Platform 2006 Review - INTEGRATE
6. Support and abide by a streamlined bike lane approval process that ensures that bike lanes are implemented in the same year for which they receive funding and are planned/designed.
The bike lane approval process has been streamlined with all bike lane reports going to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in batches, rather than individually. The new streamlined bike lane approval process is not without its problems, but it has made a huge difference in City staff’s ability to get bike lane reports before City Council. Unfortunately, staff continue to operate in a political environment in which 40% of the recommended bike lanes can be deferred (as they were on August 5, 2009) without any debate at Council.
7. [Individual Councillors] Support the bike lane projects in their Ward
- Clear the backlog of bike lanes that have been proposed in 2005-06 but have not yet passed through public consultation for approval.
- Approve the bike lane projects proposed for the next term of Council (2007 - 2010)
Despite the new streamlined approval process and bike lane priority strategy, in 2009 40% of proposed projects were deferred at council. There are many bike lane projects that do not even make it to the council report stage because some councillors demand more public meetings (than are necessary) or, in some cases, direct staff not to bring forward any bike lanes in certain wards. For example, there has not been a single bike lane project recommended in wards 10, 23, 35, 37 and 39 in 2009 or 2010.
8. Create a cross-divisional active transportation committee that will allow staff to review road reconstruction and resurfacing plans, as well as development plans, to ensure that they include improvements to the active transportation infrastructure
No such committee has been created. Cycling infrastructure staff now receive road reconstruction/resurfacing schedules up to 3 years in advance - and they not only look out for Bike Plan proposed bike lanes; they also look for any new bike lane opportunities ("every street is a cycling street"), but that doesn’t mean proposed bike lanes always make it into the final design since pushing for a bike lane is often dependent on the Cycling Infrastructure group's time.
Streets are now rebuilt to new design standards (e.g., zebra striping, etc.) so there are some automatic improvements. The Public Realm Office will not be able to review each and every infrastructure project, so the focus is on training and policy dissemination to all City staff. The other strategy is to get staff to embed design elements earlier in the project planning - this is more cost efficient and results in a more beautiful street rebuild. These improvements can come out of the Public Realm Office's capital budget.
9. Direct City Staff to identify high volume cycling and pedestrian corridors for prioritization in routine maintenance (e.g. snow clearing) and repair (e.g. sidewalk maintenance, road patches).
The City implemented a pilot program of winter maintenance on selected bike paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks on main streets, and will be expanding the pilot to more routes. The City has budgeted for winter maintenance on the Martin Goodman Trail in 2009 and 2010. The approximate cost in 2009 was $200,000.
The new 311 phone portal is supposed to have a 5-day response time for any public reports of damaged roads or sidewalks in need of repair.