One of Corunna’s main streets could soon have dedicated cycling lanes.
St. Clair Township is considering reducing Hill Street’s four lane road to two lanes and claiming the outer lanes for cyclists as part of a so-called road diet to reduce traffic problems simply.
A road diet reduces the number of lanes on a roadway to improve safety or provide space for other modes of travel - like bikes.
“Many letters have been received from concerned residents regarding the overall safety of Hill Street,” read a report from Paul daSilva, coordinator of engineering.
Hill Street is lined with signs asking drivers to slow down.
“A road diet could resolve a number of concerns as a way to calm traffic and provide cyclists an unimpeded lane for commuting,” says daSilva.
A traffic study shows Hill Street is a “good candidate” for the road diet, according to the Ministry of Environment. They recommend any road with traffic of less than 15,000 vehicles a day should be looked at for repurposing. Hill Street carries about 7,500 vehicles a day according to the April study.
daSilva acknowledged not everyone will be thrilled with the idea.
“Although we feel that the implementation of a road diet will be generally well received, similar projects in other municipalities point to the potential of strong opposition from some residents,” he says.
“Generally, the loss of on-street parking is a primary concern, followed by the notion that ‘if it isn’t broken, then why fix it’ mentality.”
That’s why he recommends a lengthy consultation process, starting with a survey of residents along and adjacent to Hill Street. There would also be public presentations about the concept by the township before a decision is made.
“I don’t think this is going to be a fast process, I think we’re looking at least a year before we want to make a final decision on this,” says daSilva.
Staff will report back to council soon on what the initial survey will ask and how it will be conducted.
Mayor Steve Arnold says he looks forward to learning “a flavour of the feeling of the general population.”
The potential lane changes would stretch from Queen Street to Lyndoch Street. Staff estimate putting in the bike lanes as traffic calming measures would cost about $5,600.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent