Homeowners call Edmonton bike lanes on 76 Ave flawed and non-functional

WATCH ABOVE: More and more bike lanes are being added to Edmonton's streets. There's one section where homeowners say the lanes just don't work and they want multi-use trails instead. Kendra Slugoski reports.

As the city adds more bike lanes to Edmonton roads, some homeowners are questioning the design, specifically along 76 Avenue on the south side.

“It’s a problem,” said Clay Hovey, who moved into his home along 76 Avenue and 105 Street a year ago.

Hovey said he has been forced to cart groceries an extra half block to his home because on-street parking was removed to make way for the protected bike lanes. Two one-way bike lanes separated by concrete barriers have been constructed.

“I’ve waited for cabs for up to an hour in the wintertime because they’re circling from one block to the next looking for access.”

Hovey said it would make more sense to have a multi-use trail or a single, but wider, two-way bike lane. Other neighbours in the area said the same thing.

The city said two design options were evaluated: a two-way protected bike lane, and two one-way protected bike lanes on either side of the road.

For safety reasons, the city said the second design was chosen because it works better with two-directional traffic.

READ MORE: Why are some Edmonton bike lanes plowed before residential streets?

Councillor Ben Henderson pointed to extensive consultation in the neighbourhood and said there are trade-offs.

“In that list of things, I think they tried to hold on to as much parking, but there’s no way to have it all,” he said.

“The one downside I’ve heard of doing it this way; there’s not enough space for bikes to pass each other.”

READ MORE: No, they’re not ripping up a perfectly good new bike lane and road

Other feedback has been the raised portions of the bike lane on the sidewalk, where pedestrians are sometimes confused and walk into the path of a cyclist.

However, Henderson credits the 76 Avenue bike lane design for attracting more cyclists.

“If you put it in and people feel safe, they’ll use it.”

READ MORE: Growing petition calls for removal of downtown bike lanes

That has been the case for long-time cyclist Andriko Lozowy. He said the extended 76 Avenue bike network has drawn him to the street with his family.

“I’ve been cycling in this area for 20 years and it’s made me choose these routes because it’s safer,” said Lozowy.

“It’s not seen as we’re losing something here; we’re actually gaining a bike corridor.”

During the neighbourhood renewal consultation, the city said the removal of parking was a common concern, so parking bays for delivery vehicles were added.

The city is now consulting with members of Old Strathcona and will look at what works and what doesn’t for bike lanes and pedestrians in that area.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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