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Barrie City Council and Staff Discuss Enhancing Bike Lane Safety and Implementation

City officials are actively exploring ways to improve bike lane safety and implementation across the city. The discussion centers around two main issues outlined by Mayor Alex Nuttall: “The first one that was the motion is for bike lanes in the areas that have been outlined in the report. The addition was to see if we could have them done in a way that was a little bit more safe with curbs or a separation of some kind.”

The goal is to investigate alternative safety measures in addition to painted lines and report back to the General Committee with a costing analysis of separated bike lanes on existing roads. Ward 9 Councillor Sergio Morales emphasized that merely painting bike lanes without proper safety infrastructure provides a false sense of security for cyclists. “When you create painted bike lanes that are not proper safe infrastructure, almost you’re giving people that false sense of security,” he said. 

To address these concerns, city staff have proposed various low-cost safety measures, such as concrete planters or properly separated bike lanes, to provide additional protection on specific roads like Duckworth and Grove Street. The city aims to determine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of these measures before making any decisions.

Bala Araniyasundaran, GM of Infrastructure and Growth Management, provided further clarification on the unique characteristics of each road segment and the operational impacts of implementing separated bike lanes, such as snow removal and operational issues. He emphasized the importance of approving the implementation of bike lanes along Grove and Duckworth Streets. The assessment on separated bike lanes will help provide more comprehensive information on the challenges, time, and costs involved in implementing separated bike lanes in the future.

While painting bike lanes is a relatively low-cost item, it’s important to consider both the benefits of having painted lanes and the possibility of pausing their implementation. Some contracts, such as Duckworth Street, have already been tendered, but the low cost of painting bike lanes allows for flexibility in decision-making.

City staff will continue to research and report back on the feasibility of implementing separated bike lanes on different road types, aiming to create a safer environment for cyclists throughout the city.

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