April 4, 2023 Message to the Membership

Posted on April 4, 2023 in

April 4, 2023 Message to the Membership

So the annual report of the Saskatoon Police Service’s traffic unit pointed out that five intersections accounted for 110 crashes last year, or nearly five per cent of the collisions at all Saskatoon intersections. And leading the way, was the infamous Avenue C and Circle Drive.

Not only that, but this illustrious intersection has also been in the top 5 for reported accidents for each of the past five years, leading the way in three of those five years. Overall, it is the runaway ‘winner’ as the most treacherous in the city when it comes to traffic collisions. Any commuter that’s ever taken that route can definitely attest to the thorn in the side it’s been.

So what does the City want to do about it?

Put a bike lane through it. Yep, you read that right. I’m not kidding.

Regular readers will recall that I’ve already broached this subject in this space, but for those who aren’t, be advised: There are prospective plans to put a bike lane on Avenue C, running from the riverbank downtown, all the way up to 45th Street.

That will make perfect sense, especially when you consider the streams of summer vacation traffic soon to be going through that particular intersection, many of which will be pulling boats and camper trailers and the like, en route to their northern destination.

And with the sales of these recreational products going through the roof since the onset of COVID, think of all the brand new or relatively inexperienced drivers of these vehicles and their trailers. Then let’s throw in a bike lane to congest things even more and get drivers even more riled up.

Indeed, the traffic queue along Circle Drive heading towards Idylwyld Drive is the longest you’ll ever see in the city, and it’s coming from both directions: eastbound and westbound. This is because aside from Wanuskewin Road – which should possibly be renamed to Wheel Alignment Road – it’s about the only way you can get to the northern gateways of Highways 11 and 12 North. If I lived on the east side, I’d come through downtown and up Idylwyld. It’s likely your quickest option.

Before the Avenue C and Circle Drive red light cameras were installed, idiots would pull into the intersection before it was clear to do so, stop mid-intersection and with a red light a block ahead, had no place to go. So they sat there (ignoring the honking horns), blocking off the traffic for the next set of waiting vehicles in the adjacent lane of traffic. This was great.

After the red light cameras went in, now you’ve got idiots (perhaps the same ones?) that think if the light turns yellow and they’re 10 feet away from entering the intersection at 50 km/h or dare I say 55 km/h, they jam on their brakes to try and stop in time (which they don’t). So they’re either doing the reverse drive of shame or blocking the traffic anyway.

But back to the bike lanes. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not anti-bike lanes. But they gotta make sense, man!

Those of you who were fortunate enough to attend our BBA Awards/Sold Gold 50th Celebration will recall the opening video that we played there, which had a bike lane reference or two. Here’s a link in case you missed it:

Business Builder Awards 2023 Introduction Video – YouTube

Indeed the NSBA has a bit of a reputation when it comes to Saskatoon’s bike lanes. That likely partially comes from our surveillance of the 4th Avenue bike lanes, which showed an incredibly reduced amount of traffic than what City Council was being told by administration. But I digress.

We think they make a great deal of sense – if you get them away from the traffic. Don’t bring them right in to compete with the vehicles. That’s a lose-lose proposition. Especially the one with the most collisions!

Go on an alternate route (there is always one or, oftentimes, several more) that has less traffic. Pick that one. I’d even be as bold as giving them their own street, with the only vehicular traffic allowed on that street would be for homeowners on their particular block – not the next block, not the last block, just the one they live on.

I don’t think this is an option for Avenue C, north of Circle Drive. In other words, we’re letting it be known that bike lanes on Avenue C is not a great idea. Therefore, we’ll be advocating for all future collisions at this intersection be limited only to those that drive motorized vehicles.

(And no, a scooter doesn’t count!)

Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well, but most of all, be kind.

Keith Moen

Executive Director

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