'Unsafe': BRT bumping cyclists from King Street to Dundas Place
LONDON, ONT. -- The Dundas Place flex street doesn’t offer safe space for riding according to a growing chorus of cyclists, but soon it may be their best option.
"It’s completely unsafe," says downtown cyclist Jeff Blake. "York Street is not safe, there are too many buses, Dundas isn’t safe, and Queens isn’t safe, so King is the only one."
In the spring, construction will begin to replace the protected bike lane on King Street with the city’s first dedicated Bus Rapid Transit lane.
City hall confirms the four blocks of Dundas Place, where speeds were recently reduced to 30km/h, is the new recommended cycling route through the core.
"It is an important component in the overall biking network in the east-west bikeway plan," explains Garfield Dales, Division Manager of Transportation Planning.
But directing bike riders to use Dundas Place is flatly rejected by Ben Cowie, owner of the London Bicycle Cafe.
"It’s the traffic volumes on Dundas that make it unsafe,” says Cowie. “No bicycle planner in the world would say it's safe to mix 5,000 vehicles a day with bikes in mixed traffic."
Cowie would prefer to see the BRT makeover of King Street include installation of an east-west protected bike lane.
"There are two free-flowing traffic lanes on King Street, one of which could easily accommodate a safe protected bike lane," he adds.
Dales assures cyclists that the multi-year construction plan for BRT routes in the core will take public input into consideration, including any safety concerns on Dundas Place.
"Cyclist safety is an important consideration as we develop those construction staging plans," he says.
Construction of protected bike lanes connecting the Old East Village to Downtown London is underway, but the lanes will end at the intersection of Dundas and Wellington Street.
Cowie argues that the downtown core is a destination for cyclists, so offering no protected bike lanes within those blocks is flawed.
"We’ve declared a climate emergency since these (BRT) designs were done, and I think that should have something to do with how we design our streets."
Public feedback on the King Street BRT lane and the cycling plan is being collected here until November 11, 2020.