Cyclists call for bike lanes on Whyte Avenue

About 100 people joined the call for bike lanes in the Whyte Avenue area at a town hall meeting Tuesday night.
About 100 cyclists met at a town hall meeting Tuesday night to improve safety around the Whyte Avenue area. (CBC)

About 100 people joined the call for bike lanes in the Whyte Avenue area at a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

"A lot of people are cycling in the area and a lot of people feel the infrastructure is not adequate to keep cyclists safe and comfortable," said organizer Conrad Nobert at the Queen Alexandra Community Hall.

In August university student Isaak Kornelsen was killed when he was run over by a cement truck on the busy avenue. 

Nobert wanted to know what other cyclists thought about ideas such as separated bike lanes along Whyte Avenue.

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society's Chris Chan suggested the city initiate a pilot project where temporary concrete barriers are used to separate cars from bicycles.

Street parking would be lost, but that hasn't hurt business in cities such as Vancouver, he said.

"What they found is most of the business are coming already on foot, bike or transit," Chan said.

City Coun. Ben Henderson believes it's time for Edmonton to take dedicated bike lanes seriously.

"I've seen it in other cities and it makes a colossal difference and you get huge usership," he said.

Nobert said the city needs to do more to keep cyclists safe.

"I don't feel safe riding there and so I feel I'm being marginalized for my choice of transportation," he said.

"Cyclists are doing Edmonton a favour when they get on their bikes. They're saving Edmonton money, taking cars off the road (and) making the air cleaner."

Nobert said he will form a working group to take some of the ideas such as bike lanes on Whyte, 83rd or 81st Avenues to city planners.

With files from Gareth Hampshire