At the Committee of the Whole Meeting last night (November 27, 2017), council supported the Transportation Staff recommendation to convert the existing New Street Road Diet pilot project to the original four-lane section that was in existence before August 2016. The conversion will take place in the early spring of 2018.
I was initially very lukewarm to this project as it was my expectation there would be significant opposition because of concerns about extended driving times and criticisms of low cycling activity.
As it turned out, I heard the opposition to this pilot project loud and clear in the very early stages. I remember working out at the Burlington YMCA the morning after the decision and boy, did I get an earful!
The full recommendation that was approved last night includes a direction for the staff to include cycle tracks on New Street between Guelph Line and Burloak for consideration in the 2019-2028 capital budget and forecast, along with pursuing a senior level of government funding.
This design option will maintain a four-lane road platform and implement an integrated and connected network of physically separated bike lanes which is my preference. This concept will not slow down traffic and will encourage many people to cycle due to the higher level of safety that cycle tracks provide.
We are in the process of developing a detailed cycling plan for the city that will be complete by spring of 2018 that will focus on the development of a city-wide integrated and connected network of cycling infrastructure. New Street Cycle Tracks will be part of that.I believe that a decision to locate bicycle lanes anywhere in the city needs to implement an overall planned network.
On another point that is related to cycling, I’ve also heard from many residents about the lack of connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists over the QEW. As a result, I am asking for council support at the Capital Budget Meeting on Friday (December 1) to provide funding for a preparatory work to occur to assure that we are ready to build an Active Transportation Bridge over the QEW when the senior level of government funding becomes available.
I am a supporter of cycling infrastructure that will ensure cyclist safety, form an efficient and well-designed network while recognizing the associated impact on residents’ use of their vehicles.
I want to thank everyone who connected with me about the New Street Road diet. We heard all of you!