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03/22/2011

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charles

The CMP is full of "Narrow, winding trails" it counts the dirt paths through Monarch Woods and Steckle Woods as bike trails... these are really more of walking paths and it's silly to see them counted as actual bicycle infrastructure and there are many km of bike lanes on busy roads like F-H and Ottawa street (these are the region's fault) that are full of fast traffic and lots of stoplights... these aren't any fun to cycle and in the case of one person, the bike lane offered no protection whatsoever... how much is all that money really doing for cyclists, either folks just having a ride for fun or serious commuters like myself?

The bikes lanes on Strasburg and Block Line seem to be unused... is anyone spending time counting cyclists on the existing stuff? Do we have any data that suggests more of this is good? I'm glad if we get a chance to re-examine it a bit more. I'm glad some of the people on the are cyclists, but I still don't think there was much more public input than the market sessions and that is a pretty narrow demographic if ya ask me.

I can say that in my last decade of cycling (well into the thousands of km in-town alone) I can say that I've never had any problems with dog crap or people on the Iron Horse. If a fast-pedalling commuter can't be bothered to show some common courtesy to slower trail users they really need to check themselves rather than the system... road users are the enemy, LOL. Seriously though, how many cyclists and pedestrians have been killed in Ontario by cars? How many cyclists have killed or injured pedestrians? I think keeping both groups away from cars is in the best interested of all parties involved... even cars, I hate to say.

If you're referencing some of the routes I mapped out as being sub-par, they are still routes that I've used and see other folks using... but they aren't the kinds of folks that read cycling blogs or know what a separated bikeway is and I think the CMP is completely missing out on anything for the guy riding a mountain bike to a crap job because he has to, not because he has a bike computer and cares how fast his commute was or spends heaps of money on special clothes. These are likely more numerous in our community than "avid cyclists" or whatever...

And really, what is 200,000$ really gonna get us beyond a fancy PDF that I can't actually read in its entirety but from what I can tell, the recommendation for signage isn't really a big deal but it's probably the most important way to get people to actually use any infrastructure, regardless of what semantic differences we may have about implementing it... and I think we could do the signage for most of the existing network right now.

Tim Kenyon


Thanks again for your comments, Charles. Though I hardly speak for them, I think you are probably attributing ideas to the CMP committee that they would not recognize, if you think that its purpose is substantially to indulge people who spend "heaps of money on special clothes"!

The goal is make cycling safe and practical -- for everyone from kids to retired folks to high-speed greyhounds in technical fabric to commuters who ride in their work clothes. I have been three of those categories, off and on, and plan on being the fourth eventually. :-) Part of this must be done by using, improving, and connecting existing trails. Part of it must be done by exploiting roads. It's that simple. Neither answer by itself will suffice.

As to the survey of trails -- it includes those trails because it's supposed to be as extensive an inventory as possible. Nobody is under any illusions as to whether these are all ideal commuting trails -- which was, recall, one of the reasons for thinking that the number or total length of trails is not sufficient reason for thinking that trails are the whole answer. And while I believe you that the trails you recommended are indeed used by some cyclists, of course the same is true of the Monarch Woods trails. Yet you are quite right that those trails are narrow, steep, winding, and clearly better suited for walkers than cyclists. Again, this strikes me as supporting the idea that both roads and trails can be better and worse as elements of an effective cycling network.

You and I particularly agree on the importance of signage, which is in fact one of the major topics in the CMP. It's also more expensive than one might think -- at least, it's more expensive than I thought it would be before I started to learn about how much this stuff costs!

Final point: what can you get with $200,000 dollars? There are fancy (and correct!) answers involving leveraging one's way from sub-optimal to optimal design solutions where cost is a factor. But maybe this is the right place for the simple and obvious answer: you get $200,000 more cycling development than you get with $0. I agree that more money would be better, but let's start with having too little, rather than having none at all. Right now, that's my focus as a citizen of Kitchener: to get that funding priority set straight. At least it would be a step in the right direction. Cheers, and happy riding!

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