A Windsor cycling group celebrates the creation of a cycle path with physical barriers protecting cyclists from vehicular traffic.
A small stretch of the bike path on Cabana Road near Howard Avenue is now fitted with flexible poles or bollards.
“Flexible post bollards are a great idea. They certainly give car drivers a visual reminder to look out for for vulnerable road users, ”said Lori Newton, General Manager of Bike Windsor-Essex.
“But we also know that these kiosks will slow down traffic, and we’ve heard from residents who cycle say they notice the traffic is slowing.”
It is the first such route – with barriers of all kinds – in the city and is part of a $ 10,000 pilot project.
Stop blocking the bike path
Jeff Hagan, the city’s senior transportation planning engineer, said that although the city has painted cycle paths in several areas, this project goes even further in infrastructure.
The poles will deter cars and trucks from stopping on the bike path, which Hagan says often happens in this area, in part because it’s so close to Roseland Public School.
“We’ve had issues there in the past, with vehicles stopping at Cabana, usually to pick up and drop off students,” he said.
“It created a problem for cyclists; it blocked the bike path.”
And while poles can deter vehicles from stopping voluntarily, they do not protect cyclists in the event of an accident.
It is clear that this has not been a priority for the city.– Lori Newton, Windsor-Essex bike
“They won’t actually prevent a car or truck from entering the bike path,” Newton said.
“They are also placed sporadically so that in some areas a car or truck can still stop and park on the bike path. We know this is happening in the city.”
More cyclists everywhere
Newton said the number of cyclists was increasing everywhere, but outside the city it was more of a priority.
“There has been a dramatic increase in cycling in the city and the county. The county has grown and responded to the desire of its residents for safe cycling spaces, so there is much more infrastructure that ensures the safety of cyclists throughout the county, ”she said.
“It is clear that this has not been a priority for the city.”
Newton also said the city needs to invest in snow removal equipment designed for bike lanes so the flexible poles can be there all year round.
“In Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary they are all cleaning the bike lanes, so we should be able to do that here in Windsor as well,” she said.
“Taking that little bit of protection off, I think it’s not something we would like to see. We will campaign to keep this going year round.”
Hagan said that while these posts need to be removed on Cabana, this will not be the case with other projects in other areas.
“In other places where we are able to do it, we would like to offer something more extensive,” he said.
“A wider cycle path that can be traveled by small plows to clear the cycle path itself.”
More to do
Hagan said the city’s active transportation plan will continue to bring in new projects like this, all part of a goal to increase cycling in Windsor.
“Protected cycle paths and other similar things like cycle paths are an important part of this plan,” he said.
“They are definitely an important tool in the toolbox. There are a number of places we are going to do similar things in the city.”
Newton said she was happy with the development, but more needed to be done.
“Windsor now aspires to improve on climate change. Cycling and walking and encouraging active transportation are an important part of it, and the city needs to step up, ”she said.
“It’s a good first step on Cabana Road. We’re excited to see it. We need to do a lot more.”