Comment 39228

By Kiely (registered) | Posted March 28, 2010 at 19:53:30

"Dedicated bike paths are nice for recreation or for getting from one section of the city to another, but they are not very helpful for everyday use of a bicycle." - moylek

I expanded on this in a post on a different subject by saying:

"I believe our money would be better spent on initiatives to increase residential and commercial density downtown. Once we see that piece of the puzzle coming together the increase in people living and working downtown will better justify bike lanes. What would be good right now would be a dedicated bike path, similar to what KW has done with the Iron Horse Trail. This would be of more use to a wider range of people and have recreational value as well since families with children could ride safely. If implemented properly you could then run bike lanes from it in the future."

The iron horse in KW provides an almost non-stop walking and bicycling thoroughfare through Kitchener and into Waterloo. It is absolutely helpful to everyday use of the bike (friends of mine us it as such) as well as being better for families, children and the bike rider uncomfortable sharing roads with idiot drivers. In other words, a wider base of citizens will use it.

I seem to be getting beat up a bit about this topic, but that's okay it has got discussion going. Let me just clarify my position a little though. This is more of a horse and cart type argument than a pro versus anti bike lane argument. I am not against bike lanes. I would rather see a well thought out network of cycling and walking paths linking to some well planned bike lanes than some quickly spray painted lanes designed to placate a relatively small group of avid urban cyclists. That however is going to take more money than just the cost of some cans of spray paint.

When I walk around this city I see problems that no bike lane is going to fix. Money is going to continue to be difficult and perhaps even increasingly difficult to come by from any level of government. So, we need to use what funds we do have very judiciously, ensuring we get bang for our buck. In my view, we need to get the density and jobs in the core to warrant the bike lanes first, that's where the money needs to go now. While perhaps looking at getting the path network started if the lands are available to do so inexpensively. Once the density target is achieved and the money is available, a network of well planned bike lanes can be integrated and the streetscapes can be altered to implement some bike lanes where more than a strip of spray paint separates bikes from cars.

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