As work moves along on the City's first every Bike Boulevard, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will notice significant changes on 7 Ave. S. including new traffic controls and a reduced speed limit.
The Bike Boulevard is designed to give cyclists priority. It does this by discouraging motor vehicles from using 7 Ave. S as a through route to travel east and west from 4 St. S. to Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Motorists are instead encouraged to use 6 Ave. S. or 8 Ave. S.
The latest addition to the Bike Boulevard is a change to the intersection of 7 Ave. S and 13 St. S. Newly installed traffic lights will soon be on flashing mode and will be fully operational on December 18. They are specifically designed to detect cyclists, giving a safer, more convenient crossing on this busy street. This intersection also diverts vehicles off of 7 Ave. S and only cyclists and pedestrians can continue through on the bike boulevard corridor.
Other changes on the bike boulevard include:
- Construction of eight mini-roundabouts to slow vehicle traffic while giving pedestrians and cyclists a continuous throughway.
- Installation of two directional diverters which force traffic to make a right turn off of 7 Ave. S at both 9 St. S and 18 St. S.
- A new permanent speed limit of 30km/hr on 7 Ave. S.
- The switching of stop signs that halted traffic along 7 Ave. S. to instead stop traffic approaching 7 Ave. This creates an uninterrupted flow of traffic down the 7 Ave. corridor.
These changes were designed as part of a robust analysis and had overwhelming support from those participating in stakeholder workshops, public open houses and online surveys. Working with the City's Emergency Services was a vital part of this consultation to ensure this street design was safe and accessible.
What's to come?
We anticipate this change will take some time, particularly as drivers and cyclists adjust to using the Bike Boulevard. We also know, as with any new initiatives, there are some challenges. We have identified many of these and continue to listen to residents' concerns in order to minimize issues as much as possible.
Although much of the construction work has been completed there is still some signage and pavement painting to be finished. When fully completed, signage, signals, public education and communication will help inform the community of this change and make for a very successful and well used Bike Boulevard.
Watch for a grand opening of the Bike Boulevard in the spring of 2018.
The design of the Bike Boulevard is just one of the initiatives within the City's Cycling Master Plan, an exciting vision to grow the cycling network in Lethbridge.
The creation of the Bike Boulevard is in-line with the City of Lethbridge's Municipal Development Plan and Transit Master Plan that identify the need to prioritize walking, cycling, and transit over private motor vehicles. Active modes of transportation such as walking and cycling have many environmental, social, economic and health benefits for our community.
For more information on this project visit www.lethbridge.ca/7Avenue.
Robert Kovacs, Project Manager