Update, March 21 11:30am: The feedback from the meeting on Saturday clearly leaned in favour of the route on 43rd Avenue as opposed to either option on 40th Avenue when it comes to building appropriate cycling infrastructure for the area. The $2 million cost for the route on 43rd Ave is much more reasonable - there is no way I can justify spending $12-17 million dollars on a route on 40th Avenue. The reason that option was presented however is there were a good number of people in the area who asked to see physically separated lanes on 40th as a choice. But after learning of the price it is clearly not even in the conversation, even for those same people. The outcomes of the public engagement, both from Saturday's event and the many other's we've held will be presented to Council at a meeting in late April/early May.
For many Edmontonians, cycling is a seasonal activity. But there are those who brave our city’s roads on two wheels in the winter, and I salute those folks - it takes a lot of commitment and savvy to navigate traffic, snow drifts, and gravel on your morning commute.
For us here at the City, planning for cycling infrastructure is also a year-round activity. Based on the suggestions we heard from the community in June, we’ve been hard at work on the plans for the 40th Avenue and 106th Street lane replacement infrastructure over the past few months. We have reached the point where the community must give their final input into how to proceed with the 40th Avenue plan.
I made a motion at Council in summer of 2015 to have the painted lanes on 40th Avenue and 106th Street removed, with the promise of pursuing other types of separated, high quality infrastructure in the area. The lanes were removed shortly thereafter, and the City continued to engage the community in discussions about what to do next. We held school pop-ups, a workshop, and distributed a survey to get an idea of people’s priorities and where they thought the infrastructure should be built. Over 600 people shared their insights with us over the course of the consultation.
The City, together with our consultant, also put together a Stakeholder Input Panel of community members from the area to give us focused local perspective and provide a sounding board for ideas. About 20 community representatives, both cyclists and non-cyclists, were invited to join the panel. The panel has held two meetings and has offered preliminary insights on the options.
But now it’s your turn. The decision of what will replace the 40th Avenue lane needs to be made, and the community needs to weigh in with their insights. Please join me at the Royal Gardens Community Hall (4030 117 St NW) this Saturday, March 19, from 1:00-4:00pm to see the options that the community has suggested and that the City has worked on. Have your say on the future of east-west cycling infrastructure in the area.
Plans for 106th Street are also in the works - you can expect to hear more from me on the options for that route later in the year.
I do want to make one thing clear: Saturday will be a conversation about what cycling infrastructure should go in around 40th Avenue, not about whether or not cycling infrastructure should be installed at all. Through both the City’s consultation and my communication with residents, we’ve already heard that there is a clear majority that supports some type of cycling infrastructure for the area. Saturday’s event will be focused on determining the best solution that supports the goal of high-quality, physically separated from traffic cycling infrastructure for the community.
For more information about the event, you can check out the information page here. Staff will also be posting the presentation from Saturday's event here so that you can review the route options.