Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lexington/Columbia study notice

Something a little different: it's theoretically cycling season, and would be except for the unusual cold outside and the nasty one in my lungs. And with cycling comes the reminder that if you're a cyclist in the City of Waterloo and you need to cross the expressway, your life is nasty, brutish, and potentially short.

So with great interest I learned today that a study is commencing on Columbia Drive/Lexington Road between King St. and Davenport. On the surface, this is great news! This is a vital cycling link across the expressway, and the only one right now that is even close to cycling-friendly (and not much, at that.)

But it's worded in an interesting way-- "City and Regional traffic growth forecasts show the need and justification for operational and capacity improvements to the Columbia Street / Lexington Road corridor." The good folks over at WonderfulWaterloo tell me that this is code for "widening", which is troubling.

What makes a widened Lexington Road troubling from a cyclist's perspective is the overpass on the expressway. Unless the bridge gets widened too, then cycling lanes-- at least continuous cycling lines-- are toast! And the expense of widening the overpass seems... unlikely to get through.

On the other hand, the newly completed Transportation Master Plan makes a lot of references to Lexington being both a key piece of the cycling network, and a recommended recipient of "Road Diet" treatment like Davenport has got. And I believe that Lexington's current car load could be handled as well by two lanes plus turn lanes, as it is by four lanes without. The question is, does Waterloo want it to handle more traffic?

Waterloo desperately needs to connect its sparse, but growing, cycling routes together. If you are a cyclist trying to get across the expressway in Waterloo, Lexington should be of critical importance to you. It could connect the nice bike routes in Eastbridge to the rest of the city.

If this matters to you, let the planners know.

1 comment:

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