By Curniss McGoldrick
Thunder Bay resident Dean Stamler rides his bicycle to commute around town and says cyclist safety is a big problem on Memorial Avenue. As the most direct route between the city’s north and south cores and a commercial corridor, this is where people want to go, both on bikes and in cars. The result is a dangerous combination.
To create a solution to this problem, Stamler has been spearheading the Memorial Link Project. His vision is five kilometres of separated bike lane down Memorial Avenue by 2019. “The goal is to get more people riding in a safe environment, especially at intersections,” says Stamler. With over 430 likes on Facebook and 600 signatures of support, Stamler is optimistic to see his vision turn into reality. “There is a lot of support in the community,” he says.
Adam Krupper, the City of Thunder Bay’s active transportation coordinator, estimates that building separated bike lanes would dramatically increase the number and type of cyclists on the road. “When you put in separated cycling facilities, people who have always been afraid to ride now get on their bikes every day,” says Krupper. “It creates a culture shift in the whole community.”
The Memorial Link project can do just that. It is bringing people across the city together to talk about the need for a really good north-south cycling route that is safe and works for everyone. Together individuals, community organizations, politicians, and businesses can make this happen and change the face of cycling in Thunder Bay.
To learn more about the Memorial Link project, visit memoriallink.ca.