Community Soapbox: Cycling – or not – in Williamsville

bike lanes, Williamsville, Kingston, Ontario I am writing to give you an update on cycling in Williamsville and to encourage you to contact City Council members if you have concerns.  The City plans to move ahead without consideration for on-road cycling facilities on Princess Street in Williamsville.

Despite cycling having been raised many times in the public consultation process, the consultants did not address cycling in the final document.  People wrote emails and letters, spoke with City staff and consultants, and spoke out at public meetings.

The City’s January 2012 Williamsville Main Street Study newsletter notes that: “Because of concerns expressed by the public that dedicated cycling lanes be provided in this area, the MMM Group was asked to further examine this issue, and it was concluded that the existing right-of-way of 20 metres is too limited to allow dedicated cycling lanes in addition to the other required uses.”  The “other required uses” translates as: “Keep on-street parking on BOTH sides of Princess”.  The Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation (KCAT) proposed removing one side of on-street parking to allow room for two dedicated bike lanes.

Presentations were made at the City’s Planning Committee, Environment Infrastructure Transportation Policies Committee, and City Council in favour of on-road cycling facilities in Williamsville.  Six hundred people signed a petition and commented on reasons why cycling infrastructure is important on Princess Street in Williamsville.  There are many economic, environmental, social, health, and safety benefits to increasing active transportation opportunities by providing ‘complete streets’ – space for everyone.

The Williamsville Plan is still to keep two lanes of parking, and two travel lanes to be shared by motorists – including transit – and cyclists. At the Council meeting on October 16, Council approved “the use of the Williamsville Main Street Study plans and details regarding the treatment of Princess Street as the basis for the development of detailed engineering and construction plans necessary for reconstruction” in 2014 (Bath Road to Macdonnell).  Once engineering and construction plans start (which is very soon if not already in the works), there will be no opportunity for cycling facilities.

Council did not discuss “Williamsville Main Street Cycling Lanes” as it was deferred until Tuesday, October 23.

More information about Williamsville is on the City’s website.

If you, your family, friends, and colleagues would like to see consideration for cyclists on Princess Street in Williamsville, please let City Council know before Tuesday night’s meeting.  Their addresses are:

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
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[email protected]

Submitted to Kingstonist’s Community Soapbox by: Anne MacPhail, Chair Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation. Thanks to Dan Brubaker Horst for the photo associated with this post.

Comments

  1. Terry says

    Apparently Williamsville biking lanes was deferred to June 2013, at least according to the Whig's live blog of the council meeting last night. Is that right? If so, it gives us time to provide input into the process and give our support for dedicated biking lanes. However, June 2013 seems kind of late, as I thought the Williamsville Plan would be completed before then.

  2. mr_rectifier says

    Yes, the deferral was defeated then reconsidered and passed as the debate ensued.

    Its pretty clear there won't be, and shouldn't be, a segregated bike lane there because of the narrow width, express bus plans, parking and future development. I don't know why some councilors persist in always wanting to interfere with the expert planners and engineers we pay the big bucks to to figure this stuff out. As they did when this originally came up, they made a very clear case why it won't work.

  3. Yaj says

    I say this as an avid cyclist: Keep bikes off Princess, Brock and Johnson! The streets are too narrow to accommodate a proper bike lane. Besides they are rough and many drivers are trying to catching the next green light (thus speeding) and all too often distracted. At the end of the day, regardless of my rights as a cyclist, when it's me and my bike vs 2500+ lbs of car I'll put myself out of harms way and ride a quiet side street. Maybe the city should be looking at bike lanes on less busy stretch(es) of road. I know I can make it to where I need to be downtown without riding more than a couple of blocks on P,B,&J! Plus they're bumpy as all hell in a lot of places!

  4. deanna6 says

    At the moment, I'd have to agree with Yaj. Though I would really, really like to be able to ride my bike on Johnson (straight shot to work) it is far too narrow. If the onstreet parking were removed, it could MAYBE be made safe enough, but motorists would have to resist using the lanes, which I see a lot of on the stretch between Portsmouth and Sir John. It's a bike lane, not a passing lane, and not a place to park your car. As it is….I drive my car.

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