PRATAC Position on Ottawa Street Bicycle Lane Proposal

PRATAC is opposed to the Ottawa Street bicycle lanes as proposed.

Rationale

  • The public meeting on March 22 was well attended and the general mood was negative. Safety concerns were very prominent.   Citizens who identified themselves as cyclists expressed concerns.  The parking ban is an issue for many Ottawa street residents, and was not adequately addressed.  The speaker conveyed the impression that on-street parking was a luxury that can no longer be afforded to them.   The cycle lanes were not discussed or presented in the context of the overall AT plan.  The entire cycle spine route throughout Almonte, as illustrated in the AT plan should have been presented as a visual aid to provide context.  Many residents left with feelings of uneasiness.  Further consultation and public engagement is required.
  • The town needs to demonstrate that it is working within the design guidelines for cycling facilities set out in Book 18 of the Ontario Traffic Manual (OTM) and is developing something that will provide a safe environment that will attract ridership from the Ministry’s defined target audience of “Interested but Concerned” cyclists, who comprise 60% of the general population. The current proposal meets the needs of 1% of the population.  The traffic manual discusses parallel routes and these should to be included in the design.
  • The Public Works director has stated that this proposal does not have the support of the School Travel Planning Committee (STPC). This committee represents key stakeholders that the Dillon Report/AT Plan says should be included.
  • The OTM identifies a set of considerations that must be addressed and documented at all stages of development. At the public meeting the speaker made statements about traffic, such as observed speeds and numbers of cyclists, but these must be documented.   The Active Transportation Advisory Committee should ensure that accurate and quantifiable data is provided to council.  Dillon Consulting recommends that such data gathering and analysis be part of the committee’s mandate.
  • A change of this magnitude warrants, as a minimum, the type of discussion and consideration that was given to the off-road multi-use pathways further up Ottawa Street. There are serious safety implications involved in this proposal which have potential contingent liability implications for the town and the taxpayers.
  • Detailed costing has not been provided. It must include all initial and ongoing costs, including winter maintenance.
  • This matter needs to be sent back to ATAC for further study, in conjunction with the STPC. This review should also consider and include recommendations on others means of active transportation that may be a more pressing priority to large numbers of Mississippi Mills residents.

Brian Gallagher, President PRATAC