London

Protected bike lanes on Dundas, King approved by council

A plan to build a protected bike lane along Dundas Street was approved by London city council at Monday's meeting, but it wasn't the option preferred by a local cycling group.

Plan means Dundas bike lane will be split through Old East Village

The Old East Village in London, Ont. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

A plan to build a protected bike lane along Dundas Street from downtown to Old East Village was approved by London city council at Monday's meeting, but it wasn't the option preferred by a local cycling group. 

The plan calls for a protected bikeway along Dundas extending east of Wellington Street. 

Council opted to follow a staff recommendation that the westbound portion of the bike lane jog north off Dundas and onto Queens Avenue through the heart of Old East Village, between Ontario and William streets.

Councillors on the civic works committee had recommended to defer the bike lane proposal back to staff, but council on Monday overturned that decision, opting instead to move ahead with the plan as is. 

Coun. Jesse Helmer, who lives in the area and whose Ward 4 includes Old East Village, argued against deferring. He said the current plan, while not perfect, is a good compromise given the limited width of Dundas.  

"We're trying to balance all the different modes that use the corridor and it's quite a constrained space," he said. "I believe the staff recommendation that's come forward is the best balance between those different things.

He also said adding a protected bike lane to Queens Avenue is a significant upgrade.

Coun. Shawn Lewis had voted at committee to send the plan back to staff, but last night opted to back the plan, saying it will create an immediate improvement for cyclists. 

"If we don't do something for cycling now, they may get nothing for potentially years to come," he said. 

​The Dundas bike lane will remove parking on the south side of the street in Old East Village, something business owners have said will hurt their bottom line. 

​King Street temporary bike lane to go ahead

Council also voted to back a plan to pay $600,000 for a temporary protected bike lane along the south curb of King Street from Ridout to Colbourne streets. 

Last month members of the civic works had committee voted to defer building the bike lane, citing the need to wait until decisions about transit in the corridor are clarified. 

But council reversed that last night, with many citing the need to make cycling safer on the busy street. 

The King Street bike lane will be temporary because King is due to be reworked as part of the proposed bus rapid transit plan.  

However, Coun. Stephen Turner said the need to make the street safer should trump concerns about spending the money for a temporary lane. He said King has become treacherous for cyclists since transit buses were diverted off Dundas.

"This was identified as very high risk for cycling," said Turner. "When we know of a risk, we have to take action to mitigate that risk."

Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen argued against funding the King Street bike lane, saying the loss of parking spots will hurt local businesses.

The move to defer the bike lane failed by a vote of seven to eight. Voting against the deferral were councillors Salih, Helmer, Cassidy, Morgan, Hopkins, Turner, Peloza and Kayabaga.  

Follow Andrew Lupton on Twitter for updates

About the Author

Andrew Lupton is a B.C.-born journalist, father of two and a north London resident with a passion for politics, photography and baseball.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.