Cyclists and pedestrians in Saskatoon will have a safer way to get around under a plan for a new separated pathway along the south side of 33rd Street.
The cycling and pedestrian corridor would connect the campuses of the University of Saskatchewan, on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River, and the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology at Idylwyld Drive and 33rd.
A city committee approved the plan Tuesday and recommended that the city get ready to remove a lane of car traffic to make the new three-metre-wide pathway a reality.
"People have told us they feel really uncomfortable riding their bike on portions of this street, especially through the industrial areas here," said Don Cook, a traffic planning engineer with the municipality.
"There's too many large trucks, there's too much traffic and they feel it moves too fast."
Cook said putting resources into a bike and pedestrian lane will benefit drivers, too.
"We do find that when we do make improvements that motorists tell us that it's more comfortable for them. Because there's not as many cyclists or the cyclists aren't in the vehicle lanes."
The first phase of the new path, from 3rd Avenue to Spadina Crescent at the riverside, will cost $1.65 million, with $1 million of that coming from federal coffers, a city report says.
The rest of the path — as well as improvements including a roundabout at Spadina and 33rd, streetlights, landscaping and a promenade connecting the new pathway to riverside trails — will cost $5.1 million, the report says.
The new path will be separated from road traffic by a simple curb in some spots and by a strip of grass, trees and even benches in others. A new fence on the corridor's south side will keep pedestrians and cyclists from CP Rail's right-of-way lands.
The plan still needs approval from city council, which is to consider the matter at a meeting next week.