THUNDER BAY – The Active Transportation was presented to Council tonight. The item was deferred from the last Council meeting.
Council was told there are 120 km of bike routes with the goal being to make it possible for a person to ride a bike from one end of Thunder Bay to the other. The city has worked to expand opportunities for self propelled transportation. The project is designed to increase and attract young professionals to the city.
Active Transportation Plan
There are currently 22 kms of paved bike trails installed in the past three years.
There have been 8,300 citizens engaged in the development of the plan. The Active Transportation plan has been included into the Strategic Planning Process with the city.
The study reports that 78% of cyclists are complying with the plan. There have also been increases from 463% to 11% in cyclists using the routes.
Cyclists a welcome addition
There is a targeted goal of completing the Current River section of the plan Arundel Street has been nearing completion. There a wider lane for cyclists was done. The 1.2 metre lane way for cyclists offers lots of room for cyclists.
Connecting the University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is also in the works.
On Beverly Street and John Street the 1.3 metre lanes are being done.
High Street, by Superior Collegiate will have wider bike lanes. The average width is 1.2 metres wide. They can be 1.3 metres wide.
Council was told that making sure that there are proper decisions being made, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and City Engineering are going to be working together on this effort.
Deputations of Active Transportation
Mr. Brown made the first deputation to Council. Mr. Brown said that this is “A premature plan, a very bad plan. I have lived on the corner of Bay and Rupert for 71 years, there is already a speed problem and other problems.”
“Consistency, is the problem,” Brown reported. “The current plan is not consistent and it speeds up problems”.
Mr. Doucet also made a deputation and is in favour of the plan. “I have been an active transportation user for seven years”. The Council was told that there are issues with drivers, but only when drivers don’t pay attention, are distracted by cell phone use, or don’t signal.
Mr. and Mrs. Chapman were the next presenters to Council. The South High Street residents stated their family have lived in the area for 70 years. They reported that the notice from the city was sent late, and that the approach taken by Council was wrong.
Mrs. Chapman reported that with traffic at Hillcrest Park would be seriously impacted by removal of parking on High Street.
“Why would you try to change something that is perfect?”
David Spackman and Leanne Boyer came to council to speak in favour of the proposal. Mr. Spackman commented that his ten year old son bikes a lot and would enjoy the new plan.
Councillors were told that the community supports the plan and that not everyone has the same level of enthusiasm. David Spackman said that only a “few private individuals oppose the plan”.
City Manager Tim Commisson commented that this plan involves change. “It has people engaged, and Administration’s role is to provide balance and to allow Council to make decisions. Commisso commented that in this case the line appears to have been crossed”.
“Council needs to make decisions that are unfettered”.