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Yesterday, April 17, I attended the meeting to discuss the installation of bicycle lanes on Annette Street. Bill Saundercook, councillor for ward 13, hosted the meeting. Questions and concerns about parking for the retail businesses on Annette between Jane and Runnymede dominated the meeting.
The merchants worried about the effect the bike lanes would have on access for their customers and deliveries, and angrily protested against what many of them saw as the inadequate notice provided for the meeting. Participants in the meeting suggested narrowing the bicycle lanes, narrowing the sidewalks, and routing one of the bicycle lanes by way of St. John's Road. I proposed bypassing the part of Annette between Jane and Runnymede, where most of the merchants need parking and delivery access, using two local streets: Ardagh to the south (see map) and St. John's Road to the north. While this will require changes to the traffic calming measures on these streets (Ardagh in particular has four way stops at every intersection), it will spare the merchants in an important local retail cluster.
Some participants in the meeting required a little education about bicycle lanes. While most participants did not actively oppose them, one local lawyer suggested that providing for cycling would "cater" to a "small minority", and several people seemed not to understand the concept of cycling for transportation, asking why cyclists who had north-south bicycle lanes on Runnymede also needed east-west bicycle lanes on Annette.
The next proposal to install cycling lanes will probably include routes along Ardagh and St. John's road. That means, unfortunately, that we have to make sure the measures taken to make Ardagh and St. John's Road into effectively bike-friendly routes actually work.