I was profoundly disappointed to learn that city council had decided to back pedal on their decision to build a separated two way bike lane on High Street, deciding instead to proceed with traffic calming measures and a neighborhood bike way that is not separated from car traffic.
I live one steep block up from High Street and my family drives and bikes along High Street daily. When I heard of council’s original decision to build a separated bike lane on High Street I was so pleased. The change to one-way traffic for cars would likely have inconvenienced my family slightly but in my opinion the benefits of having access to a safe, separated bike lane far outweighed any negatives.
My young children are just starting to gain what I hope will be a lifelong love for cycling. On any given day on High Street you may see my three-year-old working on his speed and balance on his run bike or my five-year-old pedaling fast and getting the hang of her new hand breaks. Currently we ride on the sidewalk, and without a separated bike lane that is likely where we will stay.
Council’s decision to proceed with a neighbourhood bike way and traffic calming measures do not provide the same level of safety as a separated bike lane, especially for young children. It is my understanding the traffic calming measures being looked at include more speed bumps, which are difficult for young children to cycle over and also provide issues for tag-along bikes and bike trailers, and lower speed limits, which will be difficult to enforce.
I am looking forward to seeing what the measures look like and sincerely hope council will follow through with their commitment to review the program in one year and if the highest level of safety for cyclists is not achieved move forward with establishing a dedicated bike lane.
E-bikes have made cycling accessible to many even in a hilly city like ours and bike infrastructure needs to improve to meet that increased demand. As the main source of funding for road building and maintenance is property taxes, which all homeowners pay, I would like to see more infrastructure devoted to the needs of cyclists.
In the future I hope we see more bike lanes and changes to improve safety for cyclists along well used corridors like the Big Orange Bridge and the hospital route across Fairview and Uphill.