Councillors have voted to spend $1.6 million to put two-way bicycle lanes on Cannon Street, but some of them still have reservations.
The city’s general issues committee voted Wednesday to go ahead with the lanes from Sherman to Hess, which will be separated from traffic with a slender windrow.
Some councillors still had issues, namely the fact that there wasn’t more public engagement.
The citizen group Yes We Cannon consulted neighbourhood groups and businesses while gathering 2,500 names on a pro-bike lane petition. Citizens also gave input during a study group to look at making Cannon Street two way.
But Coun. Brad Clark of Stoney Creek says the city should have done some too.
“I understand the haste. I understand the excitement,” he said. “I do not understand ever jettisoning citizen engagement.”
Coun. Jason Farr of Ward 2 gave an emotional plea in favour of moving ahead with the project, saying it had gotten plenty of input.
“This is not Wal-Mart,” he said during the four-hour discussion. “This is not the Stoney Creek Recreation Centre. This is a stretch along the south side of Cannon Street that as it relates to today sees no parking.”
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Council voted last September to turn one lane of Cannon Street into bidirectional bike lanes. The cycling group pushed for Cannon street as an important east-west route across the centre of the city, one that allows cyclists an alternative to riding along Main or King Stretes. A new staff report says the city will spend $867,200 on capital costs to build the lanes. It will also spend $728,970 over three years to operate the lanes, including waste collection and snow removal.
The staff report, which the general issues committee will vote on Wednesday, estimates $598,000 to build the lanes. This includes a separator between car and bicycle traffic and traffic signals facing in both directions on the one-way street. The report builds in a 25-per cent contingency fund of $149,500.
Staff also estimate spending $242,990 per year — with a 10-per cent contingency fund — to operate the lanes.
The capital costs will come from Ward 2 and Ward 3 area rating budgets. Another $200,000 will come from a reserve set aside for red-light cameras.
The operating cost will come from a tax stabilization reserve in 2014 and become a general budget item in subsequent years.
Clark wasn’t alone in his concern over the need for more public engagement. Coun. Brenda Johnson of Ward 11 said the city should at least ask residents who live along the street.
“We could be missing something entirely, where if we knew it ahead of time, it wouldn’t have been a problem,” Johnson said.
Clark tried to include a 30-day public consultation period in the motion, but that failed in a 10-3 vote. The final vote to implement the bike lanes passed unanimously.
Council will vote to ratify the decision at a meeting on March 26.