We’re sending out an invitation to another What the B*ke event. Wait! Before you stop reading, this event is not another open house or survey. It’s a multi-sensory pop-up bike lane experience!
We’re installing a bike boulevard, a cycle track and a contra-flow lane on 83 Ave in Old Strathcona for two days, starting on Friday, September 19 at 3:00 pm. What’s a bike boulevard you say? Well come and see. Better yet, bring your bike and try one out. If you don’t have a bike, that’s okay. On Saturday, September 20 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm we will have bikes for you to borrow. Find out more about this free family event at www.edmonton.ca/cycling.
This temporary bikeway aims to introduce Edmontonians to some of the new kinds of high-quality bike lanes and shared lanes under consideration for future bike routes in core areas of the city.
Cycle Track, a.k.a. Protected Bike Lane
This bike lane in Seattle is an example of a cycle track. A barrier of some kind separates cyclists from motorists and pedestrians. This barrier can include many options such as a concrete curb or flexible posts called bollards, as seen here. A cycle track can also be raised above the level of the road, parallel to, but still separate from, the sidewalk.
A bike boulevard is a shared road that gives priority to cyclists and pedestrians. It can look very different depending on the street, but all types have this in common:
Contra-flow Bike Lane
A contra-flow bike lane allows cyclists to travel against the flow of motor vehicle traffic on a one-way street. This on-street bike lane is often marked by painted lines and signage for both cyclists and drivers.
City staff will be out along 83 Avenue on both Friday and Saturday to answer any questions and to gauge how you feel about cycling on, driving beside or walking next to these bike lanes. Everyone’s opinion counts, since we all need to share our busy roads.
But why do we need these kinds of bike lanes? Well, in the case of protected bike lanes, studies show that they increase the comfort and safety of cyclists and motorists alike, since they clearly define a separate space for each type of user. In June 2014, a study led by Christopher Monsere of Portland State University looked at ridership on protected bike lanes in five major U.S. cities. It found that ridership increased anywhere from 21 to 171 percent.
Edmonton has experienced a similar increase in ridership, albeit on ordinary on-street bike lanes. The number of cyclists using 40 Avenue has doubled since the bike lane was installed last year. Counts at 106 Street and 76 Avenue see 300 – 400 cyclists/day during the summer and fall, an increase of 80 to 90% since those routes were installed in 2011. Just imagine the potential ridership increases for protected bike lanes.
Not everyone is going to want to use these new bike lanes, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to provide travel options for Edmontonians, by expanding LRT, increasing transit, making the City more walkable and bikable and encouraging carpooling.
If you don’t get a chance to experience the temporary bikeway but still want to be involved, circle October 29 or 30 on your calendar. Our next phase of public engagement for the Strathcona and Downtown Bike Routes will consider design options. What kind of bike facility will be best? What will fit? What are the trade-offs or challenges? Come and get involved. Event details are posted on our website at www.edmonton.ca/cycling.