When I think about where bicycling is going in the next few years, a Tori Amos lyric from her single Winter (from 1992, which tells you how current my listening is) spins around in my head: "When you gonna make up your mind, Cause things are gonna change so fast."
The "things" I'm thinking about are the conditions that will help cycling to blossom in our community, if not throughout North America.
I was at the Kitchener cycling advisory committe meeting on Tuesday, listening to the back and forth among the members and the city and region reps. Yeah, it's just one committee, and there were only two Kitchener councillors actually in the room listening to the discussion.
But the ambitions for cycling advocates in this community don't seem as out of reach as they were five, 10 years ago. Language is being suggested for bylaw changes that will allow, for instance, contraflow bicycle lanes (where bicycles are allowed to ride against the traffic on one-way streets) and specific charges for those involved in "dooring" incidents. Importantly, the committee has done the legwork on how to define some aspects of cycling infrastructure that don't have planner-friendly definitions.
As well, Kitchener has added bike racks and bike storage, way-finding signage and bike lane improvements, and more are on deck for 2014. Bike-friendly events such as BikeFest, Bike Yoga and Friday Night Cycle Socials have set a pattern for years going forward.
That remake, which reduces the number of motor-vehicle lanes, includes dedicated bike lanes, although, sadly, the design being shown on the city's October newsletter shows the bike lane as being placed between the parked cars and traffic. There's a real opportunity here to set up the bike lane between the sidewalk and the parked cars, offering a truly segregated bicycle lane through the Uptown. If you attend tonight's open house, you might offer your views on where the bike lanes should be.
I look at all this and think, things are gonna change, my dear.