Bike lanes on New Street - They won't be cheap - but they can be safe and the citizens of the city deserve no less.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 25, 2016


The bike lobbyists have made their mark and cycling lanes are now real and most of the people behind the wheel of a car have come to realize that they are going to have to share the road. Finally!

New Street bike lanes - long pic

New Street is a major street in the city – putting safe separate bike lanes on it makes sense.

Now – what kind of bike lanes?

Public safety and cost will be the considerations. The car still prevails in this city and it will be difficult for this council to spend the dollars for what is really needed – and that is a bike lane that is separate from traffic.

When people are out cycling they should not be in any fear at all for their lives.

Most of New Street can accommodate a bike lane that is off the roadway and completely safe for younger people who are not yet completely confident on their bikes, a place where seniors who might wobble a bit will not have to fear that they will slip into passing traffic.

Bike lanes - Dennison + Mayors millennials +

Councillor Jack Dennison, on the right, with members of the Mayor’s Millennial advisory committee in th background talks to a resident about the bike lanes. Little doubt where Dennison is on bike lanes – will he go along with the completely safe and separate lanes.

City council will probably go along with bike lanes – something they couldn’t muster the courage to do when the debate was over putting in dedicated bike lanes on Lakeshore Road. The Mayor was for the idea when it was being debated at standing committee but lost the courage he had when it got to city council.

There were some pretty simplistic and quite frankly stupid arguments put forward at the time by people who should have known better.

Citizens should not expect their city council to make this happen – it is going to be up to the cycling lobby to show up in force as delegations and for the members of the Mayor’s new millennial advisory committee to say – enough – get on with it and do the right thing.

It is pretty clear that there is an appetite for bike lanes on New Street – what kind is the issue.

The price tag for the right kind of bike lane comes in at $3.96 million – not cheap but worth the price when you think of the parent that will be racked with fear when they hear on the radio that a child on a bike has been struck by a passing pickup truck that had wide mirrors – and they have children that use their bikes.

We are stick with cars for some time yet – the Mayor recently said that New Street is the street he drives on most in the city. Council needs to make sure that the bike lanes  put in are the safest possible.

That isn’t going to be easy with price tags that range between $3.96 million to $940,000 and a low figure of $250,000 for the different options.

You will hear people talk about the $3.96 million being a Cadillac version – it isn’t – it is the safest version.

New street north side at Bateman Hs

This sidewalk – North side of New Street looking east from Robert Bateman high school as made for bike lanes.

New street south side single lane ay Bateman

South side of New street doesn’t have the same width – but the potential is there to widen.

Bob Jerk, one of the city engineers explained to this reporter that in parts of the city the space already exists – “Right outside this high school, which I attended” he said.

The pictures are worth a thousand words.

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6 comments to Bike lanes on New Street – They won’t be cheap – but they can be safe and the citizens of the city deserve no less.

  • Shannon Gillies

    I’m looking forward to progress on this. Currently, I’m trying to figure out how to ditch my car for the summer and get to my job in north Oakville through a combination of cycling and bus travel, and I can tell you, it’s not easy! And it SHOULD be easy. But our cycling lanes/paths tend to come to abrupt stops in the most inconvenient and dangerous places and the lack of linkage between Burlington’s and Oakville’s transit systems makes travel between the two municipalities far from seamless.

    Now that planning a route is on my mind, I’ve been looking closely at Oakville’s network of bike baths and they are fantastic. On Upper Middle Road in north Oakville, they have a beautiful path that runs alongside the sidewalk. It’s safe for all types of cyclists to use. There’s also an excellent, safe path on Dundas St. Imagine how crazy it would’ve seemed 15 years ago to talk about cycling on Dundas. This is how smart city planning evolves and progresses.

    Burlington lacks some political will when it comes to building safe cycling infrastructure. Ask three people and one of them will give you the argument, “We’re not Copenhagen. No one cycles in Burlington!” We don’t cycle because it’s not safe. Every time the subject comes up, you get this circular argument.

    Residents WILL cycle, especially the younger generations (who are giving up on cars more than ever) if we make it convenient and safe for them to do so. So much evidence is out there that points to this.

  • Resident

    It seems to me that the travelling (non-Burlington) bicycle group will still use the road so they can go faster even if there are segregated bicycle lanes. If city council votes for the safety option, can we pass a law that cyclists must use the lanes installed specially for them, not share the road?

  • Karen Newman

    my issue with bike riders…or the spandex crowd is exactly that..they are full of self entitlement and ride as a crowd. Single file people – just like the cars. That’s the problem. They like to ride 2-3 wide and this is extremely dangerous…they are the first ones that will accuse the driver if they are accidently hit. Can’t have it all people!!

  • DowntownBurlingtonian

    We already have a SAFE bike path that travels east-west, within a few hundred meters of New Street. That’s perfect for seniors and children
    We should go with the cheapest option possible for New Street, or put a new municipal tax on spandex riding suits.

  • MrBean

    No matter what type of bike lanes are constructed, will still need to yeild to vehicles entering and exiting driveways. Hopefully we can build some safe sidewalks and trails for the majority of our population that walks instead of riding a bike.

  • Joe

    Hi Resident,

    You wrote,

    “It seems to me that the travelling (non-Burlington) bicycle group will still use the road so they can go faster even if there are segregated bicycle lanes. If city council votes for the safety option, can we pass a law that cyclists must use the lanes installed specially for them, not share the road?”

    If you are driving on the highway with 2 or more individuals, are you forced to use the HOV lane? Why can’t we have multiple options available for cyclists, and they chose what works best for them – the same thing cars do whenever they drive?

    Perhaps those fast-moving bicycle groups will always prefer taking up more of the road – which they are 100% entitled to do – and the slower, solitary cyclist will feel nice and safe, nestled in their new bike lane.