Windsor Council’s recent decision to put bike lanes on busy Pillette Rd, removing parking on one side, provides an instructive case study for Brockville’s Laurier Blvd. Much like the reaction to Brockville’s approved plan for bike lanes on Laurier, a small group of Windsor residents reacted vehemently and loudly to Windsor’s plan. Residents complained that reducing available parking would be an inconvenience, the street is too busy and dangerous for cycling, that carnage would result, and the world would come to an apocalyptic end.
(CBC article, Windsor Star article)
In counterpoint, Windsor Council accepted staff’s report and recommendation that Pillette Rd is an important and much-needed connector in Windsor’s cycling network, that the addition of bike lanes would calm traffic and increase safety for all, and that the street would retain more than sufficient parking space for even the busiest times. Of note, Pillette Rd carries 50% more daily traffic than Laurier Blvd, yet still only about half the maximum capacity of a two lane road.
In August 2017, Windsor Council approved the bike lane plan, citing safety for all is more important than surplus parking space, and citing the other benefits that would accrue. And this Spring, the road is being upgraded to include the bike lanes.
Key to this case study is that Windsor Council and staff listened to both residents for and against, weighed the evidence, and made the decision for the safety of all road users, for the longer-term good of the community.