Sir: All of the comments on The Chatham Voice website in support of a bike lane on McNaughton Avenue in Chatham have been well articulated but, in my humble opinion, are missing an important point.
Now, before everyone jumps on me for agreeing with the council decision, please allow me to point out that my wife and I are active bike riders and I have supported bike lanes in new construction because it made sense.
The point that is being missed is that the advocates of the bike lane on McNaughton at no time demonstrated that there was any need or desire by the general biking community for this bike lane. Support from a number of avid bikers and those with a business interest for sure, but no data that the bike lane would be used more so than the current bike lanes out there.
You may not want to hear it, but the current bike lanes (which are not cheap to install) are not well used – in fact the bike lanes in my community were put in to slow traffic and not because of any demonstrated need by the biking community.
Yes, the biking community will say that this is because the bike lanes are not interconnected, but with scarce tax dollars, local pools, bridges and roads under attack (with threatened closure), I cannot operate on the feeling that, “If we build it (bike lanes), they (the bike riders) will come.” That type of thinking is neither fact based nor reliable.
My decision was not against bike lanes but rather against a bike lane in this location … and sorry but what local residents want does matter – they have as much say as the biking advocates do.
If something were happening in your neighbourhood, you would want that same consideration to apply to you.