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Cyclists hope other Sarnians ready for a ‘road diet’

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Troy Shantz

Sarnia’s cycling infrastructure is about to get a hefty boost.

City Hall has received $590,000 from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program to make it easier and safer for cyclists to get around.

First up — creating a north-south cycling corridor, something identified as badly needed in Sarnia’s 2014 Transportation Master Plan.

“It’ll connect major areas like Canatara Park, Bluewater Health, multiple plazas, and get people across Highway 402,” said David Jackson, the city’s manager of transportation and planning.

The plan calls for a reconfiguration of Colborne Road from the current four traffic lanes into three lanes, opening room for bicycle lanes along each side.

Studies have found such a “road diet” reduces collisions by 47%, Jackson said.

“That’s kind of been recognized by the transportation industry over the last ten years as a better road design, even without the bike lanes.”

It has not yet been decided where the route south of Exmouth Street would go.

The City estimates removing and replacing road lines on Colborne with new paint and additional signage will cost about $250,000.

The provincial program requires a 20% contribution from the city, or about $50,000 from existing budgets, Jackson said.

“The money is available for this, but we plan to go out in the public to get the feedback on the route and the impacts to on-street parking.”

The remaining money, about $340,000, will be used for other improvements identified in the Master Plan and must be spent by the end of 2020.

A plan to add cycling lanes and put parts of Cathcart Boulevard on a “road diet” ran into so much opposition in 2015 the city eventually dropped the idea.

A drop-in public meeting to discuss the design is scheduled for March 27,  6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at King George VI School, 585 O’Dell Ave.

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