NB: As a candidate for Deputy Mayor in the upcoming municipal election, I receive questions from residents about my stand on various issues and policies. I will post my responses here for everyone to read. My responses are in italics, below.
Looking forward to your review & response to enclosed questions to understand your level of support to improve cycling infrastructure in Collingwood that you will provide if elected in the upcoming election.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and respond to your questions. As a bit of background, when I was on council (2003-2014) I advocated for and championed alternate transit, spoke up for dedicated bicycle lanes and ‘sharrows’ on side streets, requested three-metre sidewalks for shared use (such as were installed on the north side of First St), and requested a change in the sidewalk bylaw to permit riding on the wider sidewalks. I also supported the installation of roundabouts for traffic calming on Poplar Sideroad and the proposed one at High and Sixth Streets. I spoke with the clerk’s bylaw staff about prohibiting parking in marked bicycle lanes along Ontario Street and the liability that parking presented to the town.
I also advocated for mandatory bicycle racks and dedicated bicycle (and pedestrian) lanes in all new commercial developments and malls within the town’s urban design guidelines. Plus I asked for a report on more upscale bicycle locking and storage devices downtown (I saw a presentation on a vertical storage unit that seemed appropriate).
My wife and I bicycle around town in the clement weather. Although we are not sport cyclists, we like to ride the local trails and sideroads for short (10-20km) trips to the waterfront, our parks and other communities. We are both aware of many of the issues that face cyclists including traffic and streets not designed for shared transportation.
Given the growing interest in cycling in the region, both among residents and as a tourist/visitor attraction, it is appropriate to create a regional committee with members of all local councils, staff and the cycling community to collaboratively examine challenges and opportunities. I support a regional cycling strategy where common standards and priorities are adopted by all local municipalities.
- 1. Given the amount of cycle traffic, regular vehicle traffic, and agricultural equipment traffic on Mountain Road between GR19/21 & High Street would you support paving this road, including paved shoulders?
- 2. Given the amount of cycle traffic, regular vehicle traffic, heavy truck traffic and agricultural equipment traffic on 10th line between Mountain Rd – Sixth St would you support paving this road, including paved shoulders?
- 3. Given the amount of cycle traffic, regular vehicle traffic, heavy truck traffic and agricultural equipment traffic on High St. between Mountain Rd – Popular SR would you support paving this road, including paved shoulders?
- 4. The above 3 roads are examples of roads highly used by cyclists. Will you support a strategic plan of cycling routes that as road resurfacing or upgrades are required that pavement and paved shoulders are seriously considered for our municipal roads?
- 5. Will you support traffic calming measures some of which are centre line and paved shoulder lines on urban streets identified as popular to cyclists?
- 6. What other ideas do you have to help promote co-existence between cyclists and other vehicles?
South Georgian Bay Cycling Coalition / Collingwood Cycling Club
ANSWER: I believe your description includes some roads outside Collingwood’s borders and I can’t speak for them or their municipalities because the town has no jurisdiction over them. I also believe most are already paved, although not with paved shoulders and some many need resurfacing or upgrades.
Regional cooperation and collaboration is the key to making this a success. However, for Collingwood roads and streets, I support your initiatives. Public safety on our roads should always be a paramount issue and every road within our municipality examined for safety and access. Some of that work is ongoing, but the focus is not necessarily on cycling.
I support paved shoulders on all major routes, preferably at least 2m and in high traffic areas with a rumble strip divider. However, small municipalities have to weigh their expenses carefully. Widening a street is an expensive proposition, so it makes sense to plan as much as possible in conjunction with other road or sidewalk repairs and upgrades. Adding paved shoulders and marked lanes as a priority to the upgrade cycle should be part of the planning process.
This should be done in concert not only with our own staff and with other regional municipal staff, but with local cycling groups to identify the priority routes. We should also engage with the province and provincial organizations (i.e. Ontario Cycling Association) to help identify regional routes and assets and look for co-funding opportunities. I also support widening existing streets in town to ensure there is safe riding space for cyclists or where possible to upgrade to 3m wide sidewalks for shared use.
I would encourage all regional municipalities to implement standard marked paved shoulders on local roads that are popular with cyclists and help develop regional routes with a system of appropriate signage as well as inclusion of paved shoulder routes in our trails map and in all tourist information.
I am aware of standards within the Ontario Traffic Manual (Book 18), but are they sufficient for the area? Should the region look to enhanced standards to accommodate larger groups (e.g. wider shoulders in some heavily-used areas?)? Should we have distinctly regional imaging to enhance the standard signage?
I have other questions too, about roadside water accessibility, potential for parking areas where people can drop off and load bikes, first aid/emergency stations and so on, as well as what is needed to organize provincial and national cycling events that I would like to discuss further, should I be elected. This has a great potential for expanded recreational tourism and should also be looked at as an economic opportunity for the region.
Thanks for the opportunity to respond. I hope we can continue this discussion after the election. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.