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‘It makes it so much easier’: Edmonton cyclists enjoying downtown bike network, but drivers still adjusting
Published Saturday, August 26, 2017 5:55PM MDT
The City of Edmonton hosted the Cycle in the City ceremony on Saturday to officially open the downtown bike network.
The number of cyclists has doubled in downtown Edmonton since the new bike lanes opened earlier in the summer, but the addition has proven to be a learning curve for both drivers and cyclists. An advocacy group for cyclists said so far, the biggest issue involves drivers forgetting to yield.
“Specifically right hand turn on reds,” Paths for People co-executive director Anna Ho said. “But I think that as people get used to driving and get used to driving next to the bike paths, and along with the campaigns that the city is running, and the Edmonton Police Service is doing, I think it’ll come together and people will learn how to navigate this new infrastructure.”
The city created pamphlets to help motorists learn the ins-and-outs of the new traffic rules around the bike lanes, and they are working with EPS to grow the campaign.
For cyclists, even though the public is still getting used to their increased presence, riding their bikes in the downtown area is now safer.
“It makes it so much easier,” Jaimie Clements said. “It’s like a smooth ride coming downtown. You don’t have to worry so much about cars running you over.”
Mayor Don Iveson said the downtown bike network increases the chances of bringing in talent from other cities, and makes Edmonton a more attractive place to live.
“Because we’re in this global competition for talent, people who we want to have in our city are demanding this – they’re demanding rapid transit. They’re demanding all those urban amenities that you can find in the great cities of the world.”
And thanks to the success of the city’s first bike network, the mayorsays the city is already looking to expand.
“I’d like to see us cross the river and start knitting the network together on the south side with some of the funds that area available thanks to [this project] being under budget, as well as provincial and federal grants that may become available.”
With files from Angela Jung