,

Council considers widening New St for raised bike lanes for $2m

What New St  could look likeCity Council has asked staff to come back with additional details on costs, and voted 5-2 to refer any decision on bike lanes on New Street to the 2015 capital budget discussions.

New Street is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2015, for a cost of $825,000. Staff had recommended using this opportunity to add a painted bike lane on the north side (heading West) and sharrows on the south side, while maintaining two full travel lanes and a full centre turn lane of 3.1m each. Adding the bike lane and sharrows would not have added to the project cost.

Driving lanes of 3-3.1m already exist on several roads in Burlington where traffic volume is the same or higher than New Street. The chart here provides a comparison.

Widening the road to add raised bike lanes on both sides separated by a “roll-over” curb would increase the budget by $1.2m for a total project cost of $2m. This option would require tree removals, utility relocations and a new curb. Staff did not recommend this option as the additional costs are prohibitive and unbudgetted.

Extending these bike lanes to Burloak would cost roughly $8m.

This option will now be evaluated during discussions on the 2015 budget.

Tell council what you think

Council members would like to hear from you. Do you support the staff recommendation, the option to widen and add raised bike lanes, or some other option? Email them below.

Rick.Craven@burlington.ca
Marianne.MeedWard@burlington.ca
John.Taylor@burlington.ca
Jack.Dennison@burlington.ca
Paul.Sharman@burlington.ca
Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca
Rick.Goldring@burlington.ca

Resources:

Read the staff report with recommendation here – Item #3

Read the Burlington Post writeup here

My Take:

I supported the staff recommendation as a cost-effective win-win for all road users: drivers get standard lane widths for driving and turning; cyclists get a full bike path on one side. Supporting this option moves us forward in accommodating cyclists as we can afford it with all of the competing priorities for tax dollars.

I do not support widening New Street, taking down trees and removing greenspace. We can’t sacrifice greenspace in the name of green transportation.

Also, if we can come up with $1.2m (or $8m!) at the city (or the province or the federal government) I would direct the bulk of that to transit, trails and sidewalks (repairs, construction and snow clearing) which serve more residents, including those with no other transportation options, while advancing our goal to get people out of their cars.

I did not support the option to refer this matter to the 2015 budget. The deferral simply dodges council’s responsibility to make these tough funding decisions and show transparency in our priorities to residents.

We have all the information we need now to make a decision. We know what the various options for New Street bike lanes will cost, and we are well aware of our competing priorities for tax dollars.

Referring the decision also raises community expectations (or concerns, as the case may be) that the bike lanes will be built; sends staff on a time consuming errand to gather more data we don’t need; and potentially launches the community in a divisive conversation about cycling.

Council had a chance to move cycling forward by supporting the staff recommendation. We dropped the ball by failing to decide.

One voice on active transportation:

On another note, I’m disappointed that the city’s cycling advisory committee has stated they want no part in a potential active transportation citizen’s advisory committee to bring discussions about transit, cycling, trails and pedestrian improvements together. We won’t advance active transportation until residents work together on all forms of active transportation and recommend funding decisions accordingly. Discussing cycling lanes on New Street in the absence of a complete conversation on all active transportation priorities is making decisions in silos. When staff report back in the fall with potential terms of reference for an active transportation committee I will support folding cycling, transit and pedestrian priorities into one committee that will meet monthly, with subcommittees on each transportation area, and speak with one voice to council, instead of continuing with the current siloed discussions we are having now.

Your Take:

What’s your preferred option for bike lanes on New Street? Let me know at Marianne.MeedWard@burlington.ca or leave a comment online below.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

9 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. If we could get past the budget issue, there really is a once in 15 years opportunity, to put Burlington on the map for the beginning of a real cycle friendly community…..The East-West corridor connecting Burlington to Oakville for cyclists could well be started by the extra work and expense required in the section of New Street under discussion…..It would be interesting to determine exactly how many trees may have to re-located before calling the project an “environmental disaster”….I don’t think exactly those words have been used, but the message is pretty well the same…..So, if we can muster up the courage and build something really worthwhile on New Street, future generations will thank us….

  2. Widening the roads, remove trees, and move utilities does not seem to be an investment that the City (on behalf of all its taxpayers) should consider. The bike lane / road widening should have been decided before New St. went under construction for new watermains and subsequent budget approval for resurfacing.

    I don’t necessarily agree with making New St. 3 car lanes and one bike lane – but if there is going to be a decision on bike lanes on New St., the staff recommendation is the better option.

    One other option would be to create a dedicated bike lane strictly for the serious bikers on the bike path – that way no interference with walkers, runners, dogs, kids etc.

  3. I have carefully read all the comments as well as the staff report on this matter. I do not always agree with staff reports but in this case felt it was very balanced taking into consideration all the constituents and their needs. Bike riders do get at least one fully devoted bike lane to provide further ability
    to assess its effectiveness.. Also the option that would require widening, removing of tress and moving utilities seems totally excessive and not an investment that the City can or should even consider. To close I feel that council abdicated its responsibility in deferring this decision.

  4. Bike lane on New Street? Why, when we have a perfectly good, and easily accessible BIKE PATH less than a half a block to the south of New St.

  5. As a long time resident of Burlington, and a cyclist, I feel option 6 is the best option and in the future we would regret not getting it right, while the opportunity was there.

  6. Creating separated, raised cycling lanes all the way to Burloak would make New Street a safe, beautiful, linear cycling corridor. It would follow the best practices of communities like Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa, and give residents in Burlington a safe, effective option for commuting, short trips and recreational rides. It would make the road safer for all road users, and reduce incidences of speeding, as has been shown wherever a project like this has taken place. It would send a loud, clear message that Burlington is taking active steps to cater to the 18-34 generation who increasingly see car ownership as a burden, not a rite of passage, and who want to live, work, play and raise a family in a community where multi-modal transportation is more of an option. This is a true investment in Burlington’s future, and one that cannot be passed up. It’s time to move towards giving people more options in how they get around, and to make multi-modal transportation safe, efficient and effective within the city limits. Please show leadership on this file, and work to ensure that this piece of infrastructure works to try and build the city you would like to see in 20 years, not the one you’ve sen for the past 50.

  7. Agree…I don’t think that it makes sense to have a group of volunteers who meet 4 times a year responsible for making decisions about transit, pedestrian and cycling. Each of these areas on their own have a huge workload, and all are of critical importance in determining the future prosperity of the city. They need to be managed in a way that is fully accountable to citizens. Every project has to be looked at through an AT lens. I do agree with Marianne that the city’s priorities need to be set in a co-ordinated manner. That role is best served by an Active Transportation co-ordinator on staff. Kitchener has recently gone this route, and has made tremendous progress for all forms of active transportation. I hope that Councillor Meed-Ward along with her fellow council members will be vocal in support of this recommendation.

  8. I would suggest creating an Alternative transportation department. They would be heavilly involved in any and all road projects in the City of Burlington including regional projects, MTO projects, and city projects. They would also be involved in city events to ensure that there are appropriate options for alternative transportation, design new events aimed at encouraging alternative transportation as well as ensuring that businesses and schools have appropriate parking facilities. There are many goups, businesses and individuals that could benefit greatly from having a highly skilled, knowledgeable and creative Alternative Transportation department. The various City of Burlington Committees would operate individually but have a structure in place that allows for each of them to develop a broader understanding of issues and how there committee fits in. Also, please keep in mind that these committees are made up of volunteers. We take time out of our schedules, away from our families and friends. We are engaged and passionate about specific areas. Consolidation may free up a few staffing dollars but the city will lose the value of productive and engaged citizen volunteers.

  9. The Burlington Cycling Committee does support working with other Active and Alternative transportation groups as well as others in general. That is why we recently hosted a work shop on cycling infrastructure, participated in the development of the Trails Master Plan, participated in the development of the Transportation Master Plan, participate in the designing of the Dundas Street reconstruction, invite various city departments to our meetings and participate in many community events such as Car Free Sunday, bike to work day, Bike Fest etc.

    The Burlington Cycling Committee does not support its consolidation into another committee.

    Please visit the Cycling Committe website and fill out the survey.

    http://www.burlington.ca/cycling

What's your take?