Edmonton

City to spend big bucks to remove bike lanes on 95th Avenue

The city will spend almost $500,000 to remove an eight-kilometre stretch of painted bike lanes along 95th Avenue that were put in less than two years ago. Councillors agreed this week that the lanes are under-used, unsafe and take up too much space on the busy road.

It will cost city almost $500,000 to remove bike lanes put in less than two years ago

The 95th Avenue bike route between 142nd Street and 189th Street was built in October 2013.

The city will spend almost $500,000 to remove an eight-kilometre stretch of painted bike lanes along 95th Avenue that were put in less than two years ago.

Councillors agreed this week that the lanes are under-used, unsafe and take up too much space on the busy road.

Coun. Andrew Knack said the problem started with the lack of public consultation before the lanes were even created.

"We have to make sure if we're going to design something that's high-quality and have public support, (the public) also needs to realize that they will be heard when they speak up," Knack said.

 He said it could be years before cyclists see an alternative on the avenue.

"We're going to be a few years without cycling infrastructure on 95th Avenue," he said. "For those who do use it all the time — and, again, as a year-round cyclist I understand there are those that want to keep using it — we've really broken the trust when it comes to how we rolled out that issue."

The 95th Avenue bike route between 142nd Street and 189th Street was built in October 2013, an eight-kilometre stretch linking west Edmonton through MacKinnon Ravine into downtown.

A city report showed that while 11,000 vehicles use 95th Avenue each day, only 50 cyclists use the bike lanes, a tiny increase from the 20 who used them each day prior to 2014.

Kaliegh Greenwood bikes to and from work each day and was shocked when she found her route will soon be gone.

"That seems like kind of just giving up," she said. "Llike you aren`t willing to maintain a lane that citizens of your city use. Would you just give up if it was a car lane?"

Christopher Chan with Edmonton bike commuters association said he's disappointed with the decision.

"What we`re talking about right now is removing bike lanes," he said. "We're not actually making commitments to replace them with higher-quality infrasturcture. Council can talk about it, but unless they actually allocate the funding to do that, we're not looking at actually upgrading these routes, all we're looking at is removing them."

The city also decided Wednesday afternoon to remove lanes on 40th Avenue from 119th Street to 106th Street, and on 106th Street from Whitemud Drive to 34th Avenue.

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