Future of Windsor’s cyclists uncertain
By Quentin Doak
Windsor cycling has been developing for many years but real change to reach downtown is slow.
In 2001 the BUMP (Bicycle Use Master Plan) was developed to help create a safe, connected and well used space for cyclists, however the plan did not include a route to get into the downtown.
As recent plans have been in the works for an upgrade to Ouellette Ave., cyclists hoped these plans would include bike lanes. These hopes were dashed as councilors said no to the bike lanes on Ouellette between Wyandotte and Elliott St.
“We believe this was a big mistake,” said Lori Newton, executive director for Bike Friendly Windsor Essex.
Newton feels there is no safe way for cyclist to get into downtown Windsor. Although the issue has been addressed many times in the past, no progress has been made.
“In 17 years, we’ve done very little to address the recommendations of BUMP,” said Newton. “It lays a really wonderful, solid foundation for how to think about creating safe streets and safe cycling infrastructure.”
Recently, the city undertook the Downtown Transportation Plan. It is a strategy to bring more vehicle access to downtown Windsor. Cycling was not included in this plan, which is now in its final phase.
“There was a streetscape plan which is now in phase six. This includes the area closest to the river,” said Joesette Eugeni, manager of Transportation Planning for the City of Windsor.
“It does not call for cycling on Ouellette,” said Eugeni.
There are a few factors that come into play when it comes to planning bike lanes. The BUMP plan included a map of networks as a reference for future bike plans. However infrastructure considered for cycling is discussed on an individual project basis. BUMP is a good guide for getting projects connected although it is not definite and can change with city planning.
The Downtown Transportation Plan identified other routes that run parallel to Ouellette Avenue which do not have bike lanes.
“The planning department was trying to create a consistent feel with what was previous achieved,” said Eugeni.
Although parts of the BUMP plan have not been implemented, cyclists still hope it will help with future planning.