Saskatoon bus routes, bike lanes decision expected this month

Two of Saskatoon’s lingering, controversial debates could be coming to an end this month.

Saskatoon city council is expected to make a final decision on April 29 about where to locate two stretches of bus-only lanes and a downtown protected cycling network.

“That’s the hope,” Coun. Bev Dubois, whose council portfolio is transportation, said Tuesday.

Saskatoon city hall administration has scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce its recommendation for dedicated bus lanes as well as protected cycling lanes.

Dubois said releasing the final proposals from administration will give residents plenty of time to provide feedback before council meets next on the last Monday of April.

The city had originally proposed stretches of bus-only lanes as part of a bus rapid transit-style revamp on Third Avenue downtown and on Broadway Avenue. Merchants along Broadway pushed to move the lanes to Idylwyld Drive, while downtown businesses lobbied to move the lanes from Third Avenue to First Avenue.

The city’s original proposal for a downtown protected cycling network included stretches along Fourth Avenue, Idylwyld Drive, 23rd Street and 19th Street.

Opposition to the temporary bike lanes on Fourth Avenue has prompted the city to consider placing the lanes on Third Avenue if the bus-only lanes are relocated to First Avenue.

Any of the downtown proposals are expected to result in the elimination of on-street parking stalls.

Detailed design for both the bus system and the bike lanes is expected to begin once council has approved the routes.

Mayor Charlie Clark told reporters Tuesday that the widely-reported $4.6-million estimate for the downtown bike lanes would actually cover a range of improvements including sidewalk upgrades.

The cost of transit improvements based on bus rapid transit routes criss-crossing the city has been estimated to cost between $90 million and $150 million. The city is seeking federal public transit infrastructure funding for the project.

ptank@postmedia.com

twitter.com/thinktankSK

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