Why city staff recommend council not proceed with protected bike lanes on Wyandotte Street East

A cyclist uses the sidewalk along Wyandotte Street East near Pillette.  (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
A cyclist uses the sidewalk along Wyandotte Street East near Pillette. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)

A decades-long battle to reshape a section of Wyandotte Street East that's been described as chaotic and dangerous returns to Windsor city council on Monday.

City staff say a "road diet" that would narrow a six-kilometre stretch of the street by replacing one lane in each direction with parking spots and protected bike lanes should not move forward, despite it being the preferred option during public consultations.

Staff estimate it would cost $1.1 million to reconstruct the section of Wyandotte between the east end of Walkerville through to Farrow Riverside Miracle Park, and an additional $377,000 to buy equipment needed to maintain the infrastructure.

The report to council said the street is already too busy for a road diet, according to industry guidelines, and that traffic will only increase as commuters are diverted to Wyandotte while the Riverside Drive Vista project ramps up.

Staff note there are 201 driveways to homes and businesses on this part of Wyandotte where protective barriers for cyclists can't be placed.

This is an example of what a portion of Wyandotte Street East would look like as part of the project if it moved forward.
This is an example of what a portion of Wyandotte Street East would look like as part of the project if it moved forward.

This is an example of what a portion of Wyandotte Street East would look like as part of the project if it moved forward. (City of Windsor)

Parking spaces needed, says BIA

Terry Yaldo owns a convenience store on Wyandotte just past Dawson Road. He describes himself as a cyclist who enjoys biking through the city and is chair of the Pillette Village Business Improvement Association.

"I do cycle and I do have a vehicle I get around the city with at the same time, so I kind of look at it from both ends, but speaking as the Pillette Village chair, parking is the biggest thing," said Yaldo.

He wants to see the area become more pedestrian friendly but has heard from other business owners who fear they could lose parking spots that would reduce business.

"There's no easy or right answer, but if we eliminate parking it will cause a lot more problems in this area."

However, designs presented to council include parking along Wynadotte Street and would not eliminate parking.

Yaldo believes the correct move right now is to get bike lanes a block away along Riverside Drive as part of the Riverside Vista project.

The report to council suggests the best option for an east-to-west bike path is either an alternate route along Riverside Drive East or along Ontario Street to St. Rose Avenue to Jerome Street.

The Wyandotte diet proposed adding protected bike lanes to a section of the street by eliminating one lane in each direction.
The Wyandotte diet proposed adding protected bike lanes to a section of the street by eliminating one lane in each direction.

The Wyandotte diet proposed adding protected bike lanes to a section of the street by eliminating one lane in each direction. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

But neither option should be considered a priority above shovel-ready projects already identified under the Active Transit Master Plan, according to the report.

Council effectively killed the Wyandotte option during budget deliberations earlier this year.

In the final moments of deliberations, Mayor Drew Dilkens introduced a plan, which council supported, to spend $225,000 on traffic calming measures along the stretch instead of the previously proposed road diet.

During the environment, transportation and public safety standing committee meeting last week, people who bike the area told members of council they should support the road diet.

"Everyone speeds along there because there's nothing to stop them," said Diana Furlong, who cycles in the area.

"I know there's a lot of speed traps there too but there's nothing to slow it down."

The report highlighted that people generally follow the 50 km/h speed limit during the day but speed through the area between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to data from April 30, 2021 to April 30, 2022.

There have been a total of 948 collisions on Wyandotte Street between Glengarry Avenue and Lauzon Road between 2020 to 2023, with 35 of those involving cyclists.

A section of Wyandotte Street East will see traffic calming measures added instead of a previously proposed road diet.
A section of Wyandotte Street East will see traffic calming measures added instead of a previously proposed road diet.

Earlier this year, Windsor City Council voted to add traffic calming measures to a section of Wyandotte Street East. (Chris Ensing/CBC)