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Cyclists hope to make inroads

The Belleville Intelligencer: Cyclists hope to make inroads

Posted By W. BRICE MCVICAR THE INTELLIGENCER

Cyclists in Belleville may gain a little more control of the road depending upon the municipality’s transportation planning network.

A meeting scheduled for next week will allow cyclists to tell the city how to improve their integration into traffic flow in Belleville. The Belleville cyclist advisory group will meet with Coun. Tom Lafferty and director of recreation, culture and community services, Mark Fluhrer Nov. 10, to provide suggestions and outline how the city could make it safer for cyclists.

"I want to see painted cycle lanes on the streets, not dedicated bike lanes, I want painted lanes on existing streets," said Dave Smith, who is leading the push for safer cycling in Belleville. "We need to educate drivers and get cyclists feeling more comfortable about going from A to B."

Smith said the Ontario government is trying to get more people out of their vehicles and cycling would seem a natural choice, especially when it comes to trips within the city. Cyclists are entitled to a portion of the road but motorists do not always provide them that right, he added.

Integrating cyclists into the traffic system requires a change of attitudes for both cyclists and motorists, Smith said.

"I would think that cyclists will be telling me they want to see this street and that street with painted cycle lanes," Smith said. "Those of us who have been cycling for years have our favourite pathways and, for example, I regularly use Bridge Street yet there are certain areas of Bridge Street where it’s difficult to cycle and others where you are safe as a church."

Fluhrer said cycling and transportation, from a planning perspective, requires an integrated approach. While the city has had great success with the paved trails along the Bay Shore Trail and at Zwicks Park, cyclists still need to be involved in the overall transportation plan, he said.

The road network is the natural route of cycling and if the two forms of transportation can be meshed together seamlessly it means easier commuting for all, Fluhrer said.

"As you can imagine there’s some standards that have to be followed and that’s what you’ve seen in the development of some of the recreational trails," Fluhrer said. "The challenge is you have multiple users and a transportation network should include all forms of transportation including cyclists but most of the networks designed in most municipalities have not been designed in that manner."

That’s not to suggest the city’s plans cannot be redesigned, he added, because the road allowances in North America are quite wide.

The 7 p. m. meeting is at the Quinte Sports Centre next Tuesday.