City council has opted to follow through with the Bike Lanes Pilot Project until the fall as originally planned.
Councillor Chris Stephan had put forward a Notice of Motion for council to “discontinue the Bike Lane Pilot Project immediately.”
Several reasons were cited in the motion, including that the project had resulted in a loss of traffic lanes and parking, that the project was initiated without targeted public consultation and that the project has cost taxpayers close to $1 million and has resulted in minimal usage.
Instead, council decided to consider and implement changes to routes on a ‘case by case basis for specific segments’. A survey will gauge public response in the late spring and summer months and a final report will return to council on Sept. 30.
“While we have heard from many people in the community who are adamantly opposed to bike lanes, we have also heard from those who are in favour of them,” said Councillor Cindy Jefferies. “And a large portion of people who are in the ‘wait and see’ camp, or ‘give it a try’ camp. I think it’s premature to go forward with a motion to cancel the pilot project at this point given that we have a lot of people who would like to give it a try and see if they can work.”
She noted that often when bike lanes are introduced, they are met with opposition initially in various communities. “I think the pilot project is really just trying to help us see what works and what doesn’t.”
Stephan said taking away motor vehicle lanes for bike lanes has resulted in the biggest issues. “That is what has happened,” he said. “I think this Notice of Motion reflects the will of the community.”
Councillor Buck Buchanan said he wouldn’t be supporting the motion.
“There’s lots of work to be done, but we’ve committed to the pilot,” he said. “There’s been some issues around them in terms of timing and communication, and construction issues.
“I think that’s why we call it a pilot. We’re learning.”
The Notice of Motion was defeated with Councillors Lynne Mulder, Buchanan, Jefferies and Mayor Morris Flewwelling voting against it and Councillors Tara Veer and Stephan supporting it. Councillors Frank Wong and Paul Harris were absent.
Council then opted to set dates for reviewing the pilot project as a whole later this year which would include a survey in the late spring and summer months. A final report will be submitted to council on Sept. 30 prior to the next municipal election.
Meanwhile, examples of some changes to be implemented during May and June include removing the bike lanes on 40 Ave. between 39 St. and 52 St. and restoring the roadway to its original signage, configuration and intersection signal timing.
Council also supported keeping the road configuration as is and repainting the roadway markings installed as part of the pilot at 39 St. (38 A Ave. to 30 Ave.) and at the intersection of 45 St. and Taylor Dr.
Another adjustment will be removing the bike lanes on 39 St. before the intersection of 40 Ave. and 39 St. (up to 38A Ave.) and restoring the intersection to its original signage and configuration.