Bike lane with barrier on Cabana Road 'good first step,' says cycling group
'They're definitely an important tool in the toolbox'
A Windsor cycling group is celebrating the creation of a bike lane with some physical barriers protecting riders from motor-vehicle traffic.
A small stretch of the bike lane on Cabana Road near Howard Avenue is now equipped with flex posts or bollards.
"Flexi-post bollards are a great idea. They certainly give people driving cars a visual reminder to watch for vulnerable road users," said Lori Newton, executive director of Bike Windsor-Essex.
"But also we know that those bollards will slow traffic down, and we've heard from residents who cycle who say they're noticing traffic is slowing down."
It is the first such lane — with barriers of any sort — in the city and is part of a $10,000 pilot project.
Stop blocking the bike lane
Jeff Hagan, the city's transportation planning senior engineer, said while the city has painted bike lanes in several areas, this project takes the infrastructure a step further.
The posts will deter cars and trucks from pulling over into the bike lane, something Hagan said happens in this area a lot, in part because it is so close to Roseland Public School.
"We have had issues there in the past, with vehicles pulling over on Cabana, typically to pick up and drop off students," he said.
"It was creating an issue for cyclists; it was blocking the bike lane."
And while the posts may deter vehicles from purposely stopping, they don't protect cyclists in the event of an accident.
It's clear that it hasn't been a priority for the city.— Lori Newton, Bike Windsor-Essex
"They won't actually prevent a car or a truck from going into the bike lane," Newton said.
"They're also sporadically placed so that in some areas, a car or a truck could still pull in and park in the bike lane. We know that's happening in the city."
More cyclists everywhere
Newton said the number of cyclists is increasing everywhere, but outside the city it has been more of a priority.
"There's been a dramatic increase in cycling in the city and in the county. The county has risen and met the desire of their residents for safe cycling spaces, so there's a lot more infrastructure that's keeping cyclists safer across the county," she said.
"It's clear that it hasn't been a priority for the city."
Newton also said the city needs to invest in snow-clearing equipment designed for the bike lanes so the flex-posts can be there year-round.
"In Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary, they're all clearing bike lanes, so we should be able to do it here in Windsor as well," she said.
"To take that little bit of protection away, I think is not something we'd like to see. We'll be campaigning hard for that to continue all year long."
Hagan said while those posts need to be removed on Cabana, that won't be the case with other projects in other areas.
"In other locations where we're able to do it, we would want to provide something wider," he said.
"A wider bike lane that can get small plows down it to clear the bike lane itself."
More to do
Hagan said the city's active transportation plan will continue to bring new projects like this one, all part of a goal to increase cycling in Windsor.
Finally! We're giving thanks for the <a href="https://twitter.com/CityWindsorON?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CityWindsorON</a> 's first bollard protected bike lane - on Cabana Road. Residents report car drivers slowing in the area. <a href="https://t.co/fdM1dhAa7j">pic.twitter.com/fdM1dhAa7j</a>—@WEBikeKitchen
"Protected bike lanes and other similar things like cycle tracks are an important component of that plan," he said.
"They're definitely an important tool in the toolbox. There are a number of locations where we're going to be doing similar things in the city."
Newton said she is happy about this development, but that more needs to be done.
"Windsor now has climate change aspirations to be better. Cycling and walking and encouraging active transportation is a huge piece of that, and the city needs to step up," she said.
"This is a good first step on Cabana Road. We're delighted to see it. We have to do a lot more."
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With files from Chris Ensing