Well, this isn’t exactly something to be proud of.
Remember when the City of Edmonton received the 2015 Decade of Action Road Safety Award from the Transportation Association of Canada thanks largely to its bike lanes?
Well, now that the bike lanes are (sadly) being removed, the city is returning the award.
Earlier this month, the city council voted to rip out the bike lanes on 95th Avenue, 40th Avenue, and 106th Street, planning to eventually replace them with something better.
Apparently, the safety concerns of the councilors made it necessary to return the award.
“We felt we just couldn’t in good conscience continue to float that submission forward as a safety award winner when council didn’t necessarily agree with it,” said Robert Gibbard, the city’s director of facility and capital planning. “They didn’t feel it was safe.”
A safety audit was submitted along with a plan for a multimodal route along 102nd Avenue. On Tuesday, the city pulled the audit from consideration and is requesting that the association considers the 102 Avenue plan on its own. They say they hope to hear if the submission will qualify for an award in the upcoming days.
“It’s pretty shameful for the city to have to return an award like this,” Edmonton Bicycle Commuters executive director Christopher Chan said. He added that the audit wasn’t given proper consideration by council. Apparently, it showed a bias in favour of motorists over cyclists.
If the association decides to give the award anyway, they will present it at a conference in September.
Not surprisingly, the city’s bicycle-riding set aren’t too pleased to find that their route to work had been removed less than a week after the vote.
The only hope is that that the councilors stick to their word and use the opportunity to create higher quality bike lanes.