Administration recommends Bus Rapid Transit for Broadway despite initial opposition
Council to vote on BRT, bike lanes later this month
Administration at the City of Saskatoon has unveiled recommendations to council for future bus rapid transit (BRT) lines and protected bike lanes.
Administration is recommending the rapid transit lines run down Broadway Avenue and 1st Avenue N, although there are many separate plans for council to consider.
The plan will be presented to council for a vote on April 29.
Changes to BRT plan
Despite some outcry from business owners in the Broadway neighbourhood, the administration has recommended that the BRT route include Nutana and First Avenue N.
"First Avenue is the preferred option, as it will provide great transit service and preserves Third Avenue or Fourth Avenue as a potential active transportation corridor," said acting director of transportation Jay Magus.
The preferred option would include bus rapid transit to travel down Broadway Avenue without a dedicated traffic lane. Traffic signals would be changed to allow buses to travel down the street faster.
That option would not mean the loss of any parking on Broadway or First Avenue.
Other options to be presented to council include Bus Rapid Transit bypassing Broadway completely and using Idylwyld Drive instead or installing dedicated bus lanes along Broadway Avenue..
The plan is for Saskatoon to get 38 km of BRT infrastructure at a cost of $120 million, plus or minus 25 per cent. The city is contributing $32.4 million and the rest will be covered by the federal and provincial governments.
If approved, the Bus Rapid Transit system could be in place by 2025.
Bike lane options
The city presented three different options for bike lane locations.
Option 1, the most popular throughout public consultations, would see protected lanes on Third Avenue, 19th Street and 23rd Street.
"There are several advantages to this network," said Jay Magus, the Acting Director of Transportation.
"It supports the recommendations in the growth plan, it supports the active transportation plan, and it follows our street design policy."
The route also builds on past efforts to improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and provides connectivity to the traffic bridge and Victoria Ave.
The second option recommended, which switches Third Ave for Fourth Ave, was less popular with the public.
The third and least popular option was to nix a downtown network altogether.
The cost of the proposed bike lanes is approximately $3.7 million.