Categories: Cycling

Bike path proposed on one side of New St

Staff preferred option for bike lane one side of New, sharrows other side.

Thanks to the 40-some residents who attended the recent public meeting to hear transportation staff’s proposal for bike lanes on New Street. The street is being resurfaced in 2015 so it is an opportunity to explore painted bike lanes or possible widening to accommodate lanes.

At the first public meeting last year, staff presented 6 options, from do nothing up to widening the road to add full bike lanes on both sides. Based on further analysis of the options and costs, and in consideration of substantial public feedback, staff came back to residents with their preferred proposal. Staff are recommending adding a full bike lane on the North side, heading west into downtown. Their studies have shown most of the bike traffic is headed toward the downtown, as opposed to the other direction. The south side would have painted enhanced “sharrows” like those on Lakeshore.

Staff have observed that since the sharrows were painted on Lakeshore road, cyclists report that they are working to get cars to move over when they pass cyclists. This option could be accommodated within the existing $825k budget for the resurfacing. Staff said about 60 cyclists per day use the road.

The other options explored but not recommended include removing the centre turn lane, widening the road and adding bike lanes on both sides, at a cost of $2.7million, or adding a separated (elevated) bike lane on both sides, slightly cheaper at $2 million. Staff did not recommend these options as the road is not scheduled for widening and the additional cost to widen now would require displacing some other capital project. The funds for widening New Street are not in the current capital budget.

What New St could look like with bike lane one side, sharrows other side.

To view the staff powerpoint from the presentation visit: Staff preferred option for bike lanes on New Street – March 27

Residents are invited to submit their comments to staff by April 7. Send to Dan Ozimkovic at

Staff will present their report to the city’s Development & Infrastructure Committee June 16; any recommendation from that committee will go to City Council July 14. Residents can register as delegations to both of these meetings to share your feedback on the proposed recommendation with members of city council.

My Take: I support painting sharrows on both sides or adding a bike lane on one side and sharrows on the other, as per the staff recommendation.  This option doesn’t require a road widening or adding significant unbudgetted costs to this project.  The additional cost to add these lanes now is not supportable given the low volume of cyclists and the nearby Centennial Bikeway, for off-street cycling. Further, staff have said that since enhanced sharrows were added on Lakeshore they have observed that the sharrows are working to increase cycling safety for those cyclists who prefer to ride on-road, so we would expect that to occur on New Street as well. Longer term, when the road is due for reconstruction (in roughly 10-15 years), I’m open to considering road widening and separated, elevated bike lanes, as that won’t add significantly to the cost if the road is already being reconstructed; by then, we may also have more cyclists.

Your Take:  Generally, the majority of feedback I’ve gotten from residents via phone, email, or social media, is residents have mixed support for sharrows and bike lanes (some question whether they work at all). Most residents do not support removing the centre turn lane (not recommended by staff) or a road widening (not recommended by staff) to accommodate bike lanes, because of the impact on vehicular traffic and the added cost of widening outside of a road reconstruction. What’s your view? Leave a comment below.

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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