City of Saskatoon begins removing downtown bike lanes citing in part that they pose an “unsafe situation for drivers”. People can say those sorts of things but what kind of City Council acts on such conjecture and anecdote rather than on fact? https://t.co/4AnQg5hJua
— Neil Arason (@neilarason) June 16, 2019
While most cities are now embracing the importance of ensuring that cyclists and sidewalk users have safe accessible ways to travel to services, shops and schools, Saskatoon has proven to be the remarkable disappointment, choosing hyperbole and conjecture instead of good data and researched example in ripping out their existing protected downtown bike lane.
We talk about equity, sharing the road and giving the most vulnerable road users priority, but places deeply entrenched in vehicular movement use those politics to continue the 20th century domination of road space. I have written about the Transport for London study released this spring that shows that street improvements for walking and cycling increased time on retail streets by 216 percent, with retail space vacancies declining 17 percent. Best of all, and just like studies conducted in New York and Toronto “people walking, cycling and using public transport spend the most in their local shops, spending 40% more each month than car drivers”.
Back to Saskatoon. This is a perfect place to put in protected bike lanes, and they are needed to provide connected, safe travel. But imagine this~in April Saskatoon City Council voted to remove the protected bike lanes on Fourth Avenue North which had been in place for two years. Why? Because of “member of the public” complaints about limited parking space. What that really meant is that drivers could not park in front of businesses as they had been accustomed to. Drivers were also concerned that bike lanes were cleared of snow before vehicle lanes, and that cyclists were in danger in drivers’ “blind spots”.
At Council it was clear that for many members of the public it was not a negotiation of where the bike lane would go, but a call for no bike lanes anywhere. Calling the lanes “confusing” Saskatoon council voted six to five in favour to “consult” the public about future bike lanes elsewhere, and began ripping the bike lanes out on Fourth Avenue. That bike lane demolition is now completed.
This bike lane unfortunately did not connect up in a legible way to the bicycle network, and now never will.
You can listen to Brent Penner, the Executive Director of Downtown Saskatoon describe why bus lanes are needed instead of bike lanes. Pity Saskatoon cannot find a way to do both like other cities in Canada.
Can I have them?
City of Guelph
C/o Mayor Cam Guthrie
1 Carden Street
N1H 3A1 https://t.co/p0NG6v9C2t
— Mayor Cam Guthrie (@CamGuthrie) June 15, 2019