This image is taken from the City of London handout describing the proposed painted cycling lane that will be created on Colborne Street between Oxford and Cheapside Streets. It can be noted that there are boulevards (“Planting strips”), each over 5 metres wide, presently existing on each side of the road and these are expected to exist after the project is completed.

Discussions developed recently when the City of London announced its intentions to extent the Colborne Street cycling track north from Oxford Street to Cheapside Street. The criticisms of the plan appear to centre around the City’s intention to create a painted cycling lane rather than the protected one that exists south of Oxford.

The City indicated that the painted cycling path “…avoids costly construction of road widening and its related impacts to things like trees, hydro poles and properties”. The City also indicated that the plan was consistent with design guidance provided in Ontario’s Book 18 of the Ontario Traffic Manual. The City also indicated that protected cycling lanes will to installed for streets with higher traffic speeds an volumes. Yet, when a representative of the City was asked whether any specific traffic studies were conducted that would reveal traffic speeds, it was denied that any such study was conducted or available.

The proposed cycling lanes on Colborne will allow the continued existence of broad boulevards on each side of the road.

This is a view looking north along the east side of Colborne Street just north of St James Street. The boulevard (“planting strip”) located here is over 5 metres wide. There could be plenty of room to widen the road and still keep a wide boulevard. Note that the trees are not near the road edge and the only replacement would be of the utility poles. Unlike the City’s suggestion, the properties of owners would see little effect by the widening. Thus there is plenty of room here to create a protected cycling lane.

A figure taken from Ontario’s Book 18 is shown below. It describes how the level of cycling facilities might be planned by noting the speed and volume of vehicles on the road of interest.

Presumably the City of London considered this nomograph when selecting the painted cycle path option. But if the City did not conduct a specific study to obtain data on speed for example, how could they use this nomograph properly?

It is an interesting question. But it has been observed on a number of previous occasions that the City denies that it has any specific data on these issues. And one cannot know because the City is not obliged to be clear to the public on such issues.

As a result Gorski Consulting has decided to conduct a study on Colborne Street to obtain base data to evaluate whether the painted cycling lane is the best option. Stay tuned as these matters develop.