Burling­ton moves ahead on New Street cy­cling pro­ject

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MICHAEL GRE­GORY

BURLING­TON — Mayor Rick Goldring has backpedalled on his orig­i­nal sup­port for a $5mil­lion cy­cle track op­tion on New Street, in­stead sid­ing with col­leagues on a less costly ‘road diet’ plan.

In a 6-1 vote at city coun­cil last week, coun­cil­lors ap­proved spend­ing $210,000 on a pi­lot pro­ject for buffered bike lanes on both sides of the street from Guelph Line to Walk­ers Line, and Wedge­wood Drive to Bur­loak Drive.

“We do want to cre­ate more cy­cling in­fras­truc­ture in the city so we can cre­ate a truly de­light­ful cy­cling ex­pe­ri­ence through­out the whole city,” said Goldring, who at the July 12 devel­op­ment and in­fras­truc­ture com­mit­tee had favoured cy­cle tracks ad­ja­cent to the side­walk along the same stretch of road.

The mayor ad­mit­ted his reversal was in part based on more re­search be­tween the two meet­ings on other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties where ‘road di­ets’ had been suc­cess­ful.

“I’m go­ing to hear from peo­ple any­way, and I’m go­ing to have to de­fend it, so I may as well be on the same team as ev­ery­body else.”

The ‘road diet’ op­tion main­tains the cur­rent road­way width at 14 me­tres, but re­moves a lane of traf­fic in each di­rec­tion and in­tro­duces a two-way left-turn lane.

“I’m not sure this par­tic­u­lar pi­lot pro­ject will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple that cy­cle; we will see,” added Goldring, who drives New Street ev­ery day on the way to City Hall.

Goldring had orig­i­nally brought for­ward the idea of ex­plor­ing bike lanes back in Jan­uary as part of a re­port be­fore coun­cil de­tail­ing a $10-mil­lon ten­der for street im­prove­ments and wa­ter main re­place­ment that in­cluded New Street.

As part of the pi­lot, city staff will be mon­i­tor­ing av­er­age traf­fic times for bikes and cars, col­li­sions and the use of the new cy­cling in­fras­truc­ture.

If the pi­lot is deemed un­suc­cess­ful, the ‘road diet’ can be con­verted to an­other cy­cling al­ter­na­tive in the fu­ture “with­out sig­nif­i­cant cost­ing im­pli­ca­tions,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Coun. John Tay­lor was equally con­cerned with the re­sources that were al­lo­cated to this plan.

“This has been ag­o­niz­ing, the amount of time, par­tic­u­larly pro­fes­sional staff time, that has been put into this and taken away from their reg­u­lar du­ties which was the ap­proved cap­i­tal bud­get,” Tay­lor said.

“Now I’m faced with telling my res­i­dents that three projects that were in the ap­proved cap­i­tal bud­get are not go­ing to be done this year be­cause staff re­sources re­ported on this, over, and over and over again.”

All three of the de­layed projects are for resur­fac­ing, such as a shave and pave on Park­way Drive as well as Cedar Springs Road, and in­ter­sec­tion im­prove­ments on Walker’s Line at No. 2 Sideroad that will be car­ried over to next year.

Burling­ton will fi­nance the pi­lot re­mark­ing through sav­ings found mostly by ten­der­ing the New Street and Drury Lane street re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion projects early in the sea­son, re­sult­ing in more com­pet­i­tive pric­ing.

Based on the city’s cy­cling data, New Street car­ries around 60 cy­clists daily in its cur­rent con­fig­u­ra­tion. The city hopes the new bike lane will in­crease that num­ber dra­mat­i­cally. The city says about 15,000 to 20,000 ve­hi­cles now use the road each day.

A rec­om­men­da­tion by staff on whether or not to make cy­cling in­fras­truc­ture on New Street per­ma­nent will come be­fore city coun­cil at the con­clu­sion of the one-year pi­lot.

JUSTIN GREAVES, BURLING­TON POST,

Coun­cil ap­proved spend­ing $210,000 on a pi­lot pro­ject for buffered bike lanes.

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