Brockville Update: North End Cycling Network Plan

At the April 14th meeting of the cycling advisory committee, a motion was carried concerning the cycling network planning for the north end of the city, and relative priorities of the committee’s work.

The Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee has considered comments both pro and con from Council/FAO and the public to Phase I of the cycling plan, and proposes the following course of action:

With respect to the King St W segment: provide support to the City as requested as this project moves ahead for implementation in the Summer.

With respect to the joint project with the Brock Trail committee for the new Trail segment from Laurier to Centennial, and the 401 corridor crossing segment (St. Lawrence College to Westminster Public School), the “joint OMCIP project”: focus efforts in working with the Brock Trail committee to complete fundraising, and with the City for planning and staged implementation.

With respect to the Laurier Blvd segment, the committee recognizes:

  • A more holistic and integrated approach to the “north side” cycling plan is needed to put Laurier in context.
  • Significant public education and outreach remains in order to build an understanding of the City’s commitment to active transportation.
  • Significant education of Council remains to generate better support for meeting the commitments made to residents through the Official Plan, Sustainability Plan and Healthy Community Vision, with respect to active transportation.
  • As shown by Mr. Valley’s recent contribution, there is value in productive engagement of willing community groups to supplement the ongoing dialogue with Brockville Police, Health Unit, Fire Department, Safe Communities and other partners.
  • The City and Brockville Police need time to determine and execute a plan for taming traffic behaviour in the Laurier Blvd corridor.
  • In concert with the Brock Trail Committee, more planning effort is needed for the east end of Laurier near Bridlewood and the Memorial Park parking lots.
  • BCAC resources are limited, we are volunteers in an advisory committee.

In consideration of the foregoing, the committee moves that BCAC focus efforts in working with the Brock Trail committee on the joint OMCIP project, and as a secondary effort, develop a more holistic cycling network plan for the north side of the City, to be taken through public review and FAO/Council at a later date.    Motion carried.

Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.

2 thoughts on “Brockville Update: North End Cycling Network Plan”

  1. There are alternative bike routes for the northend other than Laurier. Side streets and green spaces would make for nicer rides. The traffic count on Laurier will not drop off if bike lanes are installed. Even if bike lanes are installed I really don’t see children riding their bikes to school or the younger children riding bikes on Saturday mornings to play soccer. There has been nothing stopping them from doing either over the years. There are children who go to schools south of the 401 – would you want to see them riding bikes on Stewart Blvd.? I don’t think so! Nearly all of the bike route from the waterfront to the north end now are on quiet side streets. Let’s keep it that way in the northend – use the quiet streets and the greenbelts.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Your questions reflect many asked by others, not just in Brockville, but in every city moving to create a healthier place that competes to attract and retain families and businesses that create jobs.

      What’s often not well understood is that the paradigm for transportation infrastructure and services has changed irrevocably over the last decade. Municipal planning and transportation engineering was once focused on ensuring that people in private automobiles could get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Over several decades, following that paradigm contributed to unsustainable cityscapes that contribute to social exclusion and inequity, pollution, obesity-related population health decline, constrained property values and other challenges.

      Over the last decade, however, that paradigm has changed. Planning and transportation is now focused on providing sustainable and healthy options for people to move about cities. Municipalities are moving quickly to prioritize “all ages, all abilities” accessibility – helping people move around their cities, for purpose or for pleasure. This paradigm shift was described by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in this 2013 paper (pdf) for the Journal of the International Transportation Engineers.

      The new paradigm has been embraced by governments at all levels across North America and Europe, as witnessed by the evidence presented in abundance in this site’s articles. Simply put, the priority now is on allowing people to travel safely, whether choosing to walk, cycle, skateboard, use transit, drive or some combination of any of those modes.

      In Ontario, there are 12 ministries of the provincial government and dozens of stakeholder groups collaborating to accelerate this paradigm shift, with changes in the Provincial Policy Statement, changes in the Highway Traffic Act, updated highway design guidelines and requirements, and municipal funding. Almost all professional organizations understand the need for this shift and are supporting it.

      The paradigm that led us once to say that someone can find a nice alternate route is no longer accepted. The question is not “why Laurier?”, but rather “why aren’t we moving quickly to make every street all ages, all abilities accessible?” The paradigm that led us once to say that, “the street is too dangerous” now leads us to say, “well, let’s make the street safe.”

      The public workshops leading up to the creation of Brockville’s 2009 Official Plan recorded comments from many asking for improved walking and cycling support. The Official Plan commits the city to implement a cycling network. Council’s commitment was reinforced last September when it endorsed and adopted the Healthy Community Vision, including active transportation in support of, “All community members have the opportunity to make the choices that enable them to live a healthy life, regardless of income, education, or ability.”

      This paradigm shift is not comfortable for everyone. There are some societal changes that some find difficult to accept, for any number of reasons. That doesn’t mean we should shy away from moving ahead to create a healthier city.

Comments are closed.