I am a resident of Sidney who lives on Mills Road. I recently learned of the Town of Sidney’s Active Transportation Plan. Having now read the plan in its entirety, it proposes creating bike lanes on a number of streets, banning resident parking on those streets, creating cyclist-activated crossings on major thoroughfares and other measures to have “a safe and complete active transportation network that is connected and inviting.”
For whom? And why? are my immediate questions. The very unavailable survey (done online for a limited period of time) claims it had 231 responses, of which 64 responses state they cycle in Sidney (39 at least once a week). Yet, 136 respondents walk and 127 drive, according to that same survey.
So, we are going to banish parking and disrupt hundreds of Sidney residents for 8 km of new bikeways at an estimated cost of $3.5-4.5 million over the next 10 years…for 64 respondents! Cyclists will have their own lanes, but those who walk, or use walkers, mobility devices and strollers will share the already too narrow, congested and, in places deteriorating sidewalks. Drivers will face a lack of resident parking, traffic slowing measures, and the joys of avoiding uninsured and unlicensed cyclists riding through the town.
The many elderly residents of the two care homes and one retirement complex on Mills Road, their staff and visitors as well as all the residents and their visitors and service providers on these no-parking streets will undoubtedly become more “active” as they have to walk to and from their farther-away parked cars, day and night, if they can find a space on unlit side streets. And, the 45% of Sidney residents over 65 years of age will surely see the benefits of cycling “actively” around town rather than boringly walking or waiting in vain for their formerly frequent visitors who can no longer easily park nearby.
This is a solution in search of a problem. The Town of Sidney should, by all means, spend our tax dollars on sidewalks and intersection crossings and fix the congested and dangerous Beacon-Pat Bay Highway intersection. But expanding or creating new bike lanes in the town core, banning parking on several streets and disrupting so many residents’ lives so cyclists feel safer and unimpeded as they travel through Sidney is ill-conceived, unkind and unnecessary!
Robert C. Worthington