Options for New St cycling include widening, cycle track, road diet; cost $150k to $1.9m

Cycle Track Churchill Ave. Ottawa
Cycle track on Churchill Ave. in Ottawa

Missed last night’s meeting where staff outlined additional options, and related costs, for cycling infrastructure along New Street from Martha Street to Cumberland? You can see the power point presentation here:

March 9 2016 PowerPoint Presentation – Cycle Track Options for New Street

About 50 people were at last night’s meeting; there was no clear consensus on which option was best. Each option garnered at least some support in the room, with the exception of the road widening – the most expensive option at $1.9m – which didn’t seem to resonate.

A fuller report on the proceedings is still to come, with a companion article from my co-op student. Stay tuned!


City staff will prepare a report for committee & council outlining these options. That report will be available on Friday and included in the agenda for the Development & Infrastructure committee meeting. Those agendas are posted here:

Agendas & Minutes

I will also post the report  here.

The D&I Committee meets March 22 1 pm and 6:30 pm to consider and vote on the options. This item will likely be discussed in the evening session.

Any recommendation from D&I will go to City Council April 11, 6:30pm for a final vote.

Residents can attend committee and/or council and speak, by registering in advance as a delegation here: Register as a Delegation



Written by 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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  1. Thank you for your wonderful reporting. I’m hopeful that the widening issue will be voted down. It is not only expensive but will also impact some of the residents who abut to New Street (my daughter lives at the corner of Woodland and New. Widening does not work there). It’s too bad a relatively small group (the cycling clubs) have such a heavy lobby that we can spend additional money doing more studies to allow the city to spend very large sums for something desired by a small minority. The points mentioned by Phil Waggett are very much to the point. I hope someone pays attention to his comments.
    Don Seaman

    • Hi Don,
      I am not necessarily arguing for a widened roadway, but you have to agree that the effect of having one, (namely, the lack of any need for motorists to swerve left to pass the bicycles), would benefit not only the cyclists, but the motorists as well. The portion of New St. between Guelph and Martha has the benefit of the third (middle) lane, so the city’s plan is sufficient.

  2. For those of you who may be new to this discussion, on this website, the so-called “bike path” is not a bike path, rather it’s a multi-use path, where cyclists are forced to avoid pedestrians and animals, many of which are not tethered to their leashes as is required, AND stop at every single cross street. If similar obstructions existed on the roads, the anger from motorists would be high.

    Relegating cycles to this path, exclusively, is a non-starter for people who use their bikes a lot. Both cycles and automobiles are considered vehicles, under the law of Ontario, and a way must be found to share the roadways.

    I think there is enough room on New Street for both, between Guelph and Brant anyway, if the bike portions are marked as the city intends, and motorists are willing to pass as they would any other slower vehicle. Nobody has yet put forward a convincing argument why investing in cycling infrastructure is not a good use of money. Certainly wear and tear on a bike lane would pale in comparison to the cost of repaving the road after only a few years of automobile erosion.

  3. There is a perfectly good bicycle path available in that area. To spend money to put bicycle lanes in that area is redundant. The money could be better spent if it was put into the public transit system which in my opinion could result in more people not using their cars, and this would be year round not just in the nice weather.
    Bicycle lanes have to be shovelled in the winter. Not only shovelled but the snow would have to be removed. Can’t pile up the snow at the edge of the curb….did anyone consider this. It would certainly increase costs.

  4. Marianne Meed Ward Councillor Ward 2 City of Burlington.
    Marianne please keep up your great work as you have since becoming a councillor. You have helped many people through what they felt were difficult time by explaining in simple language the reasons for such actions by the City. I myself appreciated your help when two home were planned next door to me on Mayzel Road.
    Ward two citizens could not ask for a councillor as brilliant as yourself. Thank you so much for all you have done in ward two.

  5. Marianne, I was at the meeting last night and I support option 3. While I have grave concerns about the ADDITIONAL COST of the cycle track on the south side of New Street–particularly in light of the recent property tax increase by the City that came in at three time the rate of inflation, I think it will be effective at creating a safe cycling environment that benefits seniors, commuters, and kids. It is unfortunate that the racing crowd will still continue to demand more! An added advantage is that this lane can still be extended along New Street to Burloak. Reducing the number of lanes on New Street is a non-starter–it invites gridlock. In particular, gridlock west of Guelph Line will deter shoppers from east of Guelph Line from visiting downtown. Despite the utopian vision presented by some cyclists last night of a massive growth of cycling in this town–and despite their highly misleading statistics and survey methods, the reality is that Burlington will always be a bedroom-community that relies on the car. Getting people out of cars is a non-starter unless PUBLIC TRANSIT, both municipally and inter-regionally can be improved; the best data I have from an OBJECTIVE SOURCE is that over 70% of all residents who work do so outside of Burlington. Cycling may be a great recreational activity but it will NEVER be a realistic alternative to the car–except for a tiny number of true believers.

  6. Why just not use the existing bicycle path on the hydro right of way? It is quite close to New street between Cumberland and Martha, and would be much safer and more pleasant than cycling on New Street.

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