The Downtown Bike Network is keeping cyclists safe on their ride to campus
With high speeds, busy roads and the occasional grumpy motorist, cycling to campus can be intimidating.
Now Edmonton’s Downtown Bike Network will make the commute to campus a lot less scary. More than seven kilometres of protected bike lanes run through the downtown core, with one lane just north of MacEwan University still under construction.
“People feel more safe and secure using the lanes,” says Benoit Cyr, project manager with the university’s Facilities department.
Marked green pathways, protective curbs and additional signage help separate cyclists from motorists.
Jim MacDonald, the senior manager of Transportation Services, says he has noticed more cyclists in the area since the launch of the network over the summer.
“The bike lanes provide easier and safer access to the campus," he says. “We're going to wait and see whether a lot more people are cycling to campus now that the downtown bike grid is in place."
Accommodations for cyclists on campus are already growing based on feedback received at the City’s launch event for the network in August.
"I had a number of people who came up and asked me where they could store their bike and where the bike racks were on campus," says Jim, who was the host of MacEwan’s booth at the event. “We've upgraded bike racks, providing more coverage in more areas."
There will be 75 bike racks across the university once installations are complete.
Benoit adds that the old triangular racks have been replaced with corkscrew racks, which allow cyclists to lock their bikes on both sides, creating more storage space.
As the use of the bike grid grows, MacEwan is starting work on a campus cycling plan. The plan will begin with a public engagement project that will allow the university’s cycling community to share what resources they would be interested in seeing on campus.
"We’re gathering feedback so people who want to ride to campus have proper infrastructure like storage, whether it's outside or a little more secure in our parkades,” says Jim. “We want to be receptive to their needs."
The first public engagement sessions will be held in October.
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