Bike lanes prove costly for taxpayers

Coun. Shirley Fowler believes  Armstrong would have to win the lottery to afford possible bike lane considerations.

Instead, the city may look at a simple stencil bike drawing to be added to selected roads that indicate cyclists are welcome on the roadway.

On Monday, Fowler presented a report from Gentech Engineering in regards to creating either a dedicated bike lane or shared bike lane that would run from Smith Road at Highway 97 to Smith Drive, up to Rosedale Avenue and east to Pleasant Valley Road.

A dedicated bike lane, which would feature such work items as curb and sidewalk relocation and relocating a railway signal, would cost an estimated $1.3 million.

A shared bike lane, running along the route, would cost only an estimated $61,375 and would include curb relocation and some road widening.

“These are wish lists and council can choose to look into the possible costs,” said Fowler.

“We would have to perhaps win the lottery to do some of these.”

Coun. Ryan Nitchie is a proponent of creating safe routes for kids to get to school, and believes Rosedale Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road are two of the busiest school traffic roads in the city.

Nitchie suggests trying shared lane marking or “sharrows” – markings used within travel lanes shared by cyclists and other vehicles – on Rosedale and Pleasant Valley.

“All we’re talking about is stencilling some paint on the road just to give some awareness to motorists that you are sharing the road with people on bikes who are on their way to school,” said Nitchie.

Coun. Paul Britton pointed out that the cost estimates in the report did not include hydro, Telus or acquiring properties.

“There’s quite a division in this town when it comes to bike lanes,” said Britton, a reference to a number of residents being opposed to the addition of a bike lane during a proposed upgrade to Pleasant Valley Boulevard in the downtown core.

“Next time we put budgets out there, let’s make sure we’re talking numbers that are real.”

Council voted to receive the engineer’s report for more information, and also voted unanimously in favour of a Nitchie motion to find out the cost of adding one or two sharrow stencils to Rosedale Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road.