City staff recommends making Laurier bike lanes permanent

City staff is recommending that the segregated bike lanes on Laurier Avenue West become permanent.

The bike lanes pilot project began in July 2011. Since then, the lanes have “achieved their main objectives of significantly increasing bicycle traffic and cycling mode shares within the downtown area,” according to a report to the transportation committee.

The bike lanes have improved road safety for cyclists. They have had a minimal effect on motor vehicle traffic and have had no impact on response times for emergency vehicles.

Maintaining the lanes will cost the city $9,000 a year.

City staff is also making immediate, short-term, and long-term recommendations for the segregated lanes.

The city has received complaints that the bike lanes have reduced the number of on-street parking spaces, but staff wants to see 22 new parking spaces added to Laurier this year.

A raised cycle track at the north side of Laurier, between Bronson Avenue and Bay Street, has been proposed for 2014.

The slightly elevated bikeway would be 1.5 metres wide with a concrete curb and gutter to separate the cycling track from the motor vehicle lanes.

Staff wants the remaining bike lanes to be converted to a raised cycle track when Laurier is reconstructed after the Confederation LRT Line opens to the public.

The proposal will go before the transportation committee on July 5.