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Saskatoon planning new cycling corridors on low-traffic roads


Speed limits on some Saskatoon roads could be reduced to accommodate cycling infrastructure.

The city's transportation committee met Tuesday to discuss the implementation of bikeways, or marked routes intended for cyclists, in an attempt to encourage more cycling trips within the city.

Saskatoon is in the process of completing four designated bikeways. To complete the final step for a route to be labelled a neighbourhood bikeway, administration is recommending speed limits be reduced to 30 kilometres per hour.

"It discourages high volume and speeds of vehicular traffic. Nothing like somebody rocketing by your elbow at 60 kilometers an hour," Gord Holtslander, the board chair for Saskatoon Cycles said.

"My odds of surviving a crash with a vehicle at 30 kilometres an hour are about 90 per cent. As soon as that speed of that vehicle goes to 50 kilometres an hour, my odds of surviving that crash drop to 40 per cent."

Over the next few years, the city plans to complete four bikeways, in addition to the Blairmore bikeway, which runs from Vancouver Avenue North to Avenue C North.

Others include the Dudley Street Bikeway from Avenue P South to Spadina Crescent West, the 31st Street West Bikeway from Avenue W North to Idylwyld Drive North and the 14th Street East Bikeway from Saskatchewan Crescent East to Cumberland Avenue South.

Traffic volumes on these neighbourhood streets are minimal with less than 2,500 vehicles travelling on them per day.

Bike Doctor owner Greg McKee says he used to be a vocal cycling advocate, but has been largely absent from those issues the past 10 years.

The deaths of two cyclists — Natasha Fox on May 24, and Darin Kinniewess on Sept. 6 — not only renewed his calls for increased safety measures, but renewed his passion for advocacy.

"What we are advocating for is a continuous active transportation network that is safer and free of gaps and dangerous zones. And we don't have that right now," McKee said.

"We have been too quiet for too long. We have let others lead the narrative," Holtslander said.



Councillors also mulled over some proposed changes along Avenue C.

A report from administration recommended the committee approve a functional design report on Avenue C from Spadina Crescent West to 45th Street West.

The more than $8.79 million WSP Canada Inc. project is still in the planning stages, but it aims to make a series of changes in three phases, which includes: curb extensions, protected bike lanes, shared-use pathways and traffic calming measures like stop signs added along the route.

Not everyone at Tuesday's meeting agreed with the plan. Business owners on Avenue C north of Circle Drive were concerned about adding pedestrians and cyclist traffic to a largely industrial area of the city.

"Introducing bikes and pedestrians into this zone intertwined with heavy truck traffic contradicts the essence of this zoning," said Mike Lee with First Choice Flooring.

"I propose a halt to the project at 38th to 39th Street to respect this fundamental zoning distinction."

Jennifer Giocoli, co-owner of Precision Autobody, cited a 275-page report from WSP Canada Inc. to highlight safety concerns along the street.

"Avenue C between Circle Drive and 45th has the highest number of collisions and fastest moving vehicular traffic, and that was in 2020 and 2021 during COVID. So traffic was low," Giocoli said.

Keith Moen, North Saskatoon Business Association’s executive director, said the nearby intersection of Circle Drive and Avenue C has long been known as one of the most dangerous intersections in the city.

“It is the runaway winner for the most treacherous intersection in Saskatoon,” Moen said. "Why would we want to bring cyclists into this hornet's nest?"

McKee asked how many businesses in the area employ newcomers who can't afford a vehicle to drive to work.

"A lot of people need to get around on bikes. They use it. It's not light and fluffy. It's not eccentric. It's not esoteric. It's a utilitarian tool," McKee said.

Given the quick turnaround from last week's record-long budget deliberations, councillors ultimately voted to have both reports presented to city council's regular business meeting on Dec. 20. Top Stories

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