Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bridge City Blues

As much as I hate to see the Traffic Bridge chopped (SP Dec. 21/11) or totally dismantled it may have to be done. Getting funding for a replacement seems unlikely and the city no longer has the resources to finance the project its own. Added to the problem will be the need and cost of fixing the University and Broadway bridges within a few short years.

Certainly removing the one section at the foot of Victoria Avenue would be helpful to Nutana residents. We have been locked in for literally years. The city will have to look at removing the median at the top of Broadway Bridge to allow for traffic flow and possibly put a restricted time for turning onto the bridge or crossing over Broadway Avenue.

Whatever the decision it will have to happen soon as the bridge is unsightly to River Landing - which governs all that happens in the City Centre.


  1. Tear the bridge down and build a basic one that is able to carry cars and pedestrians/cyclists from Victoria to downtown.

    It doesn't need to be fancy, nor expensive. Everyone talks about the big expensive signature bridges. Anyone with a sense of history knows that most of the historical bridges are plain simple structures that have been maintained over time and aged well.

    Doing some elaborate design will only look tacky in 50 years, something simple and it will age well.

  2. The powers that be that run the city aren't smart enough to do something like that.

    We need to build a mecca bridge that will only carry cyclists and serve no other purpose and we need to make it the signature attraction in the City.

    Nope, nothing practical will work here.

  3. yep. because the traffic bridge is integral to traffic flow in this city, even more so once the south bridge opens.

  4. Pat Loreje wanted to save the bridge and put more money than what was already spent in fixing it up, not to mention the lights that cost just under a million and can't be reused or recycled. I personally would just like a bridge where I can ride my bike without being a target for vehicles. That will never happen in Saskatoon, unless Calgary has one. We can't even get improved biking lanes in this city. Calgary is city councils role model as mayor Atch has said many times. When we grow up, we can be just like Calgary. If I wanted to live in Calgary, I would move there.

  5. Calgary is simply a good model to look at an learn from mistakes and right decisions they have done.

    Anon 11:55, are you aware that despite the service slashing and increased fees that Cycling Saskatoon and other cycling causes got significantly larger funding this year? It is a bit disingenuous to whine and complain that Saskatoon hates cycling when they exponentially increase funding to that area while slashing every other area of the budget.

    But continue to cry 'woe is me' and that nobody loves the cyclists because you of course are entitled to everything. Did you discuss the cyclist funding during your month long stay Occupying Friendship park?

  6. Not to get off topic but, unless we can count on global warming (oh please, please give us global warming), cycling will always be a marginal transportation choice for the majority of the year.

    Bikes work well in the summer and are nothing but a hazard in the winter. We are Saskatoon, not Bogota.

    Too often the act of accommodating bikes is actually a covert campaign to make a city 'automobile unfriendly'. The idea is that if people find it inconvenient to drive, they will turn to more politically correct methods of transportation.

    However, I'm willing to meet the cyclist lobby half-way. I'll agree to spend money to make it easier and safer to get around on bike during the summer if they'll agree to the confiscation of any bike on the roads while there is snow on the ground.

  7. Cyclists don't compromise!!!! It is either their way or...ummmm....their way!!!!

    In seriousness though, the ones in the cyclist lobby group (the lovely Saskatoon Cycles) don't understand the rationale that bicycles aren't practical transportation for the VAST MAJORITY of residents in the winter, which is why a lot of their planning makes little sense.

    I've been to Amsterdam, where cycling year round is possible and not entirely unreasonable. Sure you can cycle here throughout the year but most residents don't do it, won't do it, and don't want to be forced to do it. Cyclists don't understand this and think it is just a matter of education.

    I'm sorry but when 7 months of (most) years the ground is covered in snow and ice, I don't care how careful most drivers are I'm not taking my kids on a cross-city ride next to cars travelling faster than us on icy roads. Even without cars I don't want my children cycling down icy streets and in the freezing cold weather.

    Saskatoon definitely needs to become more public transportation friendly. We need to figure that out sooner rather than later. But catering to the 50 people in the city who find it 'exhilarating and inspiring' to cycle through the cold is a waste of money.

    The City is on it's ass broke and we are giving these single issue driven people a truck full of money to carer to their whims.

    Cycling is not a winter time form of transportation, despite what zealot cyclists claim. Rather than city me reports from Amsterdam, New York, Barcelona, etc.. on their bicycle networks, why not show me the winterized bike networks of cities likes Munich, Helsinki, Stockholm, Edmonton or other cities where there is winter for prolonged periods? How is our city comparable to cities where there isn't snow and ice on the roads for months on end, and how come we never hear about the bicycle networks in those cities with ice and snow on the roads for months on end.

  8. Saskatoon has the 2nd highest (as of the 2006 Census) per capita number of year-round cyclist in the country, behind only Victoria - approximately 2.4%.

    As a member and past-president of Saskatoon Cycles I fully understand that the majority of people in Saskatoon don't cycle in the summer, let alone the winter. However, there are thousands who cycle in both seasons. Also, SaskatoonCycles doesn't advocate forcing anyone to cycle, it is attempting to improve cycling safety for those that currently cycle and those that want to but don’t because they don’t feel safe.

    I personally cycle April through November - 8 months of the year - I don't typically cycle on ice. I tried to take up winter cycling last year but wimped out after a few weeks, it just wasn’t for me. The rest of the year - four months - I either walk, bus, or drive.

    Investing in more cycling infrastructure - re: bike lanes, bike boulevards, separated bike lanes - goes far beyond "catering" to "50" people just in the winter.

    By separating cyclists from motorist and pedestrians we create safer conditions for everyone, make cycling more accessible to those who won't cycle under the current conditions. That then reduces the number of drivers on the road, which opens it up for those who choose to drive or take public transit, and reduce the wear and tear on the roads.

    As for comparable cities - Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg all have more advanced cycling networks and have committed to investing between $20 and $30 million in additional capital each over the next five years. Minneapolis, MN has consistently be voted the best winter cycling city in the world. So, yes, those cities are doing much better than Saskatoon on their cycling networks.

    In Saskatoon the annual cycling funding is $75,000. An additional, one time, infusion of $425,000 was passed in the 2012 budget. In 2009 the city gained about $1 million in one-time federal funding for cycling, was has been ear-marked to pay for the cycling portion of the 33rd St multi-use path and street upgrades (from Spadina to Warman).
    So, yes, compared to our immediate neighbours with "snow on the roads for months on end", Saskatoon is bringing up the rear.

    If you don't want to bike around the city that's your choice. However, just because you personally don't want to cycle in the winter doesn't mean the city shouldn't be investing to improve the safety of cyclist in both the winter and summer. It would be like arguing that we shouldn't build sports fields/parks or ice rinks or invest in neighbourhood parks because they aren't practical for the majority of people year-round.

    If you would like more information on cycling in Saskatoon, winter or summer, or would like to learn a bit more about the 1,200 plus cycling zealots that comprise Saskatoon Cycles, feel free to drop me an email any time -

  9. Sean I find it highly unlikely and almost downright disingenuous to imply that 2.4% of Saskatoon cycles year-round.

    You are trying to tell me that there are (in Saskatoon with at least 230k residents) more than 5,500 people that are active year round cyclists?

    If you are honestly pushing that number than much of the credibility on other figures you cite is gone. Do you honestly believe that Saskatoon right now has 5,500+ cyclists that go year round regardless of weather>?

  10. A second question is whether it is worth dramatically and expensively changing our infrastructure and how we design the city to cater to 2.4% of the population? (Even though that 2.4% seems really high)

    If 2.4% of the population also believe that electric cars are the future and buy them, should we install electrical outlets throughout the city for them to charge their cars at when they demand it?

    We are the 2.4%

  11. Sean Shaw posted "As for comparable cities - Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg all have more advanced cycling networks and have committed to investing between $20 and $30 million in additional capital each over the next five years"
    If this is the case why don't those cities have a higher percentage of year round cyclists than Saskatoon. It seems to me money nor an advanced cycling network is the answer....

  12. annoymnouse 5:15 pm here
    my post should read " it seems to me money nor an advanced cycling network is NOT the answer...

  13. 2.4% is from Statistic Canada's 2006 census - feel free to take it up with them. It's a well know and cited statistic. Again, that's just year-round cyclists - the number of cyclist out there during the more forgiving months of the year are much, much higher.

    The funding by Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg started only in the past couple of years, so I wouldn't attempt to draw parallels between amounts and cycling per capita - it's too early. Each city has it's own set of unique conditions that determine the level of cycling.

    Anon 420pm. In the future, if you want to suggest I'm lying have some class and put your above your comments.

  14. Despite Stat Can giving that number, does it accurately reflect your belief of the situation or are you using it for convenience?

    I mean there are some pretty outlandish numbers there, but that Saskatoon has 5,500 year round dedicated cyclists seems to be at least a little inflated.

    Sean, do you believe the number? And do you truly believe, that with all current status in Saskatoon that we truly are the #2 city in Canada for year round cyclists? You are a cycling advocate and even you are not a year round cyclist.

  15. I cycle 8 months in the year as well. All I want is not to be hit by a driver who sees us as bowling pins. Bikers can't cycle on the sidewalk, and we don't have good bike lanes. It seems that some people are saying that because most people only cycle 8 months out of the year, we shouldn't have safe bike lanes. It snows about 4 months out of the year. Maybe the city shouldn't plow the streets for vehicles. My work place has a large secure bike cage for the employees. It is ALWAYS full 8 months out of the year. The city should be trying to have less vehicles in the downtown area of the city, not more. As for public transport, the city just increased the rider rates and decreased the service. More people will probably be riding bikes during the 8 months than ever before.

  16. I do agree with Pat Lorje and other city councillors who want to put a tax on multi vehicles owned by a household. They do more than their fair share of eating up the infrastructure in the city and not paying their fair share. Households who don't own vehicles should be given a reduction on their taxes. I said a reduction, since we do bike, use public transport, take taxi's etc.
    Maybe then people will start using what little we have of public transport left, bike or walk when feasible. The city is very concerned about recycling for the environment, yet very little is being done to get car pollution under control.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.