Cyclists, area residents divided on Regina's new bike lanes

Phase one of Regina’s crosstown bike route pilot project is complete, but the new lanes are getting mixed reviews between area residents and cyclists.

The goal of the project is to link the Devonian Pathway on 13th Avenue to Arcola Ave. through a series of bike paths.

Phase one runs along 13th and 14th Avenues and features two different styles of bike lanes.

Cyclists in Regina are pleased with the project.

“I actually applaud the city’s initiative in connecting some of the pre-existing bike paths that we had,” Angéle Poirier, with Bike Regina, said. “Something that protects the cyclists from drivers is really important and will hopefully attract new cyclists.”

On the other hand, some area residents are frustrated with the changes to the roads.

Brent Harvey is a resident along the portion of 14th Ave. He said the lane took away the on-street parking, which his family uses daily.

“I’ll park the car out front, I’ll have to park the other car in the garage, it’ll take up my garage space, my son won’t be able to plug in his car and his girlfriend won’t be able to plug in,” said Harvey.

Leugner said the city did studies in the area before deciding which bike lane to use.

“There wasn’t enough demand for parking to retain on-street parking,” she said. “Just the way the math adds up. Sometimes there is room for more and sometimes there is room for less and in this particular case there was enough room for bi-directional and no parking.”

On 13th and a 14th Ave. until Pasqua Street there is a bi-directional bike lane that cyclists can use in either direction and is blocked off to traffic.

The city said this type of lane is used on high traffic streets that need two lanes of vehicle traffic and don’t need on-street parking.

14th Ave. from Pasqua to Elphinstone Street has advisory bike lanes that have a single direction bike lane on both sides of the street and a single shared vehicle lane in the middle. The city said this one is used on wider streets that require on-street parking.

This is a new type of bike path that is popular in Europe, but only seen in two other cities in Canada.

“There are requirements about width for bike lanes, travel lanes, parking lanes and things like that,” Shanie Leugner, 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.”

Leugner added this is still a pilot project and the city will evaluate each of the bike lanes throughout 2022 to see if changes need to be made before moving forward.

Phase two of the project, which will go through east Cathedral, Centre Square and downtown, is slated to start in 2023.

The final phase, through Centre Square, downtown, Heritage and Al Ritchie to Arcola Ave. Is expected to start in 2024.