Paths for People is really encouraged by the Snow and Ice Control Pilot Project that the City has undertaken.
We all know that winter is a significant part of our reality in Edmonton and it poses more challenges for those walking, rolling and cycling.
We also know that approaches to winter maintenance is evolving due to:
- climate change
- more freeze/thaw cycles
Research from other winter cities examine the factors that most determine whether or not people cycle during cold weather.
It is not snow.
It is not the cold.
It is concerns about safety.
It is separated infrastructure and surface conditions that make the most difference.
You can’t change the weather, but you sure can change the surface conditions.
We know the use of brine is part of the gold standard of snow and ice control for separated bike lanes in other cities like Stockholm, Sweden with a similar climate to ours.
Paths for People supports the vision of a four-season biking network, and we know our culture will continue to shift to make this a reality. The separated bike lanes are already creating a shift for riding in all seasons, including winter.
Edmonton is a winter city, and we want to be one where we have a very active outdoor life year-round.
BENEFITS & TRADE-OFFS
As stated in the June Council report, literature review and jurisdictional scans show that every winter maintenance tool has benefits and trade-offs.
We acknowledge that when it comes to bike lanes, there has been some controversy over the use of calcium chloride brine.
Some cyclists don’t like it, claiming it causes increased corrosion to, and maintenance for, their bicycles.
Some of our members tell us the last two winters were the best ever for Edmonton winter cycling because of the brine applications.
We believe the safety benefits of calcium chloride brine far outweigh corrosion concerns.
FOR THIS REASON, WE ASK COUNCIL TO CONTINUE THE USE OF BRINE ON KEY ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDORS, INCLUDING:
- bike lanes
- bus stops
- multi-use trails
We ask that council prioritize safety over concerns related to corrosion, especially when it comes to our active transportation routes.
Regardless of what decisions are made about the application of brine on car roadways, we know it is vital to continue to use brine in these key active transportation corridors because it ensures our city is walkable and bikeable 365 days a year for those aged eight to 80.
Liquid brine has huge impacts on quality of life:
- Improved safety
By achieving bare pavement, something liquid brine when combined with snow clearing does best, users are safer
- Crash reduction
Research findings indicate a 16% reduction of crashes
We know enough about the challenges involved in winter maintenance to appreciate the complexity of snow and ice control. But we need to make continuous, sustained effort on this. We need follow-up on what works and what doesn’t.
Paths for People would like to acknowledge the efforts taken to improve snow and ice control for active transportation in our city.
It’s Working – let’s let it!
We want to encourage the City of Edmonton to continue the use of brine on key active transportation corridors and around seniors centres. It is working. It is improving accessibility and allows our more risk-averse Edmontonians to get out and walk and cycle more year-round.