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Tonight: review cycling options for Guelph Line east to Burloak

cycling-road dietDrop in to a Public Information Centre tonight to review options for increasing cycling infrastructure from Guelph Line to Burloak, including a boulevard path and road diet to accommodate on street bike lanes.

Date: May 24

Time: 6pm – 9pm (drop in style)

Location: Robert Bateman High School Cafeteria (5151 New Street)

Staff will be presenting these options along with public feedback to council, via a report first to the Development & Infrastructure Committee July 12, then to council July 18. Both meetings are public; residents can attend and speak by registering in advance: Register as a delegation

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.

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  1. James, Harry Truman popularized the phrase, “there are three kinds of lies–lies, damn lies, and statistics”. Just because you like the results doesn’t make them true.

  2. I think that the existence of the grassy boulevard provides an opportunity for a sort of “bike highway” almost its whole length, and all the way to Burloak. I see this as an opportunity for riders to get to almost anywhere in the east of Burlington, both to the north (say to QEW) and south (Lakeshore).

    Taking this idea further, doing this for other select east west roads, and select NS roads, I see the concept of a bigger “road” network for bikes, rather than trying to put bike lanes on every main road. Pick a selection of possibles, and think about a network that riders can get to and go longer distances for various purposes.

    Using this right of way makes more sense to me than putting more bikers on a major main road for cars, that seem only to increase in number no matter how optimistic one thinks about modal split in the future. Give riders their own roadway will encourage more riders in my view. Making it safer to ride by separation, only adds to this.

    We have rode bikes a lot for a long time, and I will tell you I would never ride on Plains Rd itself as an example near me. I think it’s too dangerous, and many people I know think the same.

    I’m all for bikers and cycling, and we should do what we need to to provide for it. It’s just maybe a good idea to think about it in a different way and the dedicated bike highway in the boulevard just makes sense.

  3. New Street is a major east-west artery for motor vehicle traffic. Reducing this to 3 lanes to accommodate a VERY SMALL MINORITY of cycling enthusiasts invites traffic chaos. Last year when at least one lane was removed for street reconstruction on the south side of New Street, traffic tie-ups and jams were frequent. I do believe that a paved cycling track on the grassy median is a suitable accommodation for cyclists.

    • Hi Phil, this isn’t about catering to a “very small minority of cycling enthusiasts”. This is about giving everyone more options to get around Burlington, including by biking and walking. This is about giving students and staff at Nelson and Robert Bateman more safe options to get to school. About giving people the option to safely bike to Appleby Mall or Roseland Plaza to run an errand. About making it safer to cross the street to get to the bus stop.

      I’d hope we can stop thinking of cyclists as some alien species or some small minority (surveys have consistently shown that the vast majority WILL consider cycling if they feel safe) and work together to build a better street that works for everyone.

      • James, what surveys? I have yet to see any surveys that pass “statistical validity” presented by the cycling lobby. To have validity, these surveys must pass 3 criteria–conducted by an independent/impartial researcher; the survey questions must allow for all sides of the debate and not exclude specific stakeholders; the surveys must be administered in a way that ensures randomness (ie–not online). Can you show me such data?

        • Sure, here’s one conducted by Angus Reid in the City of Toronto just a few weeks ago. I hope we can at least agree that they have the expertise to conduct a statistically valid survey.

          https://www.cycleto.ca/sites/default/files/Angus-Reid-Forum-Cycling-Poll-May-2016.pdf

          Among the highlights:
          – 86% strongly or mostly in favour of the idea of the safer cycling network
          – 68% strongly agree or agree the City of Toronto needs to create better bike infrastructure urgently
          – 64% strongly agree or agree with the statement “I wish I could ride my bicycle more often than I currently do”

          And here’s another one conducted by Stratcom, also a very reputable polling firm. On a province-wide basis, the results were very similar, with 69% of Ontarians indicating that they would prefer to cycle more often.

          http://www.sharetheroad.ca/files/SHARE_THE_ROAD_survey_summary_2013_v2.pdf

          • I would note first of all that NONE of this data was collected in Burlington/Halton. While Angus-Reid CAN be a good research firm, here’s what we don’t know–the SURVEY QUESTIONS. These can be structured in such a way as to create a pre-ordained result based on the way in which the questions are structured; this would be a particular concern given the organizations that Angus Reid did research for were PRO-CYCLING LOBBY GROUPS. These same concerns are even more pronounced for Statcom which is a COMMUNICATIONS FIRM whose mandate is to assist LOBBY GROUPS in getting their message out. Again, we don’t know the survey questions or how the survey was conducted.

          • Phil, I’ve presented two very high quality surveys; one from a nearby municipality and another that was done on a province-wide basis (undoubtedly including some residents from Halton region). I could show you many other surveys and polls that draw very similar conclusions, but I have a feeling that I would just be wasting my time. If it were not the sponsor of the poll, I’m sure you could find something else to criticize. Perhaps the sampling methodology, the geographic area, the demographics of the respondents, the polling agency, or one of many other factors. I have nothing further to add to this conversation and will leave the data to speak for itself.

What's your take?