Federal infrastructure minister Amarjeet Sohi has been paying attention to what his former city council colleagues have been doing with bike lanes. Mayor Don Iveson is hoping federal green money can help double the size of the $7 million, 7-kilometer bike grid for downtown, by adding another one in Old Strathcona and the University district.
Sohi, in Edmonton for a series of funding announcements hinted something along those lines is in the works for next spring. “Our goal is to finalize the long term plan within the next number of months,” he said. “Once that is in place, then every municipality will know how much money they’re going to receive from the federal government for the long term.”
“Under that, we are seriously exploring how do we support municipalities to build the sustainable modes of transportation, dedicated cycling infrastructure, or other ways to reduce our dependency on the personal automobile.”
Sohi is looking at an eight- to ten-year time frame. He said 2018 would fit into that schedule, so Edmonton’s phase two of a bicycle network would fit both federal thinking and Mayor Iveson’s goal.
“One thing that I stress as a goal is that the piecemeal approach to infrastructure is not something that I’m a fan of. We need to give sustainable predictable and long term funding for municipalities so that they can plan for the long term. That is my goal, that’s my desire and that’s what we want to achieve.”
Sohi said it’s still early in the planning stages. They’re not to the point yet where they know if there will be one large fund, or a smaller one for active transportation to go with the main plan for mass transit. He wants to give municipalities time to plan long term. (sj)