A cyclist crosses the Robert Campbell bridge in this 2017 file photo. The city hopes the priorities outlinedin the city’s new bicycle network plan will bring even more bikes to the road. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse eyes better bike lanes

More cycling infrastructure will create more cyclists, says city

If you build it, they will come — that’s what Sabine Schweiger says about cycling infrastructure in the city of Whitehorse.

Schweiger, environmental coordinator with the city, told the News on May 28 the hope now is that the priorities outlined in the city’s new bicycle network plan will bring even more bikes to the road.

Schweiger presented the plan to council at the May 28 standing committees meeting.

Developed in 2017 in tandem with the downtown and Marwell plans, the bike plan brings together feedback from 238 online respondents, city staff, and members of the Whitehorse Urban Cycling Committee who worked with the city last June to identify gaps in significant downtown routes.

“It’s not a huge surprise,” Schweiger told the News of the routes riders have identified as key. “It really mirrors the commuter cycling map that’s been published for years with the city.”

Schweiger said the lack of an east-west corridor, from the escarpment to the water, was of concern, as was filling trail gaps between Two Mile Hill and the waterfront, and installing a cycle track coming out of Riverdale and on to Lowe Street downtown.

During the standing committees meeting, Whitehorse resident Jean Paul Molgat spoke to council about the plan, which he said he feels does a good job of addressing necessary changes to the city’s cycling landscape, but he asked council to consider prioritizing a trail leading from the Alaska Highway, along Hillcrest Drive, into Granger.

Molgat acknowledged that’s the neighbourhood he lives in, and gave his reasons for wanting to see focus on that link.

“That route is 1.2 km shorter than the existing Two Mile Hill route (to downtown) and probably a couple of kilometres shorter than the Hamilton extension route,” said Molgat. “It has virtually no intersections or traffic … as opposed to the Two Mile Hill route which has 13 intersections that cyclists need to deal with. And the (city’s bike) plan goes into quite some detail about all the fixes that are needed at those intersections.”

Among those fixes are protected traffic signals and pavement markings where multi-use trails cross intersections, especially those at Two Mile Hill and Hamilton Boulevard.

When Coun. Samson Hartland asked Schweiger if she had prioritized the recommended projects, she highlighted those intersections, as well as improving links from Two Mile Hill (either by way of on-street lanes along Chilkoot Way, or via an easement behind the Canadian Tire) and Riverdale, as part of the process of improving existing infrastructure.

Anything beyond that, she said, would depend on road reconstruction. It’s cheaper and more efficient to make upgrades to cycling infrastructure when the roads are already being worked on for other reasons.

This might include working on streets to create fully separated bike paths. Options include protected on-street bike lanes, paved, off-street multi-use paths, bicycle boulevards or greenways, where bikes and vehicles share the road on side streets or bike paths.

“(Bike lanes) are not typically recommended anymore by the Transportation Association of Canada because they have too much conflict between cyclists and vehicles,” Schweiger said, noting there are still some in the city (for instance, on 4th Avenue) where there’s no space for alternatives.

“One of the things we really struggle with in the Yukon is that painted line,” Schweiger told the News, especially in the winter. “Even if it’s there under the snow, it’s not there.”

All of these measures, said Schweiger, will hopefully make people feel safer about cycling in the city, which should, in turn, get more people on bikes.

According to past statistics included in the plan, the number of residents who rely on cycling as their primary mode of transportation increased from two per cent in 2001 to 3.2 per cent in 2011. Right in the middle of that growth spurt was 2005, when the city installed its first on-street bike lanes.

Once the plan is brought to city council through the annual capital budget process, if adopted, Schweiger said it could be eligible for external funding.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

bike lanesCyclingWhitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read