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Vigorous Debate Anticipated Over Bike Lanes On Wyandotte St. E

There could be a showdown at Windsor City Council Monday night over whether to install bike lanes on the section of Wyandotte St. E.

The city’s administration recommends a 6 km detour for cyclists away from the Pillette Village and Olde Riverside Business Improvement Areas. It would reroute cyclists up Pillette Rd. to South National Rd. and then to Jefferson Blvd. Since most of the infrastructure for that is already in place, the city does not anticipate much in the way of cost.

The executive director of those BIAs, Bridget Scheuerman, and the chair of Bike Windsor-Essex, Lori Newton, are not in favour of that option.

“To suggest that cyclists can do that kind of detour is ridiculous,” says Newton. “If you were to flip it and say what if we do this for cars, everyone would be enraged.”

Dwayne Dawson, executive director of operations with the City of Windsor, stresses he is not against the principal of putting bike lanes on Wyandotte St. E, but with the current infrastructure, he says it just is not possible without affecting east-west traffic through the city. He fears it would create major backups on one of the city’s most traveled commuter corridors.

“We can’t just do that without proper study,” he says.

Scheuerman does not agree. She says traffic along Wyandotte St. E is too fast and adding in bike lanes could make the road safer for residents.

She thinks the city should make Wyandotte one lane in each direction, and add a turning lane up the middle. She believes that will leave enough room to accommodate both bike lanes and on-street parking, something that she says is in critically short supply.

“We don’t have any parking to spare,” she says. “We’re not eligible for off-street parking.”

Dawson rejects that option as well, again because it would cause delays.

Both Newton and Shuermann would like another meeting with city administration to come up with new ideas to accommodate cyclists. Dawson admits the city needs to access what would need to be done to put in bike lanes without compromising traffic flow.