I am writing this because of all the letters I have read in the last couple of weeks/months about bike lanes.
I’ll start with the cost of this project: it was reported that it cost $800,000 to complete. Fair enough, nothing in this world is free and that number seems extreme, but is it? I’ll bet not one person who complained about this really understands how much work it took to do this, as well as the number of people required to make a project like this happen.
So now you can say the city should not have even started, but it was very well advertised and you would have known if you paid any attention to what is happening in your city. Like most, you ignored it until after the fact and then play armchair quarterback and tell all of these people how wrong they were. I am especially amazed at the councillor who joined in opposition in the last hour. You must have known about this, it was taking place for a very long time, since it started over a year ago. Why did you wait until the completion and all of the money was spent before you spoke up?
Now that 55th Street has been changed back and the crews are working their way up the hill to 40th Avenue to 39th Street, I wonder if we will hear the cost? I’m guessing no.
Just so I understand, it was too expensive so we spend more money to save the money already spent?
City council was presented with a petition of 3,000 names on it but I never heard if it had been verified. I do hope someone looked and verified all those names were legal voters in the city. But how much of the voting population does this consist of? Lets say 55,000 legal voters live in Red Deer (just a guess), that means about five per cent of the people told 95 cent of the people how it should be. Or five per cent told five councillors what they should do. Is this the city council we need? I would like to applauded the four who stood by their decision to go ahead with the bike lane plan. This is the sign of leaders, not yes men.
I read every letter to the editor and have not seen one from an angry driver caught in a traffic jam. Don’t the people who wrote in about the major problem even use this street?
If you signed up for this removal of the lanes then you are responsible for the decision to remove them even if this means your taxes go up. I have read many letters from people who say city council should not give into these groups of small numbers, with loud voices, but where are they now? I would guess that they are part of a small, very vocal group.
Safety is another hot topic in this debate. It has been said that someone will be die on the bike lanes in the next year. I doubt that. I have been riding on the streets for years (seen lots of others) with no lanes and I’m still here. If you ride on a regular basis, travelling with cars is not too bad and as safe as the rider makes it.
The law says bikes have a legal right to be on the road and almost all drivers in this city are very good at avoiding you, no matter how much they dislike it. Drivers will have to pay more attention, but aren’t you supposed to know what is happening on the road around you while driving?
As for all of the suggestions that riders use the sidewalks, that comes from people who don’t ride. If you are a serious rider or a bike commuter, this is a poor option as the law says you must dismount and walk your bike across a crosswalk. This makes sidewalks unusable for this. Sidewalks belong to the children to ride on and people to walk on. Do you really want me riding at 30 km/h on your sidewalk? Red Deer is blessed with a fantastic trail system but it was not designed for commuter riding and even the speeds I mentioned are dangerous at the wrong times of the day so most of these riders are out early in the day.
On the issue of people who lose parking in front of their houses, nine or 10 all total (the rest of the homes have driveways): there were never any No Parking signs installed and they kept parking in the bike lane. This worked just fine — all it meant was the rider had to watch when passing parked cars. The area is not too busy with traffic so I don’t see what the fuss was all about.
The group that put the lanes in was not asking that every road in the city be used just enough to make bike commuting a option to the public. Of the 3,000 people who signed the petition, how many of you could have come up with solutions to the issues rather than complaining and wanting to erase everything?
It is incredible that something like this took place over some white lines on a road. To dismiss something as wrong because you don’t like it or will never use it, is wrong.
Perhaps we can get past this and learn to live together before another group of quiet people lose out on what they enjoy.