The issue of bike lanes on Seventh Avenue arose again at Mission council last week.
The Cycling Route Task Force made a presentation to council, listing several recommendations about improving cycling options in the district. They included:
- establishing an ongoing cycling committee;
- converting some road shoulders to bike lanes, prioritizing street cleaning on cycling routes;
- improving cycling amenities at Heritage Park, Retail Plaza and the Leisure Centre;
- installing signage on Jasper Avenue to raise awareness of shared cycling lanes; and
- utilizing Seventh Avenue as the cross-town connection.
In the summer of 2016, it was suggested to council to remove some of the street parking on Seventh Avenue (on the north side of the street between Stave Lake and Grand streets) to allow bike lanes to be created. However, many residents voiced concerns about that proposal.
At that time, council voted to hold a public meeting in early September 2016 to discuss the bike lanes and the effect on parking.
Despite the hard work of the Cycling Route Task Force, Mission Mayor Randy Hawes had several questions regarding the Seventh Avenue proposal.
Hawes raised safety concerns regarding the idea to create bike lanes against the curb and allow parked cars adjacent to the new lanes.
“If we push the cars out further, I’m not sure we aren’t creating some danger.”
He also asked why two separate bike lanes had to be created. He noted that cars aren’t separated, except by a “little white line that is about two inches wide.”
“Is there a reason why bike lanes couldn’t be slightly wider than what one bike lane is recommended to be, but call it two-way traffic for bikes? Because I’m pretty sure that the chances of two bikes crashing into each other are pretty slim.”
He suggested combining the bike lanes might keep the vehicle travel lanes a little wider and therefore safer.
“If we can’t do it safely, we can’t do it at all.”
While concerns were raised, council as a whole was in favour of moving forward with creating a plan to create the bike lanes in the district.
Staff will now prepare a report that outlines preliminary costing information, including engineering talking to the cycling task force about design options.