Red Deer City council wrapped up the Bike Lane Pilot Project on Monday night.
All but one of the existing bike lanes will remain on an interim basis pending the completion of the Transportation and Trails Master Plan.
Council voted in favour of the removal of the bike lane on 39 St. between 30 Ave. and 40 Ave. This piece of roadway has been a hot topic among Red Deerians over the last year. The bike lanes in this area saw the reduction of travel lanes in each direction and the congestion observed by motorists during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up from area schools.
The bike lanes will be immediately removed. However, a three-metre wide multi-use trail will be constructed between Mitchell and Maxwell Ave. to ensure the connectivity in the current sidewalk/trail system.
Council directed administration to consider design options as well as cost for the multi-use trail on 39 St. as well.
“There was careful thought put into this and we considered all types of mobility in this area,” said Councillor Lawrence Lee. “I will be supporting this.”
Councillor Ken Johnston said the bike lane topic sent “waves” through the community.
“What strikes me as the best solution that we could come to on this particular recommendation is not just the capital costs around the pilot itself, but the ensuing administrative costs, the ensuing political costs, but most of all the ensuing community costs,” he said. “There was much debate – not all of it was positive, often it was negative and finger pointing, which was very unfortunate. And I think that is the most positive part – that the community acrimony can come to a stop now.”
Councillor Paul Harris did not vote in favour of removing the lanes on 39 St. in their entirety.
“We should have lanes that are separated from traffic but it does not include putting some kind of separation on the road that would allow for the continuous commuting along that street,” he said. “That option was never presented to us and I think it has some merit in both cost savings and also alternative commuting.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said the Bike Lane Pilot Project was a learning experience.
“It’s opened up our community to mobility and that it’s about our choice and I think we need to respect the choice of citizens whether they choose to drive a vehicle, drive a motorbike, the choice of transit or being a pedestrian. I think this moves the discussion forward.
“I learned a lot for myself and by listening to our community.”