New southside bike network avoids 109 Street

WATCH ABOVE: The next generation of south Edmonton bike lanes are being debated at city hall, where some usual complaints are surfacing. Vinesh Pratap has the details

A new proposed $6-million bike grid for Garneau and Old Strathcona picks cars and transit as the priority for 109 Street, in a new report Thursday that’s heading to next week’s Urban Planning Committee. City staff feared that pinching the road to accommodate protected bike lanes would clog traffic.

“Roadways that would experience significant operational traffic impacts with the addition of bike routes were removed from consideration where parallel alternatives exist,” the report said. “As an example, the 109 Street corridor was considered as a candidate bike route but was removed due to its importance for transit and motor vehicles.”

What planners recommend is shifting the bike grid one block west to 110 Street to have it link with the High Level Bridge as well as 76 Avenue, and the existing bike lane. Separated bike lanes would also go on 100 Street and along parts of 87 and 86 avenues, building on what’s there already in the first phase of the plan.

Traffic on less travelled roads, like 86 and 87 avenues, and on 100 Street, would be changed to one-way.

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Ward 8 Coun. Ben Henderson said this plan won’t sit well with cyclists, especially since they see bike access to businesses as an integral part of the 109th Street project discussion.

“A lot of it still has got a strip mall kind of car-oriented in front and that’s one of the things the 109 Street plan already said it wanted to shift away from so I think that’s why looking at improving the pedestrian experience and the bike experience along 109 has all sorts of advantages to it.”

Henderson said he’s always thought 109 Street is wide enough to handle cars, transit and separated bike lanes. “There’s thousands of bikes that come every day off the High Level Bridge and are wanting to head south there so detouring them on 110 (Street) is not the ideal solution.”

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The breakdown of the cost is $5.8 million for building the grid, plus another $234,000 a year for snow removal and other clean-up.

Construction would tie into the proposed neighbourhood renewal plan that will start next year, including repaving of 112 Street from 82 Avenue to 87 Avenue, repaving of 109 Street from 82 Avenue to Walterdale Hill in 2020, and reconstruction of 104 Street from 82 Avenue to Saskatchewan Drive in 2023.

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