By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
A proposed new cycle track could make parts of the downtown a lot safer for Oshawa’s cycling community and connect a pair of major trails.
The Athol Street Cycle track project will create cycling infrastructure on Athol Street between Mary and Centre streets, and could also be expanded to provide connections with pavement markers to the Michael Starr Trail, south of Bruce Street and the Joseph Kolodzie Oshawa Creek Trail, west of city hall.
Currently, a city report details a trio of options for the proposed track and staff are seeking council approval to hold a public consultation for the project. Councillors have already approved $250,000 for the project as part of the 2016 capital budget.
The three options, which range in cost and details, will all involve the removal of on-street parking along Athol Street, which a report estimates could cost the city approximately $32,000 in parking revenue based on 2015 numbers.
The first option, the priciest of the trio, would cost approximately $150,000 and would see the construction of a two-way cycle track on the south side of Athol Street. The track would include two-way traffic for cyclists and be separated from automotive traffic by a half-metre tall raise curb.
The second option could see a one-way cycle track with mountable curbs on both sides of Athol Street at a cost of $145,000, while the third option would see a combination one-way cycle track and bike lane at a cost of $77,000.
For Joe Arruda, the chair of the city’s active transportation advisory committee, the group he leads sees the second option as the most desirable, and said as such in a recommendation to council.
“The option we supported seemed to be the natural, normal, safe cycling choice and would keep flow on Athol with the bike route that is there east of Mary Street,” he says.
Arruda says the committee felt that the first option with a two-way cycle track on the same side of the street would confuse cyclists.
“This project is a very important one in promoting safe, active transportation choices and would give residents a safe way to come down from the north part of the city and make their way to the lake via Oshawa Creek trail connection and I think would be the first separated cycle track in Durham Region,” he says.
The project is a small part of the active transportation measures proposed in the city’s Plan 20Twenty for the downtown. In the 2017 budget, $1.125 million in active transportation initiatives are set for approval.
The report comes before council at its first regular meeting of 2017 on Jan. 30.