City council is moving forward with a comprehensive four-year plan that will see more bike lanes in Edmonton.
The transportation committee passed the plan Thursday, which could mean up to 500 kilometres of bike routes and shared paths being added or updated in the city core.
The report focuses on improving bike-friendly infrastructure in the downtown, Oliver, Strathcona, Garneau and University neighbourhoods, given the volume of current cyclists as well as popular bike routes and destinations.
The report also stresses the importance of consultation prior to putting in the many kilometres of bike lanes.
“The key thing is we need to do a little more consultation and engagement with neighbours that are going to see bike lanes coming through them, affected business owners and landowners,” said Mayor Don Iveson.
Chris Chan, the executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, is pleased with the report and says it is a step in the right direction.
“What we are looking forward to is the next stage,” he said. “These upcoming bike routes that are going to be really high quality infrastructure that everyone can feel good about and where all communities affected get their chance to give their input and feel consulted.”
The city has been previously criticized for not consulting with businesses and residents before installing bike lanes.
But Iveson has said the city has learned from earlier mistakes.
“I think we learned that what we were doing with the bike lanes previously was kind of putting them in patchwork because we were trying to do it on a cost effective basis,” he said. “There wasn’t as much dialogue with the neighbourhoods about what kind of impact it is going to have on parking, and so on.”
Iveson said the plan is exactly what the city and cyclists need.
“We are going to carry on with trying to make Edmonton a more bicycle friendly city over time,” Iveson said. “We’re just going to try to do it in the places where it makes sense and with more thorough public engagement consultation.”