January 30, 2013
I’ve heard from many Burlington residents and cyclists regarding the proposed bike lanes on Lakeshore Road and wanted to take an opportunity to share some of my own thoughts with you.
At the January 28 Council meeting, City Council did not support a recommendation to add bike lanes on Lakeshore Road. After long and careful consideration on this issue, I decided not to support this pilot project proposal.
As Mayor, I have to consider how decisions will affect all residents of the city. I am supportive of the City’s long term plans for cycling and increasing active transportation in Burlington. I believe it is important to take action to help reduce traffic congestion and commute times by investing in active transportation alternatives and transit, but I believe that we need to consider these decisions from a holistic, long-term perspective.
In 2009 City Council endorsed the Cycling Master Plan but since then, we have had very little discussion on the implementation of the plan and the benefits of increasing cycling transportation in Burlington. I believe that we need to consider these decisions from a long- term perspective and invest in active transportation and cycling infrastructure where it will be most beneficial and cost-efficient.
Council could have voted to push through this initiative with significant resistance from the majority of the community, however, I believe that approach would create further resistance to future initiatives to add bike lanes and cycling infrastructure in the city. Going forward, we have to connect the long term vision for active transportation with a clear strategy for implementation by looking at the Cycling Master Plan.
As a result of this discussion, I will be bringing forward a staff direction to review the 2009 Cycling Master Plan as part of the 2013 Transportation Master Plan Update in the coming weeks. As we continue work on the Transportation Master Plan and Official Plan Review this year, this is an opportune time to consider how cycling fits into the City’s greater transportation planning.
This is an opportunity to put broad issues into context for further, meaningful discussion. I encourage you to get involved in these discussions and shaping the future of our city.
Since the City of Burlington declared itself as a Sustainable Development Community in 1990, we have taken several steps to invest in vibrant neighbourhoods, active transportation and safe and accessible transportation options including 2 Car Free Sunday events in Summer 2012 to promote cycling and active living in Burlington.
I invite you to visit the City of Burlington Environment web page to learn more about some of the projects and initiatives to protect our environment, invest in active transportation and creating a healthy city. I also invite you to watch a video about Cycling in Burlington and learn about some of the great paths and trails currently available for cyclists.
As we continue forward, this year we will continue work on our Official Plan Review and a new Transportation Master Plan. I encourage you to get involved in these discussions and shaping the future of our city.
UPDATE: February 1:
A couple of noteworthy news pieces on this issue:
Lorraine Sommerfield, “Going beyond the numbers in the battle for bike lanes” in the Globe and Mail
Please read and share and feel free to share your thoughts with a comment below.