in?

The lanes are causing significant problems in the area. The area schools unanimously claim that they are dealing with messier congestion and confusion. School and ETS buses are especially struggling to navigate these areas, resulting in a few near-misses with school children and cyclists, according to direct consultation we’ve done with school principals. The principals also note winter maintenance of the roadways has, on the whole, deteriorated since the installation of the lanes.

We have also recently changed our consultation process for new bike lanes installation. I believe it would be unfair to leave these residents with the product of the previous consultation process that we have widely acknowledged was insufficient.

Lastly, we need to look at this through the lens of public engagement. Council has made positive and holistic public engagement a priority, and this means that when citizens speak reasonably and en masse, government is under a certain obligation to do more than just listen; we must act. If Council hopes to inspire confidence in the City’s ability to work with residents, we must be responsive when they speak out with well-reasoned, experience based concerns.

Leadership and a step forward

I would ask you all to see this motion not as a step backwards, nor as a victory for those who oppose bike infrastructure outright. Rather, this is a step forward in Edmonton’s journey to becoming a top cycling city. Edmonton’s bike strategy guides us to develop high-quality infrastructure that will promote cycling in the City. The City’s actions must be in line with this principle, and this is why I will be pursuing the removal of the on-street bike lanes I’ve mentioned here, with the future development of off-street or separated lanes in the area to be planned starting immediately.

This is why I am also making the motions to refresh our bike strategy so that by the time the 2019 Capital Budget debates comes around we have meaningful bike infrastructure to debate. Having a council led initiative on Active Transportation, in my view, will help us get there.

This will send a clear message to citizens and to our Administration that Council is committed to a high quality bike network. As it relates specifically to the new plan for Ward 10, there are some excellent community leaders and cyclists committed to assisting us in getting this right. In combination with our new approach to public engagement on this issue, I feel very optimistic about what we can generate in these discussions. There are already many great ideas being proposed to create the kind of bike lanes so many people say they’d like.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of the residents from the communities around 40th Avenue and 106th Street for their patience and work on this issue. You’ve come to consultation after consultation, and while I’m sure that the pace of change has been frustrating to you, I hope that this motion to remove the lanes will assure you that I was listening, and you are represented.


Update: June 24, 2015

Yesterday at City Council, I made notice of the following motions:

1. That Administration remove and fill the on street bike lanes on 40th Avenue from 119 Street to 106 Street and on 106 street from Whitemud drive to 34th Avenue with funding from Capital Profile Arterial Road Program - Arterial Renewal Composite #15-66-1020.

2. That Administration continue working with communities in the area surrounding 40th Avenue from 119 Street to 106 Street and on 106 Street from Whitemud Drive to 34th Avenue, to plan alternative infrastructure and routes with a report to return to the October 28, 2015 Transportation Committee.

3. That Administration, prior to the 2019 Capital Budget, provide to Council through Transportation Committee, a proposed revised bicycle transportation implementation strategy to include plans for a high quality (segregated from traffic) network of cycle infrastructure and neighbourhood (local road) routes informed by the 2015 -2018 Bike Lane Infrastructure Plan enhanced public engagement strategies approved by Council on June 5, 2015.

4. That Administration prepare Terms of Reference for Council's consideration to establish a new Council Initiative named "Active Transportation."

Showing 43 reactions

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  • commented 2015-11-01 05:47:51 -0700
    To be clear I would not have been mad if the city had a plan to add a protected bike lane the second the buffered bike lane went away and that the city had build a good detour on 40 Ave and 106 St during the implementation, maybe by making one half of the road two way, and using the parking lane for bikes. But the city did not have a plan. If you sever a link, even if it is not great, it still means that I have very little ability to use the remaining lane. Cars tailgated me yesterday and I was very worried that they were going to hit me. On the grounds that we did not do enough consultation? We did not do much if any consultation when the city built the interchange at Scona Road and 98 Ave, and it did absolutely no consultation when the city widened the road near my house, and I am negatively affected by the widening, but the city is not looking at removing either the widened road or the interchange.
  • commented 2015-11-01 05:42:57 -0700
    Jerk. Removing the main route to get from several schools to a library, from homes to a mall, from homes to other homes. The convenience of drivers must never be considered more important than keeping people alive and having the ability to use bicycles. It may only be a small number of people using bicycles, but there are people who did use them. The bike lanes kept them safer. 900 000 dollars to remove them? That could easily have been spent to build almost 20 simultaneous green traffic light controlled intersections. It easily could have been spent on building a protected bike lane with plastic bollards for more than 50 km for the interim while the city can find money to use curbs. I had to ride in the curb side lane on 106 St and 40 Ave and you removed the only protection I had. Even my helmet won’t keep a car off me. It can only work if you are in a collision and there can only be collisions if there is conflict. There was without a shadow of a doubt conflict. It was a visible symbol that we had something for bicycles. You removed that symbol.
  • commented 2015-07-14 10:08:46 -0600
    I’m more disappointed in how this went down. Obvious at this point that it was simply a process played by an alderman, using a small number of negative comments from a few ward 10 comstituents to achieve what he obviously wanted in the first place. Basically used us to jump on the wagon with another alderman who’s bike lanes are really an issue. That alderman spent a lot more time researching and listening, from my understanding. Ignoring past city reports, not waiting for an updated survey, and telling us nothing would be decided until the end of August, show a complete lack of something. The retoric of removing them and upsetting people again in the future? Doesn’t make sense unless the other part of the game is to just never bother with bike lanes again? This is my 2 cents and my opinion.
  • commented 2015-07-14 09:06:22 -0600
    This is a very disappointing decision and frankly, it makes me a bit embarrassed about our city. Any cities with high quality infrastructure mix both separated and painted bike lanes to create an effective and connected system.

    I would much rather have seen the new solution put in place before removing existing infrastructure. Lets face it, actions speak much louder than words. The action now is removing and not creating.

    We also need to be more realistic with out goals. At the rate we are building being in the top 20 cities is no where near realistic with the funding available and timelines city council has committed to. I don’t like to be overly negative, but i’ve ridden through heavy industrial cities in Germany which have higher quality bike infrastructure than Edmonton.
  • commented 2015-07-10 10:53:52 -0600
    A few quotes from Transportation Services Report, CR_1033: October 15, 2014.

    “The results of the In-Service Road Safety Review indicate the bike routes are consistent
    with national design guidelines and are operating safely. The removal of the 106 Street,
    40 Avenue, and 95 Avenue bike routes based on road safety considerations would not
    be consistent with the findings of the Safety Review.”

    “The results of the Operational Review indicate the addition of on-street bike routes to
    106 Street, 40 Avenue, and 95 Avenue have had no major operational issues. These
    corridors were found to operate within acceptable and typical operational levels with
    minor changes in motor vehicle level of service or delay.”

    “The findings of the Usage Review show increases [50% – 240%] along the routes since the bike
    routes have been constructed. As more of the bicycle network is constructed … and more people become aware of the bike routes, bicycle volumes are anticipated to continue to increase.”

    Prior comments thanked you for not bending to “false logic” but it appears that is exactly what you did when you based this decision from personal stories (anecdotal fallacy) and opinion about bike lanes (arguments from incredulity) rather than from representative and non-biased information (inductive fallacy).
  • commented 2015-07-10 09:14:41 -0600
    Hi Michael… according to the newspaper today… it appears that Edmonton is in good company with Toronto and Red Deer… eliminating rather than adding bike lanes. Sanity at last.

    Thanks again for listening to the majority of your constituents and not kowtowing to special interest groups.
  • commented 2015-07-09 14:14:33 -0600
    Congratulations and many thanks Michael for listening to the residents, and researching traffic problems that access 109th Street/106th Street and 40th Avenue daily and for accomplishing the removal of the existing bike lanes!!
    Since the bike lanes were installed, one month before the election, I’ve seen a total of 2 cyclists use the bike lanes. The traffic congestion of vehicles trying to drive in one lane along with the school buses, large trucks, and construction has been very frustrating and I’ve seen “almost accidents” many times.
    We live in a northern winter city where roads are ice and snow many months of the year. I’m glad that this is finally being taken into consideration..
    Michael, thank you again for your hard work and dedication in our Ward. You’ve always listened to the people and we truly appreciate your steadfast regard to what is best for all.
  • commented 2015-07-09 13:13:03 -0600
    I too am disappointed. From what I’ve read the key issues against the bike lanes are increased congestion and inconvenience for car drivers. I do not buy the arguments of safety etc. Bottom line is that drivers are disgruntled because bike lanes, LRT or any other forms of alternate transportation cause increased congestion and hence impact their convenience. These reasons are entirely self-serving. I’ve said before, moving Edmontonian towards embracing multi-modes of transportation is a cultural shift that will require a generation or longer to occur. This decision does nothing to help. It only provides short term appeasement to the majority of drivers who have no interest in other forms of transportation. Just wait until the next bike plan is proposed and the same arguments will resurface. Mr Walter’s has perhaps won over the popular majority (good politics) but this motion demonstrates little vision or leadership to move Edmonton towards multi-modal transportation. For the record I drive, bike and use public transportation and support strategies for all. This require compromise.
  • commented 2015-07-09 12:49:52 -0600
    Councillor Walters,
    I’m afraid I can’t agree with this motion without some guaranteed commitment to replace existing lanes with alternate bike lanes. Your motion is a backward steps. Moving Edmontonians to active transportation is a culture shift that will take a generation or longer to achieve. All your motions does is postpone this cultural shift. I’ve read carefully all your reasoning but do you have actual hard evidence of safety issues or is the real issue just added inconvenience for drivers and your constituents. I have biked to work for several years and would not want the 106 street lane removed without an alternate. I fail to see how removing the lane will add to my own safety. As for your last paragraph you are asking for removal of the lane without any real concrete commitment these will be replaced. I’m afraid I don’t support you optimism.
  • commented 2015-07-09 12:41:04 -0600
    Well, that’s disappointing. Still not sure why you would have to remove the lanes only to install permanent, separated bike lanes sometime in the future. Seems to make more sense to keep the lanes installed in their current form so that people driving cars can get used to the single lane down 106 St. There seems to be a lot of rejoicing from the anti-bike lane faction by this perceived “win”. Now when I bike down this street (as I will continue to do), I worry that some folks may feel that I don’t belong there and will perform threatening actions to prove their righteousness.

    I can only imagine the mudslinging that’s going to happen when the separated lanes come in…Provided you in fact proceed with what you very clearly indicated in multiple press releases.

    But hey, Edmonton did announce the new “stroke” ambulance today, so at least we can better address those illnesses that afflict the more sedentary among us. Wouldn’t want a healthier population detracting from our expenditures on reactive medicine.
  • commented 2015-07-09 09:46:39 -0600
    Hi Michael… I just read the morning newspaper. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    1. For listening
    2. For doing the right thing… eliminating the bike lanes

    EVERYDAY I would drive down 106 street and swear about the bike lanes with so few people ever using them. Then I would see one… riding in the bike lane… on the road… on the sidewalk… through red lights… lane splitting… not signalling… and wondering what more do they want… another car lane?

    I was concerned when the bike people loaded up this site with false logic to try to get their way… but common sense and real logic prevails. The majority of people drive… and to remove an entire driving lane created confusion and congestion… and was just plain insane. Especially with the pot holes… construction and LRT causing so many problems already.

    The mayor complains about the expense to remove these abominations but what will he say when someone is injured or worse… because of them? More thought was required before installing them in the first place.

    My wife worked on your campaign and I helped deliver your fliers just to appease her. Next time I’ll be volunteering with her on your campaign!

    Thank you again!
  • commented 2015-07-06 22:16:27 -0600

    I was at the Friday evening event in Greenfields.

    In your 7.00 p.m. address you said that the city would be researching the bike lane issue throughout the summer and would come to a decision as to its future at the end of August.

    The text of your speech concerned me enough that I took you aside after you had finished speaking and mentioned that the way you were expressing yourself concerning the future of the bike lanes suggested that you had already decided to ditch them. You were very quick to reassure me that that was not the case; that although there were a lot of objections to the bike lanes you and the city would spend the summer doing research in the community before making your decision at the end of August.

    As is evident from the comments on your website there is not only a lot of objection but a considerable and alarming amount of anger and animosity towards the bike lanes. As well there are some outright lies about the actual usage made by a few arguing against the continued existence of the bike lanes. It is a lie that they are “UNUSED” or even “unused”. While the bike lanes may have come as a surprise to most of us, we have had them for a number of years now they are a part of our community. They are used. Over 1% of Aspen residents, over 2% of Greenfield, and over 3% of Lansdowne indicated on the last census that they use a bicycle as their PRIMARY form of transportation for getting to work.

    After having publicly assured us that the city was committed to researching the bike lane issue fairly throughout the summer, to turn around just four days later saying you are putting a motion before council recommending their removal completely lacks integrity.

    Sadly this issue has degenerated into an awful mess that is setting our community against itself.

    A sound community, in which it is both safe and a pleasure to live, is not built on a lack of integrity and/or driven by anger and lies to satisfy a few. From reading the comments that began to appear on your website at the beginning of this week I am left wondering if it will actually be safe to cycle on 40th Ave. should the bike lanes be removed.

    By allowing the anger of a few to shape our community you are giving anger a license for open expression. In the past few weeks my son and I have been honked at by a passing driver in a pick up truck who gave us the finger as he passed. A friend of mine had a can of pop thrown at her by the passenger in another pick up truck and told to “Get off the f**king road!”. Last Thanksgiving Weekend I was cycling in the bike lanes near 106 Street and a car came up behind me slowed down and honked and honked at me, the driver yelling at me to get off the road. The thing that surprised me about that incident being that the wife and two kids were in the car with the driver!

    Rather than addressing bike lanes at this stage we should be addressing the considerable degree of anger, animosity and aggression that this issue has revealed. What makes a neighbourhood? This is ceasing to be one.

    So yes, please, let’s refocus our bike plan. Let’s erase our mistakes – the lack of integrity, the anger and the lies – and create a community that works for everyone with no one and nothing left out.

    Let’s find a way to make it work. Restore the integrity in this initiative, please; give it the summer as you promised and if the lanes do have to go at least replace them with something that creates a safe space for cyclists on 40th avenue and 106 street. At the very least, members of any community should not have to travel in fear, but in safety.
  • commented 2015-06-25 23:55:38 -0600
    From the comments I read below, it appears that most people are in favor of the bike lanes, as I am myself. It makes not sense to remove them, and go back to no access for bikes. It used to be dangerous walking on the sidewalk because of all the bikes that didn’t want to drive on the road without a bike lane. Now that we have these lanes, people are indeed using them and staying off the sidewalks. I don’t get people in this city. They complain about things that make total sense like these bike lanes because they think vehicles should own the roads.

    Please do not waste the taxpayers money or any more time talking about this issue. They are a wonderful idea, let them show their worth over time!!

    Gary Gregoire
  • commented 2015-06-25 22:35:57 -0600
    I support this whole heartedly. I drive on 40th every day. Thank you.
  • commented 2015-06-25 10:39:33 -0600
    I am against this motion to remove these bike lanes. They are a useful way to access, for instance, the Whitemud Crossing Library from much of the southwest, as well as Harry Ainlay High School (and they are used – no question). If the city really cares about getting people to commute by bike, a much more constructive solution would be to fix the heavily used, nasty, bumpy bike routes through Belgravia, for instance, and in other places; right now the bike route along 106 Street is a gravel disaster. It would show real leadership to fix these important commuter routes, rather than kowtow to a few annoyed car drivers. Perhaps if we realized that each bike replaces a car on the road, and keeps people healthier, thus lessening traffic congestion and health costs, we would actually try. This is moving backwards and focusing on the wrong thing.
  • commented 2015-06-24 21:22:52 -0600
    Thanks Michael; sometimes it’s not easy doing the right thing. People will often focus on self-interest without realizing the bigger picture. I trust in your judgement – stay the course.
  • commented 2015-06-24 12:02:47 -0600
    Great start, getting rid of these traffic bottlenecks..
    Now please tell me why 106 St from 51 Ave to 63 Ave is going to be made one way northbound. Maybe it pleases the 20 house owners there, but it will offload their traffic problem (which was likely there before they were) unto their neighbours a few blocks away. What about the elementary school? How are parents supposed to pick kids up? (This is not a “walk up, neighbourhood” school)
    And the plan is for a bike lane…in the centre of the street!
    People need 106 St for work and university.
    Our city and traffic is growing…bottling up traffic will not help.
    Another case of the tail wagging the dog, methinks.

    I am not an anti bike person, however, it bothers me to hear about how drivers have to learn to share the road with bikes.
    Explain to me how a bike rider who squeezes past cars in a “shared lane” area and gets to the front of the line when cars all have to wait, or runs through a stop sign or red light is “sharing”?

    I believe dedicated and separate bike paths is safer for all parties. It sure works in Holland!
  • commented 2015-06-24 08:52:47 -0600
    I’m also against the motion to remove the lanes. I ride the 106th street lane every day and I think it’s great. Frankly, I’ve never had any issues using it (other than the spring gravel) and from my perspective everyone seems to navigate the corridor just fine during peak hours. Perhaps some drivers are miffed that the bikes are going faster than the cars sometimes, but that’s not an inherent flaw with the lanes.

    Multiple commentators raised an important point – the consultation process for the installation of the lanes was vastly superior and more statistically defensible than the consultation process you’re basing this decision on. I didn’t hear a whisper about the removal of the lanes until I read about it in this morning’s paper. The unrepresentative nature of your ‘sample’ appears to be an exercise in bad decision making.

    Since we’re allowing ourselves to be swayed by the opinion of a slim minority, let me present another statistic from a small, biased and unrepresentative sampling of Ward 10: In this comment thread, there are 8 comments for the removal of the bike lanes and 16 comments against the removal of the bike lanes (not counting mine) and one that couldn’t be deciphered either way. Therefore, 64% of people in Ward 10 want to keep the bike lanes so you should cancel your motion to remove the lanes.
  • commented 2015-06-23 18:55:46 -0600
    Councillor Michael Walters, I am very disappointed in how you have been squandering your energies on this non issue. This is not the reason why we elected you. Our tax dollars are not being spent well by employing you to beating this issue into a froth for apparent attention and political points and not much else.

    “Erasing Our Mistakes??”

    Please erase these mistakes of yours:
    1) Wasting your taxpayer paid time, funded by my tax dollars, on this nonsense.
    2) Encouraging ongoing and escalating bitterness and animosity between constituent groups.
    3) Attempting to waste taxpayer money already spent on bike lanes by removing them.
    4) Attempting to waste more taxpayer money to pay crews to remove bike lanes.
    5) Attempting to set a precedent and open up a can of worms, which will surely lead to future groups screaming to have more bike lanes removed, and more horrendous waste of taxpayer dollars.

    24 months is ridiculous. Leave all the existing bike lanes in place for 10 years. Then start a discussion on their viability after everyone has shut up squealing and accepted them.

    The present situation on Edmonton roads is war.
    Pure and simple.
    Bicyclists have a right to share the road in Edmonton. Any road.
    90% of non bicycling motorists in Edmonton would love to see all bicycles disappear without a trace.
    This is the cretinistic mentality you are pandering to.
    Again, very disappointing Michael.
  • commented 2015-06-23 18:32:03 -0600
    Poor decision, and I will oppose it all the way. I both drive and cycle up and down 40th ave every day. These traffic issues Mike Walters speaks of and non existent. He is simply catering to all the folks driving around in their BMWs and Mercedes who now have to slow down and share the roads with cyclists. Mike Walters has no idea how much it cost to put the bike lanes down, no idea how much it will cost to take them back up, and no real plan as to where and when they will be replaced. He was wrong about demolishing the petrolia mall (which has a daycare, a new supermarket, and soon to be medical clinic)’ and he is wrong about this.
  • commented 2015-06-23 16:42:33 -0600
    Are we referring to the bike lane or dedicated ETS Transit lane. I’m tired of being cut off or passed on the right by ETS transit who thinks they can pass using the bike lane. I’ve contacted ETS who think it’s an education issue with their bus drivers and not an issue. I’m ready to give up on “obeying” city laws that do not apply to the city departments.
  • commented 2015-06-23 15:16:26 -0600
    Will not support this and am so disappointed in Mr Walters. Leaders should embrace change and not fall to demands of a few disgruntled from a large ward that show up at a meeting, then decide even before the survey is closed. There are many comments here from everyone for and against, but this is going to take time to get used to. I raised my family here since 1985. Schools were a terror to get around before and after the lanes were put in. People actually drive better through these areas. It took us a while to get used to them for the most part. In a few years it will get better and if there are improvements to make then go for it. To shut them down is a I give up attitude. That is not leadership I would expect from our city representative. I also do not like it blamed on the previous city admin. That tells me Mr Walters does not want them and is looking for a scape goat. I bike, drive my vehicle and use ETS. I see many people using these lanes all the time. The reasons for taking these out as outlined from Mr Walters is absolute garbage.
  • commented 2015-06-23 15:07:44 -0600
    I completely disagree. The bike lane on 106 street is used and valued by those of us who do use it. While it would be wonderful to have a separated designated space for cyclists that seems untangle. So rather than provide cyclists with a partial solution of d sign aged space on shared roadways you want to make it even more dangerous for us by taking away what has already been provided.
  • commented 2015-06-23 13:52:40 -0600
    I’m dismayed with Michael Walters’ decision to introduce a motion to remove the bike lanes, for the following reason:

    The decision is being based on the feedback of 300+ people that attended two meetings. The 2012 Municipal Census results for Ward 10 indicate that there are 60,475 people in Ward 10. I would argue that the majority of the 0.5% (300 / 60,475) of the residents of Ward 10 that chose to come to the meetings were highly biased to oppose the bike lanes. It is statistically invalid to think that the opinions of the people that attended the meetings are representative of the entire community.

    I would suggest that Ward 10 be surveyed with a valid survey and a random sample before any long term changes are proposed.
  • commented 2015-06-23 12:53:05 -0600
    I am super disappointed with this decision. I live facing 40th ave, and I see bikers all the time using those lanes and I use them myself as a cyclist. As well, the lanes have calmed traffic and decreased speed throughout the neighborhood which is a good thing. And as a resident, I walk/bike/drive to work during the morning rush and don’t have an issue. I also drop my kids off to daycare close to one of the schools and can still navigate the traffic in both a bike and a car. A far better solution for the bottleneck by 117th and 40th is to make that traffic light a real light so people turning into the school can do so in a timely fashion and reduce congestion!!
  • commented 2015-06-23 12:40:30 -0600
    Councillor Walters,
    I’m afraid I can’t agree with this motion without some guaranteed commitment to replace existing lanes with alternate bike lanes. Your motion is a backward steps. Moving Edmontonians to active transportation is a culture shift that will take a generation or longer to achieve. All your motions does is postpone this cultural shift. I’ve read carefully all your reasoning but do you have actual hard evidence of safety issues or is the real issue just added inconvenience for drivers and your constituents. I have biked to work for several years and would not want the 106 street lane removed without an alternate. I fail to see how removing the lane will add to my own safety. As for your last paragraph you are asking for removal of the lane without any real concrete commitment these will be replaced. I’m afraid I don’t support you optimism.
  • commented 2015-06-23 11:43:36 -0600
    The 34th avenue east-west corridor between 119 and 111 streets is well used by cyclists, as is the bike path on the west side of 122 street past the Uni farm (even with the “issues” with the path at Lansdown mall).

    A surprisingly good part of the system, that is heavily used, is the alley way on the east side of 119 street, south of 40th avenue. Even though the bike path switches from the north west to the south east at 119 and 40th, you slalom through posts and broken bottles to enter, and surf the humps in the road, it is still well used. It’s a picturesque tree lined path with a horrible surface from the normal effects of too many years of garbage trucks and mis-spec-ed asphalt. Unfortunately it would be a tax increase for the adjacent residents to maintain that bike path.

    It appears that separated, sidewalk style, bike paths do get used by bikes and walkers. People are genuinely afraid to use the on-street lanes, the busses and cars have to cross the lanes in their normal travel, the boulevard sweepings are put onto the bike lanes, and many people in cars ignore the markings. Instead, it might be nice to run the paths along the high pressure gas pipeline right of way north of 40th ave.

    In my youth, I raced bicycles and am comfortable riding in traffic, but not everyone would be okay with slapping on the roof of a car when it got too close. Many people buy urban assault vehicles – sorry – SUVs for their perceived safety. Would you expect those people, and their kids, to ride on a busy on-street path separated from that Mercedes by lycra? Thus we have the situation with 40th avenue and 106 street.

    (sarcasm alert) An on-street path along 119 street would be disastrous, the drag racing is far too popular now to happen with 8-year olds weaving around on their bikes. (end sarcasm, maybe) Perhaps what is really needed is speed bumps, chicanes, and big nasty trees if we can get them to grow past saplings before getting run over – the trees that is.
  • commented 2015-06-23 09:37:26 -0600
    I live right by 40th avenue and can say that after driving up and down that road every summer for the past two years, I’ve seen three cyclists use it, including myself. It causes traffic snarls around schools since there is only one lane of traffic, the kids ride on the sidewalk anyway because of the numerous parked cars that are pulling out of their parallel parking spot, and the bike lane is never cleared in winter, nor has the sand been cleared in summer until June. I think it causes more harm that it benefits the community, not only from a convenience standpoint, but a safety standpoint! The 106th St bike lanes are used far more regularly and make more practical sense, but the 40th avenue lanes just cause trouble for everyone!

    I think bike lanes are a wonderful thing, having grown up biking to school regularly. It’s just unfortunate that the 40th avenue bike lanes were implemented without consultation with the local community.
  • commented 2015-06-23 08:22:35 -0600
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss 40th Avenue’s ill conceived bike lanes. I wish to express my great concern and disappointment at the way the City wasted very significant funds to implement the bike lanes on 40th Avenue. I use that road very frequently and since the lanes were implemented almost two years ago, I have seen barely any bikes using them over that entire period. But at rush hours and school beginning and end times, traffic congestion has become intolerable. It is now time to admit a mistake was made and to completely repeal the lanes. Traffic there is careful already because of the schools and there has never been a car-bike accident.
    Elsewhere in the City bike routes are painted on residential roads that are in disgraceful condition, as in Garneau, serve no useful purpose at all and last but one season.
    Please, spend our money with more thought for the general good and efficiency of the City and less reliance on special interest groups.
    Thank you very much for your concern.
  • commented 2015-06-23 08:10:13 -0600
    Thanks for removing the bike lanes. That clearly didn’t work.
    But what exactly is the “new approach to public engagement?” The post mentions it but didn’t explain. Is it that you listen now? Wasn’t that the policy before? How can there be a “new” approach?