July 17th, 2018

Finding cheaper ways to accommodate cyclists

By Letter to the Editor on February 13, 2018.

Bicycling is supposed to be a cheap mode of transport. Why then does Lethbridge make it so expensive by what one letter writer called vanity projects? For the money spent on a bicycle bridge over the river (too steep for bicycles anyway), 7 Avenue South or to be spent on a bicycle path to Coaldale (for some summer weekend recreation only), we could have bicycle lanes all over the city for the daily commute.

I applaud council for trying to prepare Lethbridge for the future by making it attractive for people and business to settle here. And besides, on infrastructure and sport facilities, it does involve spending on arts and culture, recycling and other ideas of our times like promotion of bicycle use and doing our part for the environment, reconciliation and integration of minorities. However, I am not sure that spending a pile of money on projects like 7 Avenue South is the right approach. It is not surprising that many, if not most, people are upset; in their eyes the cyclists are not there yet to justify that expense and they have a point.

It should not be that difficult to find cheaper ways to give cyclists their own lane like the one on 13 Street North. Too bad the City got it there only half right. In my opinion the bicycle lane should have been adjacent to the curb and parking next to the car traffic lane. Other examples of roads where there should be room for bicycle lanes are 4 Avenue South (after the buses have moved to their new terminal) and 28 Street North. I can even think of Major Magrath Drive having two lanes reserved for bicycles if, wherever possible, traffic lights are replaced by traffic circles. Although the cost would be prohibitive for just a few cyclists, four lanes could handle the car traffic, I think, if it was not sitting at red lights half of the time.

A systematic search should find many roads that have room for parking and a bicycle lane, keeping in mind cyclists will not be and feel safe if they are right next to cars that can freely enter their lane. The next phase could be to look for roads where off-street parking can be found to make room for bicycles, always in a way that keeps cars and bicycles separated. A simple one-wire fence would probably do if a concrete barrier is too expensive.

Johan Melitz


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2 Responses to “Finding cheaper ways to accommodate cyclists”

  1. Resolute says:

    I am not sure about wire barriers on our roads or parking between a bike lane and traffic but I do see an opportunity. How about the City hires a traffic optimization person. That role could improve transport efficiency and safety by standardizing and simplifying our roads for all users. Longer turn lanes, removal of many artificial barriers that were installed per some British standard but actually prevent safer and shorter travel paths, wider lanes, actual ride-able shoulders without curbs that put bicyclists at risk, elimination of non-sensor traffic lights that waste time and resources, improved signage and more…low cost big benefits.

  2. phlushie says:

    The problem we have has nothing to do with traffic signs, traffic circles, bike paths, or any other hardware on the road. We have a software problem, that being the users of the hardware, be it automobile, bicycle, or pedestrian. For example: Whoop Up Drive; why do we have to be told to slow down when it is slippery; this should be know by the user. Why should pedestrian step off a curb in front of a automobile, with out looking or breaking stride, because they have the right of way. Why do people not stop at stop signs or red lights. Maybe we should remove all traffic signs and it will be survival of the fittest or the largest.
    This has all come about because it is to easy to obtain a drivers license since the government opted out of driver examinations. People have to take driving seriously, know where they are going, leave in sufficient time to get there, plan their route, and make sure they are in the proper lane for their turns before they get there (not crossing three lanes 25 metres from the intersection).

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