Who is counting the cyclists on New Street - where will the evidence for the pilot study come from?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2016



The New Street bike lanes and the impact they are having on traffic.

Drove west on New Street Wednesday evening at just after 5:00 pm.

Had to come to a full stop at Dynes and Woodview – the stop didn’t last more than 15 seconds, not long enough for the blood pressure to rise.

Did not see a single cyclist on either side of the street on the trip west.

I doubled back and saw one cyclist on the south side of the street as I drove east.


Device that counts the number of cars that pass by – same thing can be used for bicycles.

What I didn’t see at all was those little boxes with a thick wire coming out of it to count the number of cars and or cyclists that pass and wondered ….

How is the city going to know if the pilot is a success or not if they don’t do constant counts?

Wasn’t the success of the pilot going to be based on evidence and not just the rants and raves of those who think the pilot was a travesty?

The pilot project was a decent idea – bu if data isn’t collected regularly – then it is just plain dumb.

Our poor Mayor at times feels he is being accosted by his peers at the Y where he exercises – they, according to the Mayor, gang up on him asking why the bike lanes were installed.

The time to gang up on the man is when ballots get cast in 2018.

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18 comments to Who is counting the cyclists on New Street – where will the evidence for the pilot study come from?

  • Marshall

    I’m one of the 1% bike riders and I don’t see the purpose in the present New St lanes. The Centennial bike path is very busy between Burloak and Martha. I ride my bike on it most mornings from April to December. I have not seen any bicycles on New Street. Perhaps it’s because it is only on a limited part of the road where the almost parallel Centennial path is the best. If I were to use New St, then I would want a continuous path from the east end to downtown. From Guelph Line to Brant St there are safer routes.

    Time and money should be spent to give us a safe route over the QEW; not to play with New St. Just imagine the confusion when the Fairview changes occur.

  • astheworldturns

    s/b Why were we not asked to vote on this

  • astheworldturns

    I agree with many of you here!! Yes – we must get out and vote – change!!

    “they ARE using”…I highly doubt that they are. I’m sure that it is simply a recommendation. City staff on a good day don’t know which is up. and I agree…How much more is this going to cost the tax payers…including those who drive CARS. Why are we all asked to vote on this!!!!!!!!!!! New system needed!!!!!! Our opinion counts. and transparency needed!!!!!!!

  • Steve

    One thing good about the road diet … I think our elected officials have finally done something to generate interest in local politics, and get people off their backsides to vote.

  • Jon

    I travel New street daily and I have seen numerous bikes on the sidewalk since the new lanes appeared and very few in the new lanes. It would seem to me that if cyclists are used to riding on the sidewalk then this is where they will stay.

  • Phillip Wooster

    According to the City’s Transportation Department, they are using “Gridsmart Technology” to gather the data. However, when we walked New Street from Guelph Line to Walker’s, we were unable to identify anything that looked like the technology. The transportation department has indicated that the raw data will be available to residents of Burlington; I can audit the accuracy of bicycle use at specific times collected by the City (digital photos of New Street are being randomly taken). I may be cynical but knowing that these pictures are being taken, I am predicting that the raw data will NOT be made available (likely a summary which cannot be audited).

  • Steve

    How will it be determined the number of cars who will now avoid New Street because of the choking off of car lanes, adding to the congestion of other major thoroughfares?

  • Julie wilson

    We are NOT a city in Europe, therefore it is a false equivalency to compare our car commuter based city to Copenhagen or Vaxjo. We are 160 square miles of strip malls, a small downtown, mixed density housing without an infrastructure to support the misguided “vision” our mayor and councillors have for this city.. Perhaps they should be listening to the taxpayers in this community or the taxpayers will have their say on the next Election Day.

  • Chris Ariens

    Not one of your best articles, Pepper. Did you ask anyone from the city what they are doing to measure? More investigative journalism and less supposition is required. I expect this kind of thing from Joan Little.

    At Tuesday’s (September 27) Cycling Committee meeting, the Transportation department shared an update on the New Street pilot.

    One of the recommendations we made to Council was to “measure everything”. I came away from this update encouraged that the city’s Staff are doing just that.

    They aren’t using the tubes in the road, because those are less effective. They are using Bluetooth technology to measure travel times and installing cameras that will count vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians 24/7 (including both the street and the sidewalks). They will be installing the tubes on parallel and side streets like Spruce to measure traffic impacts there. They are even having drones capture video of rush hour traffic. They are getting feedback from not only the public, but transit, police and emergency services to measure the impacts.

    Whatever your position on the New Street project, it is clear to me that staff are doing their utmost to capture all of the relevant metrics so that the City can make the most informed decision possible. I’d like to commend the Transportation department for doing an excellent job.

    • James

      If staff were truly doing their utmost to capture all of the relevant metrics, don’t you think they should have had all of this in place already? A recommendation to Council now to “measure everything” means nothing when the project is already underway and they are in fact measuring nothing. Now we’re talking about adding Bluetooth technology, cameras, tubes, and drones? How much more is this going to cost us?

  • astheworldturns

    and that we will do…cast our ballots in 2018…time for some changes at City Hall. Pilot did you say? No such thing. Just a term they use to make us think that they are counting, gathering information and giving us a say…where in fact, it’s always a fait accompli.

  • John

    The Mayor has one vote, just like our councilors.
    If,as you suggest, we should gang up on our politicians who voted for theses bike lanes in 2018, that would only leave one man standing, councilor Paul Sharman.
    Didn’t appear the street diet effected your trip on New Street.

  • James

    Who needs evidence when their minds are already made up? The bike lanes are clearly here to stay, and we will soon see that project extend to all the major east-west and north-south corridors. Even though the powers that be designed and built our city to be vehicle dependent, they seem to feel that jamming these bike lanes down our throats and making driving a car so unbearably frustrating will produce the bicycle and pedestrian friendly city they so desperately want. Meanwhile, despite this new shift in mentality, the physical layout of the city remains unchanged, with pockets of residential, pockets of commercial, and pockets of employment, none of which are in close proximity to each other for the majority of the residents. They’re going about this entirely the wrong way. Burlington is far from a dense urban mixed-use city, and until we are (and inevitably we will become that in the coming decades), they are just wasting money and creating unnecessary frustration. Build a bicycle friendly city first, THEN provide bike lanes. With a bicycle ridership of less than 1% of the current population and no indication that this number will rise significantly anytime soon, we’re clearly not there yet. They’re doing this backwards.

  • Stephen White

    One would think that before embarking on this so-called “Road Diet” project that the Transportation Department at City Hall would have put in place the requisite systems in order to conduct an impartial, objective and accurate assessment of both vehicular and rider usage. It is telling that they had the signs printed and erected in time but the necessary quantitative assessment tools are lacking.

    I have travelled New Street several times since this initiative was launched. I haven’t yet seen a single cyclist. Realistically though, the number of cyclists could double, triple or quadruple ….in the sum total of things it won’t make an iota of difference. This was a stupid plan from the “get-go”….a classic example of “Ready, shoot, aim”.

    Sorry to hear the Mayor is being accosted by his Share the Road buddies at the Y. It is a small taste of what he and the rest of Council can expect in the next municipal election.

  • Gareth Williams

    Not sure which type of counter the city is using but these ones claim to be “invisible”; the tubes/wires are more of a temporary measure


  • James Schofield

    Pepper, have you considered asking the city staff responsible for this project? There are many ways and varying technology available to count traffic – the rubber strip being only one of them.

  • resident

    Could a cyclist game the system by circling around and going over the counter a number of times to increase the number count? Since the bicycle count is small and bicycles are maneuverable the count could be easily rigged unless there is a person or a camera watching the counter. In my opinion a valid bicycle count requires a person with a counter.

  • Steve

    The mayor should be out riding his bike on his precious road diet (New Street) for exercise. At least someone would be using the bike lane.