Controversial Beltline bike lane changes coming

The city says changes are coming to the controversial 10th Avenue bike lane downtown.

City says floating bike lane could change roads or be physically separated from cars

The city says they will make changes to the 10th Avenue bike lane, but haven't decided what they will be yet. (Google Streetview)

The city says changes are coming to the controversial 10th Avenue S.W. bike lane downtown.

The westbound lane opened last fall. It’s a "floating" bike lane, meaning it’s bikes only during the evening rush hour, but the rest of the time it’s used for parking.

Marked by a painted line on the road, the city's cycling coordinator says it will either be physically separated from cars or removed in favour of other streets.

"My bike's a Brodie Section.8, it's a beautiful commuter bike," says Ben Cowie, who frequently uses the 10th Avenue bike lane.

He says cyclists and motorists alike are confused about how it's supposed to work. Signage is an issue and people frequently drive their cars in it when they're not allowed.

Like other cyclists, Cowie wants improvements.

"There's really no preference, as long as the infrastructure is designed properly and it's a comfortable easy route for cyclists to take."

After trying the floating bike lane concept for a year, the city's cycling coordinator, Tom Thivener, agrees it's not working.

"That is a street that we've identified and the bike community's been letting us know that we should fix it."

Thivener says the 10th Avenue lane will either be turned into a dedicated bike-lane full-time or it will be removed in favour of dedicated cycle tracks on 11th and 12th avenues. The change is likely more than a year away.

A council committee approved plans this week for the first separated bikes-only lanes — called cycle tracks — which will be set up next year on 6th and 7th streets downtown.

Thivener said the 10th Avenue corridor is one of the roads proposed to be included in Phase 2 of cycle tracks.

"We're leaving that open because we need to flush out the design and analyze it a bit."