Stephen Chin has written a letter to the editor in reply to an article written Oct 20 in the the Examiner about the winter bike-path and the proposed (at the time) new bike path down Lansdowne. Chin thinks that keeping air quality good is more important than worrying about expense. See the original Examiner Article (Oct 20, 2010) below followed by Chin’s response (Examiner November 25, 2010)
Cyclists welcome winter bike path
- Loss of parking revenue is an investment in Montreal cycling, says Ikeman
After numerous requests from local cyclists over the past few years, the City of Westmount has decided to keep open its portion of the de Maisonneuve bike path this winter — but only on a trial-run basis.
This has drawn applause from members of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association (WWCA).
“Keeping the Westmount portion of the de Maisonneuve bike path open in winter will provide a safe route for cyclists through Westmount and allow them to connect to the Montreal winter bike path network, which begins near Atwater Avenue,” WWCA president Dan Lambert wrote in the Examiner last week. “This will make it safer and easier for cycling commuters to use their bikes year-round.”
City councillor Gary Ikeman made the announcement at the October council meeting, pointing out that the move will be expensive.
“The City has made the decision to forgo approximately $75,000 of revenue a year in the wintertime, which would normally be obtained from the use of parking meters east of Greene Avenue on the south side, which are closed in the summer but kept open in the winter,” Ikeman said. “This would be done in order to maintain the ability to keep that route open during the wintertime so that users of the cycling route, from Claremont to Atwater, would be able to use that in the wintertime.”
Ikeman referred to the lost revenue as Westmount’s investment in the regional cycling infrastructure.
“Most of the users are not Westmounters, so the City of Westmount is investing in support of cycling, generally speaking, for the entire network,” he said. “This will favour people living outside of the city limits.”
In order to accommodate winter cycling, the bollards will have to be removed from de Maisonneuve to facilitate snow clearing. “This means there will be two-way cycling traffic on a one-way street,” Ikeman said. “Up until now the City has not been particularly interested in having this because it isn’t an ideal situation, and we should be clear about this — cyclists use that route at their own risk, in particular in the winter.”
He added that snow-removal operations will not be affected by the bike path.
“The snow schedules will be maintained the way they are now because we have priority snow removal for the City to maintain routes that are high priority — school routes, fire routes, and so on. We will not disrupt that schedule in order to favour the cycling routes, but in the normal course of snow clearing, the cycling access in the winter will be available to those who choose to cycle in the winter.”
New path planned to link St. Henri
The City of Westmount is also working with the Montreal Agglomeration to create a north-south bike path from Lansdowne Avenue and de Maisonneuve, which would run down through the Glen, through St. Henri and link with the path along the Lachine Canal.
Director General Duncan Campbell said although Westmount city council approved the new path, construction is in the hands of the Agglomeration. Work on the path is expected to be carried out this fall.
Portions of the new path have already been painted onto the asphalt on Glen Road near St. Jacques Street.
“The schedule is being dictated by the work lower down on de Courcelle, which is undergoing considerable refurbishing,” Campbell said. .
WWCA president Lambert sees both the winter opening of the de Maisonneuve path and the north-south link to the Lachine Canal via Lansdowne Avenue and the Glen as positive steps forward.
“These two initiatives will help promote cycling in Westmount and its neighbouring boroughs by providing safe passage to cyclists,” he wrote. “This will encourage people to cycle rather than take motorized transportation, and thereby improve the long-term liveability of our community.”
Westmount should care about air quality, not expenses(Stephen Chin’s response)
In the Examiner article of October 20th “Cyclists Welcome Winter Bike Path”, a councillor pointed out that the move (opening the Greene to Atwater bike path for 12 months yearly) will be benefitting mostly non-residents of Westmount, dangerous to use (for various reasons), an expensive $75,000 lost parking fees each winter for Westmount and, will be used by cyclists at their own risk.
Among the increasing number of cities in the world that care for air quality enough not to worry about expense in the construction and upkeep of bike paths and making them as safe as possible for cyclists, Westmount’s stingy and narrow outlook on keeping just a short length of bike path open during winter will surely invite ridicule and hilarious surprise.