The Aug. 31 issue of the Advocate, carried four letters to the editor commenting on the newly created bike lanes. The letters were split, for and against.
At issue are several points: First, the location of said lanes. Second, the rapidity with which the project progressed. Third, a safety issue for both cyclists and motorists. Fourth, the loss of parking in many residential areas and potential for expensive construction of driveways to accommodate parking, where parking previously existed. Fifth, right of way where cycle lanes intersect right turns at intersections, who has the right of way?
Beth Anthony, of the Lancaster Community Association, favours the lane project because it was initiated by community efforts and that it is an innovative project. Yes there are growing pains for new projects, but in the consideration of acceptance, the cyclist lanes may have been better tested in residential neighbourhoods and not on extremely busy thoroughfares such as 43rd Avenue, between Gaetz and 54th Street (your choice of streets or avenues).
Rene Michalak, of ReThink /Red Deer, encourages citizens to complete a survey (concerning the bicycle lane issue), more stuff to be collected, analyzed, shuffled and used to draw conclusions, based upon a bias. Too often with surveys, they are located on sites that most citizens don’t visit — when was the last time you visited either the City of Red Deer or Red Deer Chamber of Commerce sites to see what surveys needed consideration? Mr. Michalak, if you want me to Rethink Red Deer, then focus upon the historical aspects of this area, rather than glitzy economic come ons. Use Kerry Wood’s vision of Red Deer and the actual history — accentuate the past, but blend an amalgamation of neighbourhoods/communities.
Jim Dawson seems to have taken an interesting “serious tongue in cheek” approach. Both of his alternatives do not make a modicum of sense, a bit perverse albeit. Mr. Dawson, consider the increased revenue for city coffers when building permits are issued for all the new driveways and curbs, oh don’t forget the increased cost of mandated on site inspections. Mr. Dawson, I do like your centre-of-the-road cycle lane, just to see if cyclists do know about rules of the road — appropriate signalling for turns, stops, etc.
Ed Rowell has put all of the lane discussion into a clear focus — congestion! — at many intersections and neighbourhoods. His focus was on school but access to necessary pick-up and drop-off points. Mr. Rowell also points out that not all motorists make lane turns from street to avenue properly — Traffic Act states, lane to lane turns.
Did any of our city planners and engineers take into consideration the turning radius of the semi trailer trucks which use our roads? Many of the bicycle lanes will impact lane changes for larger vehicles. According to Ms. Anthony, the goal of banishing motorized vehicles on Red Deer’s roads would be achieved.
At this point, we as parents need to consider — have we taught our children how to ride the road, on bikes safely? As a parent, have you: taught your child hand turn signals? Using the road has rules — stay right as far as possible: stay off sidewalks: have a bell or horn for warning pedestrians? Cyclists do not have the right of way on roads — they share the road! and must observe the rules of road use.
With this new cyclist lane initiative, is the next move to provide a skateboard lane down the middle of the road so skateboarders can also coast with impunity, while texting and expecting to have the right of way?!