Bike Friendly campaigned hard for separated bike lanes on Cabana Road. Initially, the City proposed either a multi use trail or painted line sharrows. We fought for protected bike lanes even after city engineers advised that given all the driveways onto the road, separated bike lanes would be impossible.
We did our research and proved it could be done. We wrote and called city councillors and urged them to support the separated lanes. Despite opposition from some residents on the road, council approved the plan for separated lanes.
The following is from the Windsor Star, September 15, 2014, by Trevor Wilhelm
The city will spend nearly $4.3 million creating separated bike lanes on Cabana Road as part of an ambitious plan to have Windsor encircled by cycling paths.
The large majority of residents who appeared before council Monday night were in favour of the bike lanes in some form.
Lori Newton, with Bike Friendly Windsor-Essex, said the lanes will make Windsor healthier and more livable, and help put it in a league with other famously bike-friendly cities.
“Windsor has the climate and geography to become the Amsterdam of Canada,” she said.
“Sharing the road has been the plea of cyclists for decades.”
After hours of discussion that went late into the night Monday, councilors voted unanimously to widen Cabana Road from Northway Avenue to Walker Road in order to build bicycle lanes.
The project, which includes a half-metre buffer from motorized traffic along with physical barriers and increased turning capacity at certain intersections, will cost $4,290,000.
“It’s one of those projects that’s indicative of a modern city, a city that’s progressive and a city that we all want to live in,” said Ward 1 Coun. Drew Dilkens.
The recommendation from city staff also included asking the Ministry of Transportation to extend trail connections from the Herb Gray Parkway trail network, which is expected to be built next year, to the Northway Avenue area.
The initiative is part of a plan to complete the Windsor Loop, a 42.5 km stretch of bike paths circling the city. The Windsor Loop concept grew out of the Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP), which city council adopted in 2001. The loop connects the city around its perimeter, joining neighbourhoods and giving access to the Trans-Canada Trail.
Most of the Loop is in place with the exception of a few key segments. Cabana Road is a “vital” link, according to city staff.
Out of nine residents who spoke to council Monday night, Ward 1 candidate Denise Ghanam was the only person who opposed the bike lanes in any form. She said heavy traffic is a problem on Cabana, and it’s a waste of money to put in bike lanes before widening the road for motorized vehicles to ease traffic congestion.
Newton said that could be five or 10 years away.
“We can not wait to improve the health of our community that long,” she said.
Newton said fear of being hit by a car is the main reason people don’t use their bikes. The key, she said, is creating separated bike lanes on Windsor’s busiest roads.
“Build it and they will come,” she said.
Ward 9 council candidate Kieran McKenzie, who is favour of the bike lanes, echoed her comments. He said high traffic volumes on Cabana make it unsafe for cyclists.
“Anything less than a separated bike path will be a complete waste of money because I don’t think people will use it,” he said.
The staff-recommended plan included installing bollards on the bike paths. But after that idea drew sharp criticism from residents, Dilkens introduced a motion to have them removed from the project.
“It’s an absolutely disgusting thing that you are proposing,” Cabana Road resident David Allen said of the bollards.
He added the “ugly” bollards are will make residents feel like they have constructions zones in their front yards.
Cathy Archer was among several people who opposed the bollards but strongly supported creating the bike lanes.
“The improvements to Cabana Road are long overdue,” she said. “Basically, it’s a rural road in an urban setting.”