COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
A long line of signs erected by the city line Lorne Avenue, looking eastwards from First Street.
The City of Brandon is reviewing its Share the Road bicycle initiative, after Coun. Len Isleifson (Riverview) called the sheer number of signs "overkill."
One of the many signs lining Lorne Avenue near First Street, reminding motorists to be aware of bicyclists.
A young boy cycles past a line of signs along Lorne Avenue reminding motorists to watch out for bicycles, Monday evening.
There are roughly 60 Share the Road signs on Lorne Avenue between 17th Street East and Ninth Street, typically four signs on a block — two facing east, two facing west.
"It certainly did not make the residents in the neighbourhood feel good about their neighbourhood," Isleifson said at a recent city council meeting. "I have received a number of calls on this issue."
Isleifson said he would like to see city administration look into limiting vehicular traffic on the road by limiting parking to one side of the street, and possibly painting a designated bicycle lane down the opposite side of the street.
"We need to bicycle safely from one end of the city to the other, but when I look at this section of property in my ward, there are areas where we have vehicles parked on both sides of the road, we have garbage pickup … and now we’re going to throw bicycle traffic in the same area," he said. "So on a Tuesday, I think you’d be taking your life in your hands ... if you have people on both sides, garbage on both sides and a truck … picking up garbage."
Rod Sage, the city’s general manager of operations, said creating a bicycle corridor through Brandon has been something they have struggled with for years.
"The biggest issue is the roads just aren’t wide enough for something such as what councillor Isleifson has requested. However, we are going to provide a more detailed response back to him on that," Sage said.
The initiative is a partnership between the city’s operations department and the engineering department, and Sage said the Share the Road initiative seemed to be the best option.
"Community services did outline that the roads weren’t wide enough when you get into the core area," he said. "We weren’t prepared to start eliminating parking simply for the purpose of a bike corridor that may or may not get used."
The city’s director of community services, Perry Roque, first presented the Share the Road initiative to city council last April. Lorne Avenue was chosen for the east/west corridor because it was considered the safest route, and also passes by many destinations and businesses, such as Brandon University, the Downtown HUB and several city parks.
The Share the Road corridor would stretch over 43 blocks from 17th Street East to 26th Street. The plan was to connect existing pedestrian pathways and promote safe, active transportation.
The corridor was to include new signs on every block and 155 bicycle stencils along the roadway. The cost of the project was budgeted at $57,000.
No stencils have yet been sprayed on the road, and crews have stopped putting up signs until further direction is given. Signs can be seen from 17th Street East to Ninth Street.
Sage said they are looking at possibly moving some of the signs.
"We had done an initial review with engineering and determined that we could remove half of the signs — that would be bare bones minimum guidelines for safety of motorists as well as the cyclists," he said.
Share the Road is a national initiative with the same signage used in all participating cities. Sage said the city is following guidelines established by the Transportation Association of Canada.
The signs that have been put up along Lorne Avenue are simply a safety issue, Sage said.
"I don’t dispute that in some areas, it does look like overkill," he said. "It looks that way because it’s new. It’s a new sign, it’s new to the area … You need a sign in every single block for the pure purpose of if you were new to the residential area ... You need that notice as a motorist that you are on a designated Share the Road corridor."
Sage said staff is reviewing the initiative and expects to provide information to city council within the next month.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 27, 2013