I arrived at the Active Transportation open house at 1420 Portage Ave Mennonite Brethren church at about 4:01pm and left at 7:10pm. I took note that the electronic billboard WAS advertising the open house (I think nagging Kevin Nixon finally worked). The count for the evening was between 70 and 80 people, most of whom were cyclists.
Took note that CTV showed up as did Councillor Harvey Smith.
Upon first entering the Church people are given a comment form. Question number 3: How do you typically travel to work, school or shopping? The choices given are:
-other please specify
This question is the ONLY time walking is mentioned on this form. All the rest involve cyclists. Of the 35 Active Transportation projects, 14 are multi-use pathways which would include pedestrians, all the rest ... that would be 21, are solely for cyclists.
Regarding the Omand's Creek Park bridge, it is still "up in the air" according to a MMM consultant.
The projects listed for this open house are as follows, a total of 7 projects for this open house:
Yellow Ribbon Greenway:
-multi-use pathway off the street
-no effect on traffic
-AT in talks with DND to allow pathway onto Military Base as path cannot cross onto the Base
-crosses Truro creek plans are to build an estimated $250 000.00 bridge.
-cost could escalate dependent upon the engineers report
-connects to RRC at Notre Dame
-off road multi-use pathway
-no effect on traffic
-at this time no signal lights are being put up at Sherwin and Notre Dame
-AT will evaluate need for signal lights in a year or so depending upon traffic volumes, RRC has asked for lights at that intersection
St. Mary Ave.
Fort to Memorial
-cuts down on width of travel lanes
(note: St. Mary has both morning and afternoon rush hours in some areas that could be affected)
Memorial to Colony
-all parking has been removed from this section
Colony to Portage
-bike lanes on both east and west sides of street
-this section had no parking allowed
Vaughan to Main
-parking removed from various sections on York could be south side around Kennedy, Edmonton and Carlton
-has potential to lose more parking
Waterfront to Main
Maryland Bridge to Portage
-some sections will have cut-outs for parking
-potential loss of parking
Portage to Ellice
Ellice to Cumberland
-parking/travel lane (west side)
-bike/parking lane from 700-1930 (East side)
-East side could lose parking
-rush hour lanes will be moved from the east side to the west side
-loss of parking during peak times
Cumberland to Notre Dame
-east side bike lane
North of Notre Dame
Crossing options for Sherbrook/Maryland
-Olivia off McDermot extend sidewalk (turns into multi-use path) to Notre Dame to Notre Dame
-Regional Health Authority will have to agree to this as they have that property
Notre Dame to Bridge
-no major changes
-bike lane on East side
-does not affect parking
Arlington to Empress
-north and south side become bike lanes
-some parking could be lost
Century to Ferry
-all parking lost on both sides of the street
Maroons will have bike signage only
St. James at this point only signage, but future efforts could see separated path but will have to do extensive and very expensive cut-outs from sloped areas and a retaining wall, has not yet been costed out.
Sargent to Saskatchewan
-parking completely removed
Ellice to Sargent
-parking is completely removed
Silver to Ellice
-parking is completely removed
-is currently a 1 or 2 hour time limit zone
-soccer field/playground and school in that area
Portage to Silver
-bike path will be off street on boulevard by roadway east and west side
Many of the cyclists were pleased with the new pathways, though there were some who felt that all vehicles should be taken off the road.
Spoke with a cyclist, Susan who thought the new paths were great as she likes to cycle for most of the year, though according to Susan she "didn't know anything about these open houses" until a friend sent her an email with regards to this open house. Susan indicated she had seen the Kiosk when it was at Grant Park Shopping Centre, but had not paid much attention to it.
Another fellow who prefers to walk wants more AT and doesn't mind losing parking.
One cyclist Fred Morris (SEE BELOW) is annoyed with the bike lanes saying he had "been dinged" in a bike lane by a vehicle. Fred happened to see the advertisement for the open house through the Metro Lance paper and is a regular cyclist.
Colin and Patricia Knight are residents of Berry St., they have expressed concerns about the loss of parking especially around the Stevenson Britannia School. Colin also expressed concerns because Berry is both a bus route and heavily used by the fire department and feels they could be hampered. The Knights also raise the question of scooters and motorized bikes may end up using the bike lanes and another question raised is about the trees in their neighbourhood being potentially effected by off street bike paths between Portage and Ness.
There is both support and opposition to these plans, yet once again while having upwards of 80 attending, it is a small number compared with the amount of residents in the affected areas. Many of whom are unaware there could be significant changes in their neighbourhoods.
1) Does the Federal Government really care which project gets what money? As long as the money is spent and projects completed by the end of March 2011. Guess we could ask Pat Martin, oh wait tried that, seems he's not available to answer any questions.
2) If the message of Active Transportation is getting out to residents, then why the low turnout?
3) When I looked at the flyer it was the same used for every other open house, no information. Not anywhere on the flyer does it tell the residents of Berry, of Sherbrook, St. Matthews and Silver that they WILL lose parking on their streets. So to those residents all I can say is "SURPRISE". Look at the gift you've just received from the city and find a new place to park.
4) I also have to wonder about the York and St. Mary bike lanes. Can't wait to see what happens during rush hour when York is wall to wall traffic.
5) Hmm here's another thought, the Parking Authority wants to raise the rates of parking meters in the downtown area and possible the exchange district. Yet the parking authority is losing or giving up parking spots in an area that desperately needs it. York around the Kennedy area is always full particularly when Court is in session and what happens when Active Transportation wants more on-street spots for bike parking? Again all I can say to the motorists and parkers of the area..."SURPRISE".
Kim the traffic reporter
Subject: The Berry Street Bikeway
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 11:01:25 -0500
There is a definite need for more explanation. A Berry Street bikeway may be difficult.
Part of Berry is a narrow street that has a bus route, a boulevard with beautiful trees, and parking. Another part has a school, and recreational fields. Also, it will be difficult to discourage the current large amount of non residential traffic. Berry Street is the most direct route between the Airport, some major industry and Portage Avenue. HAVE THE RESIDENTS OF BERRY STREET BEEN CONSULTED?
City Council should individually review each active transportation project. It may not be possible to immediately start each part of the project. Our Conservative councillors should tell our Conservative Federal government not to cut off their funding if common sense necessitates delaying certain parts of the Active Transportation Plan.. Active Transportation can be positive for the future of our City. However, it is important that we deal with problems before we start any part of the project.