City hall forgets to use the words road diet or bike lanes in an announcement on the water main work to be done on New Street.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 3, 2017



Here we go again.

It is hard to believe how obtuse some of the people at City Hall can be.

A seven paragraph media release with the word pilot project slipped in but not one use of the work bike or the words road diet.

Here is what the city sent out.

“Water main work with Halton Region will begin on New Street between Dynes Road and Cumberland Avenue on March 7, resulting in lane closures and scheduled water service shutdowns. The construction is scheduled to be completed in May.

“The installation of a new water main between Guelph Line and Dynes Road began in October and November 2016. The work to install the rest of the water main between Dynes Road and Cumberland Avenue will start earlier than scheduled due to mild weather.

“Residents and businesses will be given 48 hours’ notice for scheduled water service shutdowns. Water main installation will include the replacement of curbs, gutters and the boulevard to restore any damage from the water main works.

“New Street between Walkers Line and Guelph Line is the site of a pilot project that began in August 2016 for all street users.

“Completing the water main installation in May will reduce the disruption to New Street into two shorter, two-month intervals rather than one six-month construction period originally planned for the spring and summer of 2017. This will allow for longer, uninterrupted traffic data collection.

“The city is collecting data, and will continue to collect data after the water main work is done and until the end of the summer to ensure the city has the data needed to assess the pilot. That information, along with travel times on nearby residential roads that run parallel to New Street, will be included in a recommendation report to Burlington City Council this fall.

“Creating more travel options for the community means thinking differently about how our city road network looks and functions. The one-year pilot on New Street is an example of how some existing roads in Burlington could be redesigned to give people more travel options to get around the city.”

One of the most contentious projects the city has decided to do – lessen the amount of road space for vehicular traffic on New Street and put in bicycle lanes. It was set up as a pilot project and public opinion views were all over the map.

It was so contentious that the Mayor couldn’t get some personal private time at the Y – residents kept approaching him to bend his ear.

In future they should take him by the ear out to the woodshed.

New street - as far as they eye can see

New water mains being laid down on New Street west of Guelph Line.

One of the reasons for doing the pilot project on dedicated bicycle lanes was because New Street was going to have significant water main work done and then a new layer of asphalt laid down – it was thought that would be a convenient time to install bicycle lanes and see how they worked.

To not even use the words “road diet” or bike or bicycle is sneaky and only adds to the cynicism over the way city hall works.  Do they think that by not using the words that people will forget?

Transparent – accountable – please!

Transit - Vito Tolone

Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation

They transportation department should be ashamed of themselves for letting this kind of media release get sent out. The close to 3000 people at have signed a petition have every reason to be angry – city hall has been exceedingly disrespectful

Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation is quoted as saying” “A lengthy and uninterrupted time-frame to collect all the data needed for the New Street pilot will be beneficial to staff when incorporating this information into our report to City Council.” He can’t say the words either.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 comments to City hall forgets to use the words road diet or bike lanes in an announcement on the water main work to be done on New Street.

  • Joe Gaetan

    One also must wonder if the city also found more extra money from some unknown underspent project to fund the extension of this wonderful project that is creating more travel options for us. Can a member of council please weigh-in and enlighten us on what these wonderful and mysterious travel option will be? If you are afraid to utter the words “road diet”, it’s time to find a new line of work.
    Also glad to hear “the city is collecting data, and will continue to collect data after the water main work is done and until the end of the summer to ensure the city has the data needed to assess the pilot”. Would council please give us their take in plain English on what this statement means to us as voters, commuters, cyclists.
    This non-announcement is about nothing, if we don’t get some straight answers soon, I think we all need to start “thinking differently” about who we vote for in the next election. We are not mushrooms and don’t appreciate being kept in the dark and fed horse manure, while the city collects more data.

  • Dave

    I’m not favouring one side of the road diet debate over the other here, but for the sake of keeping the facts straight, Mayor Goldring was in favour of the cycle track option beside the sidewalk, rather than the road diet, as was Councillor Sharman. There was a 5-2 vote for the road diet option at the July 12th D&I Committee meeting.

    It was at the final Council vote on July 18th that Mayor Goldring switched his vote, citing that it was clear the majority of councillors were going to vote for the road diet option. He knew he would have to defend the pilot project in the community and it would put him in a difficult situation trying to champion something he voted against. A diplomatic move I suppose, though I wonder if he regrets it now. July 18th Council video here: (1:24:00 mark)

    “In future they should take him by the ear out to the woodshed,” is inappropriate.

    If anyone has a beef about the road diet, your beef is with the 5 other Councillors and City Staff that recommended it. Though let’s keep in mind that they were only acting in what was, in their view, the best interests of residents – providing safer cycling options, balancing capital project priorities, and trying to keep the budgets (and hence your taxes) in line. These are not easy decisions. Many good points were made on both sides of Council debates (watch the videos from July 12th & 18th). Doing nothing is not an option; we need better cycling options in the city – to benefit both drivers and cyclists.

    I have no problem with people debating the issue, but let’s all try to make more of an effort to have a factual discussion (on this or any other issue). The City’s drive times for New St. are posted here: You can debate the numbers, but the data is currently showing a New Street travel time increase of 1 min. 12 sec. max. There’s also a FAQ list.

    No, I’m not affiliated with the City. I like to try to keep informed, and I also recognize that when people just whine and complain about everything and take uninformed potshots at our leaders it deters good people from running for office. Democracy is about more than just complaining. Try to keep informed before wading into the issue. Sure, use your voice when they’re wrong, but aim to get the facts straight first and try to maintain objectivity; make sure you’re also looking at the bigger picture and not just your own needs. And, give them kudos when they do something good…it does happen 🙂

    • Tom Muir


      I would add, and this is key as I recall, that the cycle path cost more than about $4 million, whereas the road diet cost less than about $400,000, as I recall.

      I suggest that for this stretch of road only, with no chance to make it a pilot – built is built – this likely was the decider.

      I myself did not support this option based on the cost. And I favor cycling, and have commented a great deal on these and Councilor Meed Ward’s newsletter pages.

      So, if we are going to have a commitment to cycling, or at least a test of it, I support the decision made for the lower cost option – kudos.

      Notwithstanding this, Council and City still has to deal with the resident blow-back, which is substantial, and won’t just go away.

      Another piece of information missing is the statistical distribution of drive times.

      Not just the average, but what is it half hour by half hour, through the day?

      I just know that the peak travel times are what pees people off.

      The average is not the appropriate number to use on its own.

      Worse, if the peaks are a lot different than the average, it is misleading.

      I can’t look at the city link right now – have to go – but you could do us all a favor and complete the information that you call for us to have for a factual discussion.

    • Jade Ed

      Way to go Dave – in command of all the facts. Unfortunately you fail to appreciate that it’s the data or rather absence of data that was used to justify the “road diet” in the first place that upset residents. Apparently the extremely sophisticated technology (blue-tooth wasn’t it?) used to collect the data to justify the project i.e. vast numbers of cyclists using the designated bike lane (in the good weather) is conveniently “unavailable” to collect the same data in the winter months. Just as well really, you could probably count the number of trips on 2 hands. As for the Mayor and his flip-flop maybe he should show some leadership for a change – in his own words he said that he changed his vote because “it was clear the majority of councillors were going to vote for the road diet option” Shut the front door! When the Burlington Cycling Advisory Committee have all members of council on their speed dial how would this be a surprise to him. If the Mayor of Burlington doesn’t have the courage of his convictions (unlike Councillor Sharman) then it’s time for him to go, preferably on his bike. Buh-bye

    • craig

      Wow those times hard to swallow I guess my 15 minute trip between Walkers and Guelph at 4:30 on Monday November 14th (last time I went near New street during rush hour) was an anomoly or cars have mostly switched to residential streets to avoid new street now? IS tht a data being captured anywhere as if pilot becomes permanent so will the increase traffic on surrounding residential streets become permanent I assume.

  • Lynn

    Sounds like they made a decision to never again utter the phrase “road diet”. Too late, we will always call it that while gritting our teeth and spiking our blood pressure.

  • Tom Muir

    This is what is called “alternative facts” in Burlington. Tolone and City must have got public relations to sanitize and homogenize his words.

    The words they use – “pilot project?” doesn’t even give readers a first clue as to what they mean.

    As Penny says – “partial news”.

    Strange but true.

  • Concerned Parent

    Hope the City has all the work done, data collected, and lines repainted in time for the possible addition of many school buses using New Street, should Central High School close. What I don’t understand is why have a bike lane Test on only one portion of New St – why would any cyclist use an alternate route (Lakeshore, Spruce or – heaven forbid – the actual bike path that crosses the city) then pop up to New St for that short a distance? How accurate will this data actually be? Is IPSOS overseeing this data collection too?

  • Penny

    My take on extending the PILOT PROJECT is to try to up the numbers of cyclists on the road in the good weather. Wouldn’t be surprised if the cyclists make certain they use this area during the summer months to skew the numbers.

    Why is everyone so surprised when the city only provides “partial news”?

    • CityBiker

      I make a point of riding my bike along new st now. Get an early start on skewing the numbers!

      • Jade Ed

        CityBiker – Please give us all the heads up next time you plan to ride your bike along New Street; residents will be out in force to count the number of cyclists using the on-road bike lanes – yep, pretty sure they can all count to one. Note: using disguises or other subterfuge will NOT skew the numbers – they’ll all know it’s you.

  • craig

    The fact they are continuing with this pilot depsite the huge amount of taxpayers/voters against it is an insult to all Burlington residents. The only one smiling is Paul Sharma as he was the only one smart enough to vote against the road diet. Wish the election was sooner.