That diet the city put New Street on appears to be getting complicated.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

October 10th, 2016



New Street is taking on mythological features – one of those things that happened and no one can really explain why.

It seemed like a good idea at the time – then “things” got in the way.

The Pier – that story is now part of the folk lore of the city – an expensive bit of our history.

Now we are asking the same kind of questions about the “road diet” New Street was put on.

Bike lanes - New street

The road diet is the lane pattern on the right.

It was to be a pilot project to find out if cyclists would actually use a main thoroughfare and what reducing the number of lanes of vehicular traffic would have on the flow of cars.

The price wasn’t bad – $210,000.  It seemed like an idea worth pursuing.

Then the different interests got into the game – the cyclists, who were well informed and well connected at city hall, kept putting out what appeared to be solid information.

They were opposed by those who will enter the Pearly Gates behind the wheel of their cars.

It was difficult to get a civil dialogue going and the city didn’t help. To the best of our knowledge they didn’t issue one media release.

There is some information on the city web site where the statement is made that: “Currently, 60 cyclists a day use New Street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line.” That does not square with anecdotal evidence.

To date there does not appear to be anything in the way of measuring equipment in place on New Street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line to determine if just what the flows of traffic are at different times of each day.

The cyclists report that in a meeting they had with the city’s Transportation department there was detailed discussion about the technology to be used to measure traffic flows.

But nothing in the way of a media release from the city.

We then learn that parts of New Street are under repairs – something to do with grates in the road which apparently is going to limit usage by cyclists.


Road construction is taking place while a pilot program is underway?

Did one department not talk to another?

New Street is a road managed by the Region. The people in Burlington’s Transportation department are in touch with the Region daily.

James Ridge, the city manager, created a Leadership Team that meets once a week to go over what is being done and the status of the various projects. Every Director and Executive Director is reported to take part in those weekly meetings. A pretty good way to manage a city.

Did someone in one of those Leadership Team meetings not mention that the Region was going to be doing some work in the gutters of New Street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line?

Apparently not.

Transparency and accountability fit into this scenario somewhere. When do we send in the clowns?

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20 comments to That diet the city put New Street on appears to be getting complicated.


    In a span of less than 24 hours, there were 18 reported collisions involving 20 pedestrians and cyclists

    “Of Monday’s 20 reported victims, nine were cyclists and 11 were pedestrians.”

  • Hans

    I have avoided driving on New Street since the loss of the car lanes (let’s not use euphemisms for it). It’s just not worth the risk.

  • 41 people have been seriously hurt or killed cycling or walking in Toronto so far this year

    “Drivers hit cyclists and pedestrians with alarming frequency in Toronto. A staggering 879 pedestrians and 412 cyclists were hit by cars from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2016. That’s nearly five pedestrians and two cyclists per day. Still, 2015 was even worse: in the first half of the year, 979 pedestrians and 358 cyclists were hit by cars.”

  • Simone

    What puzzles me is, that parallel to this stretch of New St. (a few metres away), is a wonderful paved bike path, that I would prefer to take rather than riding on New St.

    Why did this pilot not occur in an area without an existing bike path? I think perhaps this is where the 60 cyclists were found. Although to be honest, (I cycle & drive), I haven’t seen 60 a day on this path.

    Meanwhile, there is increased traffic from dump trucks & heavy machinery along secondary residential routes such as Rexway Dr.& Prospect St, so the truckers can avoid narrow lanes & create potholes more potholes for the city to fill (they are now fixing Rexway).

    Lastly, 60 cyclists per day, is a statistic I doubt can be found during the cold winter months, when cyclists surely don’t want to be sprayed with slush, as both cyclists & drivers navigate an even narrower route with snowbanks in place.

    One last thought, if the City is so cycle-friendly, why not invest in using the easement they own along the many grassy boulevards that are available to create a safe bike lane? Of course the quick cheap fix is to paint a few chevrons & say that you did something.

    Please however, do check to see where existing bike lanes are, so there is no further redundant duplication created as seen with New St & the Hydro corridor bike path.

  • Geoge

    It was just a pilot project to see how many bikes use it? Then why would the City do this at the end of summer, wouldn’t you want to do this in the spring. Time for a change, the city needs a new Mayor, and Council members, get out the old diaper people and vote for young people. This City hasn’t a clue what their doing.

  • Steve

    It just doesn’t make sense what the city has done. Elected officials, please end this nonsense and return the road to two lanes before someone gets killed. Put the bikes on a wider sidewalk.

  • G. Lacie

    Note to “astheworldturns”…
    Couldn’t agree more!!! It’s about time voters tuned into this self serving nonsense.
    About time some of her kool-aid drinkers took an antidote.
    By the way, I seem to recall that Paul Sharman actually voted against this insane initiative.

  • Stephen White

    Over and above the dubious value of this entire project is the unmistakeable fact that it points to the differential input that various groups and organizations had into this project.

    Clearly, the overwhelming majority of ratepayers did not support this initiative and that was made obvious prior to the July vote. Despite this, the Mayor and most of Council went ahead and supported it anyway. The Cycling Committee and the folks from Share the Road wanted it, and their vocal support for this measure ensured its passage. The rest of the City now gets to live with the consequences, including a project that is badly designed, bike lanes that won’t be used six months of the year, and a communication process that is sadly lacking.

    The Cycling Committee is no longer a consultative or educational forum but rather, an advocacy group for cycling and cyclists. This raises bigger questions. 1) Where is the consultative forum in this City for pedestrians, or motorists, etc.? 2) Why is it that one group or one entity has a disproportionate input into the decision-making process? and 3) Where is the Committee to discuss the broader isssue of traffic congstion in Burlington?

    Not only does the Cycling Committee have a Councillor attending their meetings (i.e. Jack Dennison), but they also have attendees from City Hall who seem hell bent on promoting bike lanes regardless of the expense or consequences. Read the Minutes of their meetings and it becomes evident that there is information shared with the Committee that the average citizen is not privy to. Fair? Hardly.

    As a taxpayer I bitterly resent subsidizing advoacy groups. Advocacy groups should not have exclusive, privileged or special access to decision makers, and clearly in this process they did. Education is one thing, advocacy is completely different. (N.B. Read the July 19th Minutes of the Cycling Committee (page 1) and the Chair is admonishing members not to indulge in advcoacy).

    As part of the many changes at City Hall it’s time to seriously re-think consultative and advisory committees, and this is one group that should be disbanded post haste.

  • astheworldturns

    Dear Editor: Do the councilors receive your online paper?

    Editor’s note” People don’t “receive” the Gazette – if they want to read it – they log in. Many do but there are at least two that do not.

  • Oxy Moron

    Just a matter of time until the road diet becomes a “crash diet”.

  • Also to my eye the lines don’t seem compatible with Ontario’s safe passing law that requires a 1m buffer. The 12 million dollar winding of plains road to accommodate two 1 foot cycle buffers does not either. Soon we will be tearing it up again to accommodate the 1m provincial standard.

  • Steve

    Time to vote out the loons who started this idiocy in the first place.

  • JQ Public

    I drove New Street recently. Centre turning lane looked very narrow to me, certainly much narrower than the driving lanes. Not sure one the big pickups with extra wide mirrors that are so common to suburbanites today would fit in the turning lane. Is this lane more dangerous than helpful?

  • astheworldturns

    Meed Ward writes in her news letter…”how I supported the New St lane change and how your input makes a difference”. What a load of CRAP!!!

  • G. Lacie

    Are any of the Bozos in Council (or the City staff for that matter) aware of the paved pedestrian and cyclist pathway that extends from Martha Street downtown to Burloak??

  • StoneyCanuk

    Lack of communication between interested parties seems to run rampant. We have the School Boards not talikng to the City and now we departments not talking to each other!

    I agree with the majority that narrowing New Street to accomodate cycle paths will cause congestion on what is a main downtown thoroughfare. I do walk and occassionally cycle around the City and I find it relatively easy. However, one solution is where needed is to replace the grass verges with cycle pathways.

  • Mark Gillies

    Well said Albert & Dee Gee. I couldn’t agree more with your statements.

    Personally, I am now having trouble, like so many others, just trying to safely make a left hand turn on to New Street from any of these side streets. Taking two lanes of traffic each way and then forcing them into a single lane each way makes New Street so much more congested, and the only way to access New Street safely is to install traffic lights at these intersections. I doubt if that will ever happen until a few of us taxpayers are killed trying to make a safe left hand turn.

    By the way, if you go just north of New Street a few feet, there is a beautiful wide bike path located under the hydro lines that cyclists of all ages are smart enough to use to safely travel and they have completely avoided the very dangerous New Street bicycle lanes. The alternative choice is south of New Street and to use the bicycle lanes on Spruce Avenue. The traffic is much slower, especially now that speed bumps have been installed, and these lanes are used by the cyclists.

    This unpopular road diet appears to be a disaster and should be terminated ASAP.

  • Glenda D

    And then winter comes and how many cyclists will be using the bike lanes during snow days???? And when it’s raining, last time I travelled New Street on a rain day I saw – two – on my whole trip to & from, two cyclists.

  • Albert

    What we have now is a one lane system for cars which are constantly gridlocked, a lane which automatically throws motorists into a turn lane resulting in cars frantically trying to squeeze into a tight one lane of traffic and an empty bike lane while cyclists are whizzing by on the sidewalk! Total frustration for the motorists and frustration for the taxpayers who are shelling out for something we didn’t need. If there are 60 bikes each day using that stretch (and this is disputed) then how many motorists using that same stretch are being seriously inconvenienced for the benefit of the few. Give us back our lanes!

  • Dee Gee

    The clowns were sent in at the last municipal election. Time for wholesale change. Many of these clowns were part of the dysfunctional council that Mayor Cam Jackson inherited. There haven’t been any upgrades since.