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Drivers and cyclists will soon have to be even more aware of each other

August 4, 2015

Town Council

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Drivers along Market Street in Port Elgin will soon have to share the road as it, and parts of River and Hilker Streets, become a marked 'share the road' bike corridor.

Community Services brought forward a report to Town Council that recommended, in principal, that Market Street become a bike corridor.  It would connect the River Street Washroom (Rail Trail) area to Harbour Street section of the Rail Trail improving the east-west trail connection. 

Although widening of the road is not part of the plant, residents and drivers will see more signage indicating the road is used by vehicle and cyclists and speed along Market street collector road will be monitored once signage and on-pavement markers are in place.

There is relatively low usage of on-street parking and staff will monitor to determine if there is any need for changes.

The changes are to take place in the Fall and the approximate cost for signage is $7,000.

Vice Deputy Mayor Diane Huber expressed that she would like to see different on-pavement markers than the 'chevrons' currently used on the north side of the Saugeen River along Hwy. 21.

Jane Jagelewski, Director of Community Services, indicated that the signs would be 'sharrows' which are two arrows with a bicycle.

Huber was also concerned about any trees that might possibly be removed.  According to Stu Doyle, Director of Public Works, it is not anticipated that any trees will have to be removed and residents have been notified of the upcoming changes.

Council Neil Menage questioned why Market Street was being considered when it had been designed as a collector road that would have increase vehicle traffic. "I do however, think the concept is good overall to have a connecting link."

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau explained that the idea had been on-going for several years having started with the Parks and Trails Master Plan over a decade ago and the reconstruction of Market St. was part of the plan.  "I would like to be clear however, that there won't be dozens of 'no parking' signs everywhere and that any By-law will be reviewed after the corridor is up and running."

Jagelewski said that she had talked with residents who had had concerns that the bike lane would be an additional dedicated lane but that she had reassured them it was a 'shared road' concept and there would be no separate lane.  "This is really an educational program, not only for cyclists but also for residents and drivers."

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Councilor Mike Myatt said that if there is anything that can be done to make roads safer for cyclists then this type of concept is right.  "We have done  a wonderful job (in the community) with creating bike corridors north-south - the Rail Trail, the Shoreline Trail and the Biener Trail that are pretty safe to ride bikes on but, where we are really lacking in east-west corridors for cyclists to get from our shoreline up to the Rail Trail east.  With this recommendation, Market Street is a start and we are moving in the right direction for east-west corridors." 

"I agree that there is an educational need to increase safety," said Huber.  "In the near future, I think we have to decide which roads will be safer and begin to tell people to use them.  At the same time, what has been very obvious is the number of bicycles on the sidewalks and those "walk your wheels" signs are not doing it.  They are in the wrong places and are not getting people off the sidewalks because they feel safer there.  I would like to see over the next little while taking the Master Parks and Trails Plan and seeing what should be done with some of the streets.  Share the road signs should be going up in more places and we should be telling people ride your bikes on certain streets.  We need to start being more pro-active not just for cyclists but for pedestrians walking sidewalks and those who may be pushing strollers."

The recommendation to implement a 'share the road' corridor east-west was carried.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015