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Province sends Sarnia’s cyclists a big gift-wrapped present

Published on

Troy Shantz

Sarnia’s urban cycling network is about to slip into a higher gear.

The city is getting $590,081 for biking-related enhancements already outlined in its Transportation Master Plan, thanks to a grant from Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan

“This is very significant. It’s certainly more than we anticipated,” said David Jackson, the city’s manager of development and transportation.

Improvements identified in the Master Plan cover 140 kilometres of streets and paths, and include new bike lanes, multi-use pathways and other road enhancements to improve two-wheeled commuting, Jackson said.

“When this type of infrastructure is provided it can bring out a lot of those cyclists who want that separated lane to feel more comfortable when riding.”

The grant won’t cover everything on the wish list but the city can re-apply for funds annually until 2020, Jackson said.

The city is also kicking in $147,520 for a total investment of $737,601 in bike lanes and other improvements.

Staff will prioritize cycling projects this winter and will hold public consultations in coming months to get a better sense of biking priorities. Implementation will begin in the spring.

Jackson said when the projects are complete, data assessing their usefulness will be sent back to the province.

Sarnia is one of 120 municipalities getting grants from a $93-million fund generated by Ontario’s Cap and Trade program.

The chair of Bluewater Trails credits the city for developing the Master Plan in 2014.

“If council had not made the investment in the Transportation Master Plan and did not approve it, these grants would not have been possible,” Tony Barrand said.

Lambton Public Health collected fresh data for the grant application this fall.

Staff and volunteers monitored Colborne Road, Maxwell Street, Confederation Street, George Street, Vidal Street and Maria Street. They counted nearly 1,400 cyclists, or an average of 47 cyclists per hour during 15, two-hour sampling periods.

The highest volume was on Colborne near Exmouth, where about 100 cyclists and more than 100 walkers were recorded per hour at that location.

Sarnia’s Transportation Master Plan can be viewed on the city’s website, www.city.sarnia.on.ca.

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