Council in brief: Bike lanes, crosswalks and affordable housing

By Jacob Morgan, Metro January 21, 2014 Better Bike Lanes

Sean Shaw of the Better Bike Lanes project received a warm welcome at city council Monday night.

Council voted unanimously in favour of his presentation.

“Tonight was overwhelming,” said Shaw. “It’s really a step forward for the city in terms of cycling.”

City administration will come back with a report around March or April with the goal of implementing temporary downtown bike lanes by the summer season.

The Better Bike Lanes proposal would see Copenhagen-style lanes, which are placed as a buffer zone in between sidewalks and parked cars, running on 24th Street and Fourth Avenue.

St. Mary’s

Students and teachers from the St. Mary’s Wellness and Education Centre gave passionate appeals to council to slow down the traffic around their facility.

Councillor Pat Lorje said administration is going to look into getting a pedestrian activated signal at 20th Street West and Avenue N South as well as a school zone installed to reduce traffic speeds.

“(We) asked for earliest convenience and hope for a report back at the end of the month,” said Lorje.

Affordable Housing

Several affordable housing projects were quickly approved.

The list includes 10 per cent of construction costs for a four-unit Habitat for Humanity house at 119 Avenue S South, as well as nine per cent of total cost for the purchase and renovation of a two-unit Central Urban Métis dwelling.

Shaw Centre

The Shaw Centre is getting fixed up with a new ventilation system, which will cost $650,000 funded through the Civic Buildings and Comprehensive Maintenance Reserve.

Councillor Ann Iwanchuk said the goal is to have the system in place by the summer. Adminstration is also looking into the possibility of building a dryland facility storage space adjacent to the Shaw Centre.

“If the diving club wants to hold national and international competitions at Shaw Centre, they need adequate equipment available – and they don’t have the storage space for it,” said Iwanchuk.

City Centre Plan

A number of items from the City Centre Plan were passed. This includes the lifting of building height restrictions of 76 metres.

However, council asked administration to report back with specific requirements for those looking to build past the former mark.

In addition, the temporary outdoor restaurants installed downtown in September were deemed a success and should become an annual dining option during the warm months.

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