When is an unpainted paved shoulder a bike lane?

When is an unpainted paved shoulder a bike lane?

Because we’re data nerds, when we heard the City would be spending $6.8M on cycling infrastructure we got all geeked out with excitement. But when we read the plans, mapped the plans and analyzed the plans, we had some questions. Questions we presented at the February 28th Windsor Bicycling Committee meeting.

We thought it was curious that the City planned to spend $1,429,000 of this cycling infrastructure budget on unmarked paved shoulders. That’s a lot of dinero and so we asked how adding paved shoulders to a city street – without any markings indicating it’s a bike lane – is considered cycling infrastructure. We were advised that they couldn’t paint bike lanes on the new shoulders because “they are for cars to pull over”.  Puzzling.

You may recall that City Administration supported City Council’s rejection of our plea to include bike lanes in Ouellette Avenue’s $5.6M refresh. They advised that Ouellette Avenue, although wide enough to accommodate bike lanes, isn’t in the Bicycle Use Master Plan, so cycling infrastructure was considered but rejected.  It was pointed out to us, numerous times, that the BUMP calls for McDougall to be the downtown cycling corridor. So we asked why McDougall isn’t included in the $6.8M cycling infrastructure spending plan. We were surprised when City Administration advised that McDougall isn’t wide enough and they’d have to remove parking. More puzzling.

We recommended, again, that one of the Windsor Bicycling Committee’s top 3 priorities for cycling infrastructure (and ours!) be included in the $6.8M plan. That is to link up bike lanes east and west of the Ambassador Bridge to connect the Riverfront trail. We didn’t get a response to our recommendation.

This led us to ask – how does the City plan spending on cycling infrastructure? What is the rational for choosing one project over another?  Can we not concentrate on making some connections with existing infrastructure?  Is there a vision that hasn’t been made public (even to the Bicycling Committee)?  We were advised that we can’t expect all these expenditures to only accommodate cyclists. Decisions, we were told, are made with recommendations from ‘others’. Who, we asked? ‘Others,’ we were told. So cycling infrastructure is planned without any consultation with the cycling community because, well, there are others?? Puzzling.

Our massive 2016 survey on cycling, tells us that bike lane connectivity is one of the main complaints of cyclists and wanna-be cyclists – second only to the complete lack of protected bike lanes. Our fractured patchwork infrastructure is keeping thousands of local cyclists from riding. So we believe it makes sense to take a second look at what may be the only large investment in cycling this city may make for many years.  Let’s spend our cycling infrastructure dollars on actual cycling infrastructure.

To learn more about the $6.8M cycling infrastructure spend, please check out our deep dive analysis and let your Councillor know that we need to do better than this. That the cycling community should be consulted when decisions are being made about cycling infrastructure spending.

Lori Newton
  • Courtney
    Posted at 20:26h, 24 May Reply

    What about linking up the riverside/sandwich trails to that random trail between black oaks and Ojibway, only accessible currently by the Ojibway parkway (imagine the herb gray connecting to the river) or a pretty considerable detour up matchette (which is also skkkketch to be noted). That trail currently is not linked up all the way to Morton and is pretty much the new death trap for anyone commuting/trying to get to the county through lasalle. I cycle a lot and have honestly ‘just gotten used to it’ but this is an absurd failure to give a fuck about any purpose that a trail might have. My god, who hurt dilkins so bad that he refuses to do anything about cycling and for some reason is a ok with every other competitive sport and the amount of tourism it will bring. I shoulda went on that stupid mayor walk gahhh, sorry for the rant. Tried to commute the easy 6km to my new job and almost died a few times. Might literally have to get a second car. Big middle fingers to those actively obstructing me or anyone from going anywhere I fucking want to on my bike.

    • Lori Newton
      Posted at 21:53h, 24 May Reply

      We feel your pain! But we also feel we’re actually beginning to gain some momentum and broader community support. With the bike lane approved on the new bridge crossing there will be a whole new focus on the very area you’re talking about – Ojibway, Matchette, etc. Work with us, come to our first Tuesday meet up, come ride with us and let off steam! Do not give up!

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