Below is our letter to Councillors Bill Marra, Chris Holt, Hilary Payne, Fred Francis and Paul Borrelli in advance of the Standing Committee meeting 2/17/16.
“Bike Friendly will be a delegation on Wednesday evening regarding Reports CQ54-2015 and CQ62-2015. We are anxious to see interim safety measure put into place before the cycling season ramps up. Cycling is increasing dramatically in the city and we do not want to wait for a serious injury or death to spur action in the deadly ‘Dougall Death Trap’ area.
In the spirit of collaboration and open dialogue, I’m sharing our thoughts with you ahead of time for your consideration. Our first overriding concern is that Bike Friendly and the Windsor Bicycling Committee were once again not invited to provide input in the development of this report. We represent the vulnerable users of our roads and collectively bring extensive expertise in cycling infrastructure.
In regards to the report provided:
1. Paint. We are very concerned that the City of Windsor is not painting all bike lanes even once a year; not sure why there is a quote for lane painting twice annually? How can we ensure that at a minimum, we start painting all bike lanes annually? As for the Death Trap, we recommend narrowing the car lanes and adding a fully painted bike lane on both sides of the road for protection of cyclists while adding a buffer for pedestrians.
2. Markings: regarding insistence on keeping the HOV diamond for ‘provincial consistency’. Book 18 is a ‘flexible guidebook’ not a ‘rulebook’ – Windsor does not even provide consistent bike lane markings within the city as recommended in the BUMP; we encourage use of signage everyone will understand (i.e. directional arrow versus diamond or upside down bicycle).
3. Speed Limit: regarding speed limit reduction. “Motorists would not comply” is not a sound reason against. The speed limit is reduced to 50km/hr immediately after the Death Trap; we propose the 50km/hr be extended through the Death Trap from West Grand to Eugenie.
4. Banning Cyclists: regarding ‘discouraging cyclists and pedestrians from the area’. The suggestion of ‘infrastructural segregation’ by preventing some citizens from using a common roadway is socially unjust and as such contravenes Canada’s Human Rights Act. Cyclists are entitled to equitable access to our roads; the city is responsible for creating a safe environment for them. There is no reasonable alternative, and traversing the rail line corner on Howard is just as dangerous as the Death Trap.
5. Signage: regarding signage. We agree with Stantec, the sign sample provided would be ineffective but that doesn’t mean there isn’t effective signage that could be used (see sample below). Again, Book 18 is not a rulebook, it’s a guide. Let’s install signage that people will understand.
6. Signage: regarding resistance to installing cycling signage on streets because of ‘road geometrics’ “in accordance with Book 18” – this is again being inflexible in interpreting these guidelines (i.e. Longfellow, Randolph, et al). The County of Essex has far surpassed the City of Windsor in cycling infrastructure partly because their engineers use common sense, logic and flexibility when designing their roads.
7. Central Box EA: We note that the EA recommendations are expected in ‘early 2016’ which is now. Can we be more specific? While it would appear reasonable to wait for the EA recommendations, given our experience with similar scenarios at the City of Windsor, we believe it is unlikely that any measures would be put in place before late 2017 – two full cycling seasons before steps are taken to mitigate risk for pedestrians and cyclists using that area.
Our recommendations would not involve construction, rather we’re looking at paint and signage – and this could be implemented easily and inexpensively this spring.