City of Edmonton apologizes for concrete bike lane barriers in Garneau
A City of Edmonton spokesperson offered an apology Wednesday night after crews briefly blocked bike lanes with concrete barriers, drawing criticism from advocates and a city councillor.
After the public backlash, the barriers were removed just a day after they were installed.
"We first want to acknowledge that the method of this closure with barriers was not necessary. We could have managed this project differently and we are assessing this approach in order to improve it for future projects," spokesperson Tannis Nygren wrote in a statement.
"We apologize for the inconvenience to the people affected by the temporary bike lane closure and we appreciate those who took the time to raise their concerns."
CTV News Edmonton first requested an opportunity to question a city official on Monday night about the barriers and the decision to install them, but that request was denied.
“This does not align with the city plan, this does not align with our values, this is beyond infuriating,” Coun. Michael Janz said Tuesday before the barriers were removed.
Janz believes the mistake was part of a larger systemic issue where cyclists and other active transportation users are not prioritised the way drivers are.
“We know we’re trying to build transportation infrastructure to walk, to wheel, to roll throughout the city. To have not just a failure like this, but to have such a dramatic and bizarre overreaction, is perplexing and incredibly frustrating.”
Nygren repeated the city's claim that the barricades were placed for safety, because roadway signage had not been installed yet.
However, when the members of the public complained, Nygren said crews made putting the signs up and removing the concrete barricades a "priority."
"We understand how important access to bike lanes are in connecting Edmontonians to their destinations, and appreciate the public’s input, and their patience," Nygren wrote.
The bike lane, which runs along 110 Street near University Avenue, was recently upgraded as part of the city's Building Great Neighbourhoods and Garneau Neighbourhood Renewal projects.
More signs along the route will be added, Nygren said, and lines will be painted in the spring.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson and Kerry McAthey
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