Centre Wellington councillors unanimously agree separated bike lanes should be added to St. David Street N. in Fergus when the busy corridor is reconstructed in 2023.
At Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, councillors endorsed staff’s recommendation to proceed with the separated bike lane option for the street’s redesign.
John Scott, with local cycling advocacy group Green Lanes, urged council to support the bike lane proposal calling it "not a decision at all," but rather "a reckoning with our future."
“What you are agreeing to is more than a street design,” Scott told councillors. “It is where we as a society need to go in the future because of a responsibility we have to take care of each other and take care of the planet earth.”
Several councillors voiced they believe the bike lanes will contribute to economic development in the area, including Coun. Ian MacRae who said providing a range of transportation options increases a downtown’s attractiveness to locals and visitors.
“My own personal experience is now that I'm on a bike, I'm spending a lot more time in downtown Fergus shopping and doing my groceries and then cycling home and finding that it's an enjoyable destination to go to stop, have a coffee, get a muffin,” he said. “And I’m seeing more people doing that.”
The separated bike lanes proposal will see the total number of parking spaces on the St. David Street N. between St. Andrew Street and Hill Street reduced from 42 to 19, manager of engineering Adam Gilmore told council.
High-level estimates indicate the project is expected to cost around $4 million. All four reconstruction options considered by staff came in at around that price.
Following final approval at the next regular council meeting, the township will get started on the project’s detailed design and apply for provincial funding.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com