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'Beyond infuriating': Concrete barriers in Garneau bike lanes removed after backlash

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The City of Edmonton is removing concrete barriers from the Garneau bike lanes, after public backlash.

There were concerns not only that the barriers prevented the paths from being used by cyclists, but that they created a hazard for those cycling at night.

“Temporary signage would not only be a lot more practical for the situation, but also a lot cheaper too,” said Stephen Raitz with Paths for People.

In an email to CTV News, the city said, “to ensure the safety of those who bike or drive along this corridor, it was determined that the bike lane should be temporarily closed for use until appropriate signage is installed.”

“We can definitely understand that there can be operational concerns, we just don’t think it needs to be this heavy handed,” Raitz said.

“It kind of feels like we’re trying to hammer a screw.”

Raitz and others on social media pointed out that blocking the paths could also create an accessibility issue, with many who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices opting for bike paths when sidewalks haven’t been cleared.

“How this was able to be approved…merits much further investigation,” said Ward Papastew City Councillor Michael Janz.

“This does not align with city plan, this does not align with our values, this is beyond infuriating.”

Janz said this is 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,” Janz said. “To have not just a failure like this, but to have such a dramatic and bizarre overreaction is perplexing and incredibly frustrating.” 

The city told CTV News that installing the new signage has been made a priority, and the bike lane will reopen by 6 p.m. Tuesday.