Bike lane revamp planned for Regina
The city’s announced a four-phase plan, and residents have mixed reviews
In 2017, the Regina City Council adopted a plan to improve Regina’s transportation system over the next 25 years. This plan included a city-wide cycling network in Regina. In 2018, the city undertook an internal prioritization study that helped to indicate which areas of the city would benefit from being the first to have that city-wide network built. The highest priority city-wide network was deemed to be the route that connected central neighbourhoods to Regina’s downtown core.
The Crosstown Bike Route plan execution was divided into four phases of implementation. Phase one deals with western Cathedral, where construction was expected to begin in 2021. The bike lanes are planned to be established on 13thAvenue from Forget Street to York Street, and 14th Avenue from Edward Street to Montague Street.
Phase two covers eastern Cathedral, Centre Square, and Downtown, where construction is set to begin in 2023. This phase will only continue once a two-year evaluation of 14th Avenue is completed. The idea is that the bike lanes in phase 2 will continue to the rest of Cathedral, and to at least as far as Lorne Street downtown.
In 2024, phase three is expected to begin, which would include areas such as Centre Square, Downtown, Heritage, and Al Ritchie. This phase will go as far as Arcola Avenue. The last phase will be an ongoing monitoring and adjustment phase, which is expected to run from 2025 onwards. In the 2017 Transportation Master Plan, the City of Regina cites constructed pathways and bike lanes are funded through specific annual budget requests. There is no dedicated funding with regards to the construction of active transportation facilities.
The report also highlights ways to promote active transportation to promote healthier communities, which includes the use of on-street bicycle facilities. The city is also looking into the use of road routes through inclusion of bike lanes in order to reduce vehicular lanes on roads to improve safety and facilitate other modes of transportation. Other major Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, Saskatoon, and Ottawa have implemented bike lanes to encourage healthier modes of transportation.
After the completion of phase 1 in 2021, CTV Regina found that many residents had mixed reviews about the new bike lanes. The mixed reviews stem from losing on-street parking spaces, as the bike lanes now take up the old spots. In a 2021 interview with CTV Regina, Shanie Leugner – who, in 2021, was the manager of infrastructure engineering with the city – said “We always have to find kind of the sweet spot to implement the right kind of infrastructure for what context we are working with.” This was regarding understanding that there are requirements in how bike lanes, travel lanes, and parking lanes can exist and co-exist.
In an interview with CBC News, Shanie Leugner also stated that the city was looking at “a lower-cost solution to install cycling infrastructure on low-volume streets.” Geoff Ellis, who was the president of Wascana Freewheelers recreational cycling, was interviewed by CBC News in 2021 and stated: “This particular one is unusual. I have not personally encountered that type of bike lane that they are describing.” Although people have mixed reviews about whether the bike lanes will work, or if they’ll cause more trouble than they’re worth, or if they’re practical, hopefully they will encourage people to think about healthier, cheaper ways that they can move around the city.