Sandwich Street Reconstruction – Our comments on the draft plans

The City of Windsor has announced that 3 kilometres of Sandwich Street, from the intersection of Sandwich Street and Ojibway Parkway to the Rosedale Avenue roundabout, will be reconstructed.  The project will include new curbs, sidewalks, trails, pavement, bike lanes, and streetscaping features.  This project is thanks to The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and is part of the Bridge’s community benefits program.  You can find more information and project drawings HERE.

Bike Windsor Essex attended a virtual public information center (PIC) on September 3rd where the draft drawings for the project were presented.  We have sent our comments and recommendations to the project engineer, here they are: 

BIKE WINDSOR ESSEX COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT PLANS

SPEED LIMIT REDUCTION – Sandwich Street is a class II arterial road and a bus route. We recommend that the the speed limit from the roundabout to Brock Street be reduced to a maximum of 40km/h.  This will provide a measure of safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Although jaywalking is not legal, shoppers and pedestrians WILL dash across the street between intersections and slower speeds will decrease the number and severity of potential collisions between vehicles entering and exiting parking spaces and driveways. 

BIKE LANE PROTECTION – Bike Windsor Essex recommends protection for cyclists wherever possible, however, after a careful review of the right-of-way (ROW) issues between Detroit and Brock Street, we see that the installation of bollards, planters or other protections will not be feasible on this segment unless trees are removed and utilities are relocated.  Considering a 20m ROW width, an average distance between utilities of less than 15m, parking issues and number of driveways – we conclude that protection with bollards is not possible if reasonable bike lane and traffic lane widths are to be maintained.  

BIKE LANE STRIPES – We would like to see a stripe delineating BOTH sides of the bike lane, not just a single white line on the left side. Preferred would be 2 white stripes with a green paint fill. A single white line simply appears to be an extra wide parking spot.  The added stripe (and fill) will clearly define the bike lane and alert drivers parking between the curb and the bike lane to watch for cyclists before opening their doors into the bike lane.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NARROWING BUMP-OUTS – We understand this is the early design stage but it was mentioned in the PIC that all the curbs will stay as they are, that there were no plans to widen or narrow the street from the present profile. We have noticed there are a number of bump-outs within the BIA segment that could be narrowed slightly without the loss of trees or movement of utilities;

  • Bump-out on the west side of Sandwich St, just south of Mill Street could be reduced by at least a foot
  • Bump-out in front of the Dollarama mid block 
  • Bump-out on the east side just north of MacKenzie Hall 

The PIC documents indicate that a new curb will be extended running south from the bump-out just north of Mackenzie Hall to the Brock Street intersection, yet parking and a bus stop is also indicated in that same location.  Both the new curb and the parking/bus stop cannot be accommodated. 

BICYCLE PARKING – Add at least 1 on-street bike corral located in the street area adjacent to the curb within the BIA.  Any bike parking infrastructure must have the ability to lock both bicycle wheels.  Bike corrals can sometimes make use of on-street areas that are unsuitable for auto parking. When replacing a single auto parking space, a corral can generally fit 8 to 12 bicycles. Consider locations for added free standing post and ring or inverted U racks to space out bicycle parking options. Below are some examples of good individual bicycle parking options.

Below are some examples of poor bicycle parking options.

SHADE PROTECTION – Limit any tree removal (and increase plantings) as the shade they provide is vital to cyclists and pedestrians.

PRINCE ROAD INTERSECTION – Sandwich St. and Prince Rd. will become an intersection between 2 bike lanes. Located near Mic Mac Park, the Gordie Howe Bridge, the Herb Grey Trail and the Sandwich business district, it can be assumed that it may be a fairly high volume cycling corridor.  At present, this is a dangerous intersection for cyclists.  The bike lane striping ends well before the intersection and there is a continual issue with vehicles executing right turns on to Sandwich Street without being alert to cyclists on their right.

The drawings provided at the September 3rd PIC do not indicate how cyclists will be able to navigate from the north-east corner of Prince and Sandwich to the bike lanes on the west side of Sandwich Street. We recommend some directional paint on the pavement to illustrate to cyclists and vehicles where they should be as they make a turn.

CHAPPELL STREET INTERSECTION – We are pleased to see what may be Windsor’s first cross-rides included in this intersection but it is unclear how a cyclist should navigate from the bike lanes to the multiuse trail that begins/ends on the south-west corner.

The new Gordie Howe Bridge will include bike lanes, and we must provide a route for tourists and residents to access the shops, restaurants and services Sandwich has to offer. Bike lanes along Sandwich street will provide transportation choices and help to build a more people-centred neighborhood. Re-routing cyclists away from the commercial area will have a negative economic impact on an already struggling sector. 

We conclude that bike lanes are absolutely needed on Sandwich Street and the loss of some on street parking is warranted.

A couple of notes about this comment sheet:  1) how will most people be able to fill in a PDF and send it in easily?  Why not offer an on-line survey?   2) Sandwich street is a main north south artery and this reconstruction will affect anyone travelling along the street on the way to shopping school or work. This survey seems to be aimed only at property owners adjacent to the works.

Jennifer Escott
jescott100@gmail.com
2 Comments
  • Justin McAlpine
    Posted at 13:59h, 14 September Reply

    It is great to see the level of thought and research that has gone into this review.

    • Jennifer Escott
      Posted at 14:58h, 14 September Reply

      Thank you. We are working to stay on top of cycling infrastructure issues and to provide professional recommendations. It isn’t always easy as we don’t have access to any plans the city may have. We hope that thorough reviews like this one will encourage the cycling public to engage in community consultations and push the city to build infrastructure suited for more than just cars.

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