City to consult public on $4.8M separate bike lane plan before vote
Windsor City Council has voted to have one more public discussion with residents living on Cabana Road about separated bike lanes before giving the project the green light.
Councillors were supposed to vote on the bike lane plan, which would run roughly 5.5 kilometres from Huron Church all the way to Walker Road, Monday night, until one woman living on the street asked for a deferral.
"There was a public meeting in March and the residents were invited and saw some potential deigns for the bike ways and it was just recently that I received the report for council which showed a completely different concept," said Margaret Williams.
She said the plan to put up barriers and build wider lanes was never brought up at that meeting.
"There are a lot of residents on Cabana, many of whom would not have heard about this and I just think it's only democratic that the residents have as much input as the bike riders," said Williams.
Williams said she's not against the separated bike lanes, but she does have some concerns such as snow clearing in the area.
She also said homes on Cabana Road have shorter driveways, which will make driving onto or out more difficult with the path and barriers in place.
Council did not decide on a date to hold the meeting or bring the plan back for a final vote of approval.
The City is headed toward a "lame duck" council on Sep. 12, 2014, which means all major projects must be put before council before that date.
Separated lanes are safer, says bike mechanic
The estimated cost of the project is close to $4.3 million, plus tax. The total would be more than $4.8 after tax.
Local bike mechanic Oliver Swainson, who is a member of Bike Friendly Windsor-Essex, thinks that's a good investment.
"As opposed to the traditional bike lane with a simple painted line which can be easily invaded by cars, a separated bike lane actually has a curb or barrier between the traffic and the rider," he explained.
Swainson says having a barrier between cyclists and vehicles would be safer for cyclists.
A separate lane would provide a continuous stretch of bike lanes, which he says is hard to find in the city.
"Along those safe cycling areas, it's quite nice. However when you get to the areas where there are no bike lanes, it's a different story all together," he said.
City staff recommend the separate lane
The Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP) of 2001 calls for a "Windsor Loop," a 42.5-km circular loop of bike-friendly paths, trails and roads.
In a report headed to council Monday night, staff say the separate bike lanes are "a vital link in the completion of the Windsor Loop."
Coun. Hilary Payne likes the idea.
"It means a major step forward for alternative transportation for the city," he said. "And a major assist in improving the health of the community ad environmentally friendly. There's no carbon footprint"
A conventional bike lane is about 1.5 metres wide but only a painted line divides it from the traffic lane. Separated bike lanes use a concrete buffer or bollards, short posts, to diver traffic from the bike lane.
The city estimates it will cost an additional $8,800 annually to keep the separated bike paths clear of snow.