Deferral of bike lanes on Clearmeadow and William Roe

On March 1, Town of Newmarket Council voted to confirm the earlier Committee of the Whole decision to defer the 2021 Active Transportation Implementation Plan projects until at least the fall, so that they can study the loss of on-street parking as a result of bike lane installation. This means that we will have to wait another year for lanes on Clearmeadow/William Roe Blvd, which will likely delay the 2022 plans for lanes on Stonehaven, Kingsmere, Nellie Little, and Fernbank. (Lanes on Lorne Avenue will still go ahead in 2021 as part of the entire road redevelopment).

We at Cycle Newmarket are immensely disappointed in this plan. On behalf of our group, Peggy Stevens read a deputation to the March 1 Council meeting, proposing that the lanes go ahead but in a temporary mode as the parking issue is dealt with. This compromise was still not enough for Council.

What follows is the text of the deputation, referring to the slide of the Town’s strategic priorities above.

• Good Afternoon Mr. Mayor, Councillors and staff
• I am here this afternoon on behalf of Cycle Newmarket to ask you not to defer Newmarket’s Active Transportation Implementation Plan
• The motion was created “on the fly” so to speak and I am asking you to reconsider
• Please put up my slide [see image at top] – thank you
• I’m sure this looks very familiar to you – it’s from the town’s website – it is from the Strategic Priorities you established
• Priorities –that means they are very important
• Notice that under the priority Safer Transportation you have listed implementation of the Active Transportation as an ongoing action
• Why am I drawing this to your attention?
• To put it simply, I want to remind you that the Active Transportation Implementation Plan came from you – it isn’t the product of a special interest group – it is your plan!
• Your Strategic Priorities and the Official Plan are like promises to Newmarket
• Please take down the slide
• Cycle Newmarket has supported you and cheered you on as you have worked to provide safer active transportation infrastructure
• Cycle Newmarket is dismayed that you think deferring is even an option
• What is Active Transportation and why did Newmarket develop a plan? It wasn’t to satisfy a special interest group
• And Cycle Newmarket isn’t a special interest group – everything we advocate for is for the betterment of the whole town as outlined in the Official Plan
• The purpose of the Active Transportation Plan was to get people out of cars as the population grew and continues to grow – there simply aren’t enough roads in Newmarket to have everyone getting around in cars
• More of us need to use public transportation, walking and cycling
• In order for that to happen the town has to provide the infrastructure which includes cycle lanes and the town has been doing that and is committed to do more
• Monday past some of you suggested that the town had changed since the Active Transportation Plan was adopted in 2014 as Amendment 11 to the Official Plan– that is true but the plan was developed to deal with future growth which has and is occurring
• The Active Transportation Implementation Plan was adopted even later, in 2018, so I fail to understand your comments suggesting the town has changed since the plan was developed
• This past week I read the Active Transportation Plan in the Official Plan (Section 15.6) – I would like the councillors who think it doesn’t make sense in today’s Newmarket to tell me what exactly doesn’t make sense. I think it is a very progressive document
• Cycle Newmarket is also frustrated by the muddying of the waters by the constant inclusion of recreational cycling in the discussions of Active Transportation
• There are clear distinctions in the Town’s Official Plan which makes numerous mention of connectivity so that people can get to destinations without using their cars – yes, sometimes that is on trails designated for Active Transportation
• Cycle Newmarket has always been honest about our dislike of designating trails as both Active Transportation Routes and Recreational Trails – nonetheless, we will take what we can get
• The Clearmeadow/William Roe Active Transportation Route exists (at least on paper) because it is a collector route which explains why it is busy and why it appears on the Active Transportation Implementation Plan
• Why shouldn’t cyclists have safe access to this route too?
• Certainly, the majority of cyclists who cycle for transportation want cycle lanes
• On street parking is an issue and Cycle Newmarket understands that it is hard for you but deferring the ATIP isn’t the answer
• Our suggestion is that Council study the issue of on street parking
• While Council is studying the issue of on street parking temporary cycle lanes could be painted on Clearmeadow and William Roe to determine just how big a problem the loss of on street parking is
• 15.5.2 of the official plan states that “On-street parking facilities will only be permitted where such facilities do not interfere with traffic flows or create traffic hazards.” – this statement is from 2006 and should be used by Council to update certain roads – I think that’s why the statement exists in the Official Plan
• The Official Plan is a very important document as I am sure all of you know – it guides the actions of Council – it open and transparent and provides citizens with an understanding of where the town is going
• It is definitely time for the town to develop some clear guidelines about on street parking but I don’t think it’s only cycle lanes that might result in the loss of on street parking
• When did buses start to travel on Clearmeadow? It is my understanding that from a traffic flow and safety standpoint there should not be on street parking on roads with buses
• Are there other roads in Newmarket with both buses and on street parking? Should there be?
• Painting temporary bike lanes on Clearmeadow/William Roe while studying the issue of on street parking makes sense to Cycle Newmarket
• And it would be more in keeping with the Official Plan and your Strategic Priority

Ride on!

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