Sticking to the bicycle lane along 39th Street will no longer be a problem for cyclists come this fall.
The city will soon start work to extend the bike lanes through the intersections at 39th Street and Douglas Avenue, and nearby 39th Street and Davison Drive, where traffic calming curb extensions (thicker boulevards) currently block the bike lane.
“What the intent of the project is to essentially cut a space through those (curb extensions) to allow the bikes to continue straight through the intersection without having to interact with traffic and turning vehicles,” said Russ Watts, development and transportation engineer with the city.
He said Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting identified those intersections as areas where there can be conflicts between cyclists and motorists, and helped figure out a solution. Cut outs through curb extensions for bikes are also part of a design guide for bikes that the province and a few municipalities have been developing.
“This will be a first for us. I don’t know about other cities in the province.”
Bike lanes on roadways are relatively recent in Red Deer and there are no other curb extensions in the city that interfere with bike lanes, he said.
Greg Neiman, an executive member Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting, said Red Deer needs to keep building conductivity for cyclists so those who are concerned about riding in traffic can avoid it.
“If we can continue to make it safe and pleasurable, then people will start to realize the economic and health benefits. You save a lot of money when you bike to work,” Neiman said.
He said during early months of the pandemic more people were cycling judging from those using city trails, and the demand for bikes and replacement parts was up. While it’s difficult to say how many more people were peddling around the city, Red Deer was the only city in Alberta to take part in national cyclist count organized by Vélo Canada Bikes in earlier this month.
“So we’ll actually have a good statistical picture of cyclists numbers, gender and ethnicities probably by the fall. We’ll be able to compare that to future years so we won’t have to be so anecdotal.”