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Cycling Plan gets thumbs up from council

More than $10M in changes over 10 years are contemplated in the plan, but actual projects and fund allocations will be considered annually during budget deliberations
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The Collingwood Cycling Plan passed an initial council hurdle on Wednesday night, and is now barrelling toward the budget deliberation stage.

The 130-page document outlines a long-term plan to develop, strengthen and support a cycling culture in Collingwood. The plan recommends specific upgrades, their costs and a rough suggested timeline of whether they should be implemented within the short-term (less than five years), or long-term (more than five years). The investment to implement the Cycling Plan recommendations will be approximately $803,000 for the short-term suggestions, and $9.5 million for the long-term suggestions.

Suggested improvements include better connections, more supporting facilities and cycling infrastructure and improved user and motorist education. The report identifies a series of continuous east-west and north-south corridors through town. To read our initial story about the Collingwood Cycling Plan, click here.

One conspicuously absent corridor was brought up by Coun. Deb Doherty on Wednesday night.

“The report was silent on Hurontario Street,” said Doherty. “We know that we’re facing issues on a daily basis of cyclists using pedestrian sidewalks on both sides. Why was Hurontario Street not included?”

Mayor Brian Saunderson said he thought it was because cyclists will now be encouraged to cycle down parallel streets close by – such as Ste. Marie Street and Pine Street – and then walk their bikes downtown if needed due to the angled parking on Hurontario creating an unsafe situation for cyclists on the road.

“Early on, Hurontario was identified as being problematic, so the effort was instead placed on making the facilities (there)... more end-of-trip amenities, which would be critically important to ensure that people have a way to get there, and when they arrive they... can store their bike and receive whatever services are required,” said Dean Collver, director of parks, recreation and culture.

Doherty said she anticipates the issue will become an ongoing conversation.

“I’m hoping, one day, we can figure out a way to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians and automobiles safely in the downtown,” she said.

“It’s a two-way street, literally,” responded Saunderson. “If we expect our motorists to be responsible, we expect our cyclists to be responsible too, and I don’t think expecting our cyclists to go from Hurontario to Ste. Marie or Pine is a particularly roundabout way.”

Doherty also shared concerns that the bulk of the investment for the plan would be spent in years five through 10.

“We run the risk of losing momentum,” said Doherty. “If we look at all the projects in the outline – and there are many of them – it seems as though many of those could legitimately be moved up so somehow we could balance that expenditure over the next 10 years.”

Collver said the plan is intended to be more of a guidebook, rather than a prescription.

“A lot of the projects will be tied to major infrastructure improvements conducted through the engineering department, so really, the opportunity to take big chunks out of this plan is going to come through that process,” he said.

Council voted to receive the report and directed staff to implement the recommendations through funding requests annually during budget deliberations.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 15 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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