(March 10, 2015) Saskatoon Cycles was encouraged by the support Saskatoon’s separated bike lane demonstration project received from the Transportation Committee of City Council on March 9th, in which all City Councillors present voted in favour of forwarding the proposed project to the next City Council meeting for approval. Mayor Don Atchison was the only Transportation Committee member to vote against the proposed project.
Saskatoon Cycles welcomes the debate over the potential merits and impacts of the separated bike lane project on our downtown streets, but wishes to clarify the misinformation the Mayor has recently shared in various media interviews, specifically:
1. Cycling route maintenance and development – in January 2014, City Council, inclusive of Mayor Don Atchison, unanimously supported shifting the priority for Saskatoon’s cycling budget away from a Wiggins Avenue bikeway towards a downtown separated bike lane project (at least for the short term). Saskatoon Cycles agrees that there are other much-needed cycling connections in Saskatoon, and hopes those projects will eventually be designated and developed in addition to the downtown separated bike lane project.
2. The bike lane demonstration project cost – the estimated $225,000 cost of this project will be spread out over two years (2015 and 2016). The funds for the project will come from the dedicated $375,000 cycling budget approved by City Council every year for the past four years – NOT from funds dedicated to any other City of Saskatoon service or infrastructure.
3. Snow clearing – we presume the City of Saskatoon, and Mayor Don Atchison, would agree that snow on downtown streets is already cleared and removed on a regular basis. City Administration indicated that if there were any additional costs associated with clearing snow from separated bike lanes, those costs would be debited from the existing cycling budget.
4. Impact on the number of Saskatoon cyclists – there is no accurate way to predict how many more people will choose to cycle through Saskatoon’s downtown on the separated bike lanes, before they are built. However, data from other cities has shown that similar projects have resulted in significant increases in the number of cyclists. This data is readily available online, but can be provided upon request.
“We fully expect and welcome the debate on the separated bike lane project, but it’s counter-productive – and frankly, illogical – to pit one worthy City of Saskatoon project against another,” said Sean Shaw, Saskatoon Cycles board member. “The aim of the downtown separated bike lane project is to demonstrate the impact of safer infrastructure on cycling through Saskatoon’s downtown core. Saskatoon Cycles sincerely hopes the City of Saskatoon will track this impact as closely as possible, so that the results of this demonstration can inform future projects.”
Saskatoon Cycles advocates for safer cycling and cycling infrastructure in Saskatoon.
For further questions or to set up an interview, please contact:
Sean Shaw – 306.370.7429