Mayor Jim Watson’s intervention in a controversial bike detour on Holland Avenue has convinced the city to paint bike lanes and install flexible posts to create a safer route for cyclists for the next two years.

The portion of Holland Avenue between Kenilworth and Tyndall streets has been identified as the detour for cyclists and pedestrians impacted by the closing of a footbridge over Highway 417 at Harmer Avenue. The city is demolishing the bridge this weekend before starting work on the replacement overpass.

The city originally had a rough time finding a balance between providing a safe cycling route on the detour and retaining on-street parking spots on Holland Avenue. It decided to mix vehicular and cycling traffic, retain parking spots and let people bike on one of the sidewalks.

Watson asked staff to review the detour after getting an earful from the public.

Alain Gonthier, director of infrastructure services, summarized the changes to Holland Avenue in a memo to council on Thursday.

The city will wipe the “sharrows” from the road and give cyclists a dedicated space. Sharrows are pictures painted on the road reminding users that motorists and cyclists are sharing the space.

Under the new plan, which will be fully implemented by the start of the school year in September, 14 of 26 on-street parking spots along the southbound lane between Kenilworth Street and Fisher Park Public School, and six of 19 spots along the eastbound lane between the Fish Park Public School school and Tyndall Street, will be removed.

Cycling on the west sidewalk will still be allowed during the detour.

The painted cycle lanes will be 1.5 metres wide with a buffer zone 0.5 metres wide. The city will move the flex posts currently in the middle of the road to the cycle buffer zones.

To fit the new cycle lanes, the city must remove the dedicated northbound bus lane.

Earlier this month, council reduced the speed limit in that 450-metre stretch to 30 km/h. The speed limit was 50 km/h but 40 km/h in the school zone.