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Saturday, Aug 04, 2018

Southern Alberta’s first bike boulevard provides a viable and safe travel route through the City of Lethbridge

Lethbridge Bike Boulevard

As people become more conscious of the need to create vibrant, sustainable and healthy communities, many large Canadian cities have designed and built cycling facilities. The City of Lethbridge has embraced active transportation, and retained Associated Engineering to provide detailed design, community engagement, and construction services for the City’s first bike boulevard on the beautiful and historic 7 Avenue S, from 4 Street S east to Mayor Magrath Drive, through the neighbourhoods of London Road and Victoria Park. 

A bike boulevard is a roadway that still permits vehicular traffic, but has been modified to make cycling more comfortable and safer for cyclists.  The modifications selected for the 7 Avenue S bike boulevard included the following:

  • Removing all east-west stop signs so that cyclists could travel unimpeded.  Stop or yield signs were placed on side street approaches.
  • Implementing speed and volume management strategies on the east-west roadway.  These strategies included eight compact roundabouts and a posted speed limit of 30 km/h to manage speed. Two diagonal diverters and a right-in / right-out at a major intersection at the boulevard’s mid-point manage the volumes. 
  • The diverters and the right-in / right-out effectively divided the 2.35 kilometre long roadway into four separate links of approximately 590 metres.  At a diverter, eastbound and westbound vehicular traffic are required to turn south and north respectively.  Similarly, northbound and southbound traffic are required to turn westbound and eastbound respectively – except bikes.  Bikes can continue through these intersections
  • Installing the right-in / right-out and traffic signals at the mid-point to cross 13 Street S, a busy four-lane north-south arterial roadway where there was previously only stop control on 7 Avenue S
  • Installing supporting paint markings and bike boulevard signage. 

As this was the first project of its type for the City, to foster success, we worked closely with the client to address their concerns.  Emergency vehicles had to be able to get over the directional diverter central medians, but regular-sized cars and trucks could not.  In discussions with the Fire Department, several options were evaluated on site. This requirement was ultimately achieved using strategically spaced, flexible rubber bollards, a 100 millimetre curb face, and street signs. 

Several community engagement activities were held; most residents were excited and supported the bike boulevard.  

The new bike boulevard provides cyclists with a viable and safe route for east-west travel through the city.  The west end of the corridor connects to the city’s regional pathway system, and the east end connects to a 4.8 kilometre north-south separated multi-use pathway along Mayor Magrath Drive, as well as Henderson Lake, the new swimming pool, Spitz Stadium, and the SLP Skatepark.  

Project Manager, Chris Poirier, and Ahmed Ali, the City Transportation Planning Engineer, will make a presentation on the project at the TAC conference in Saskatoon in September.