As many previous opinions have stated about the locations and placement of bike lanes throughout the city, I, like many others are quite astounded that sections of busy roadways such as 40th along Eastview Middle School and the full length of 55th Street that directs traffic to three schools, the Memorial Centre and downtown Red Deer are turned into one-lane streets each way. Particularly 55th Street, which now ends on Gaetz at a new commercial centre, and city planners wish to slow and impede the flow of traffic? It seems to be counter-intuitive to Red Deer’s Downtown Revitalization program!
What concerns me more, however, is the fact that an individual, niche user group of a few hundred perhaps, creates this much influence within City Hall and not only with our elected officials, but our city planning departments. Especially when this user group requires no financial capital on their part, impedes all other citizens of Red Deer and has illustrated no significant need for such infrastructure.
Cannot our highly touted and extensive trail system not suffice to carry bike commuters to the downtown core, where I could envision and agree with the value of bike lanes? I can count on two hands and perhaps one foot over the past 10 years the number of bike commuters I have come across on 55th Street!
What City Hall and the Red Deer Biking Community needs to understand that this is not Hollywood and A Field of Dreams’ concept. As a taxpayer, I am not interested in an “if you build it, they will come” scenario, which is what the Red Deer Biking Community is promoting.
We will be well over $1 million of taxpayer money spent on this pilot program on streets where I have not seen the dire need and that appears to be not accommodating to a growing community, the school system, residential homeowners, or commercial centres on the north end of downtown Red Deer.
Sadly, the bulk of this criticism should be directed to the city planning departments from Craig Curtis all the way down, yet they will remained sheltered within the offices of City Hall. We can vent our frustrations to our elected officials and hope they come back to reality, if not; all we can do is let our voices be heard in the next election. We cannot allow special interest groups with no obligation or commitments on their part to control the decisions of this city and spend our tax dollars!