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Find the money to do this: Donna Hilsinger

Monday, November 19, 2012   by: Darren Taylor

City Council has been advised to pedal forward.

A foursome of bicycling enthusiasts associated with Algoma University’s Community Economic and Social Development Program addressed Council Monday, urging it to “pedal in the right direction” and do more to accommodate local bicyclists.

The group submitted a document with many recommendations, among them a call for installation of bicycle paths to be included in future street upgrades, or, if a bike path is not possible, to install a paved multi-use path along one side of a street and a sidewalk on the other side for pedestrians, scooters and wheelchairs.

The group, including Donna St. Jules, Allyson Schmidt, Mostafa Khaled and Jonathan Young, said a survey it conducted among local bicyclists showed a request for a direct route between Sault College, Algoma University and Algoma U’s Downtown residence.

The group told Council the City simply hasn’t done enough for bicyclists.

The group’s report stated there have been many missed opportunities to develop bicycle-friendly paths in the past at facilities such as Strathclair, the John Rhodes Centre and Bellevue Park.

They were also concerned that installation of planned bicycle paths, such as one on Queen Street, will not materialize, despite promises.

Council voted to refer the group’s report to City Staff for consideration.

In a related presentation to Council from the Sault Trails Advocacy Committee, Donna Hilsinger told Council the City needs to be “bold and progressive” claiming “the Hub Trail will attract and retain people here (Sault Ste. Marie).”

Hilsinger’s comment came in regards to a City Engineering and Planning report for Council entitled “Hub Trail and Cycling Master Plan “Next Steps.”

The report states a Cycling Master Plan (CMP) builds on the Hub Trail system.

It recommends that engineering and design services look at improving access for bicyclists along three paths: a north cycling route to the Hiawatha Highlands and to Sixth Line, a west cycling route from the Public Works Centre to the West End Community Centre and Second Line, as well as spoke connections to Strathclair.

The City report emphasizes the need for these areas to be “shovel ready” should money become available from the federal or provincial governments to help with those projects.

The recommendation to accept the report and consider finding money for better bicycle paths in the Sault in next year’s budget deliberations was accepted by Council.

“Find the money it takes to do this” Hilsinger said.

Mayor Debbie Amaroso agreed, noting “we need to find some cash, don’t we?”






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wife 11/19/2012 7:15:02 PM Report

Sorry Mayor Debbie and all cyclists.
We need to find money to replace Sewers , Water Lines and fill all the Pot Holes in this City. If you want to ride a bike buy bright colored clothing and put a very bright light front and rear on your bike. Start respecting the rules of the road you are not preferred citizens. Do the same as disabled citizens do that get around with a scooter obey the law.
Prrrrrrr 11/19/2012 7:56:24 PM Report

Hey wife...try it you might like it!....Just do it!!!!!
sportsfan17 11/19/2012 8:02:14 PM Report

The funny thing is, most of what cyclists want wouldn't cost that much money. The space on our roads is already there, room that was made for snow storage in the winter when the plows go by. All I want is painted lines and bicycle symbols on the road that designate a safe and visual place for cyclists to ride safely. I don't believe we actually need these "bicycle friendly paths" at Strathclair, the John Rhodes or Bellevue Park. They are just another extension of the hub trail that would provide minimal use for citizens wanting to travel safely from home to work or vice versa.

Preferred citizens? I just prefer to arrive alive and I if I choose to do so by cycling, I have every right to do that on the road on my bike as you do in your car. I do wear bright clothing, I do signal before I turn and I do stop at all designated areas, just like a car does. The problem is, there are arrogant and uneducated DRIVERS that treat us as if we are not there and have no right to the roads. But we do have every legal right to be there. And considering in SSM, it is illegal for me to ride on the sidewalk as an adult, where do you expect me to ride?

Now I do agree with you on one point. Yes, our money needs to be spent on upgrading our sewers, water lines and pot holes. Pot holes in particular I agree with because not only are they dangerous to my car in the winter but they are deadly to me as a cyclist, with many potholes languishing right in my path on the sides of our roads, often projecting me into the paths of oncoming motorists.
AnnieP 11/19/2012 8:07:53 PM Report

We NEED to find money for bike lanes! Not only is it good for the environment, it is good for your body. It is a great asset when you want to attract the new "health smart" generation to the Soo. Get moving Sault Ste Marie! Let's make our city a place that people would LOVE to live in.
sooboy 11/19/2012 8:17:42 PM Report

Instead of going to Council with both hands out why doesn't the bike group raise money for a bike lane.
Brianne 11/19/2012 8:42:50 PM Report

This city is so far behind the times. Cities with smaller populations have more for their citizens than this city. Bicycle paths, scooter paths........... heck, a bathroom at the boardwalk would be a great idea ! Have had many a tourist stop me on the boardwalk " is there public facilities nearby " I say nope, you have to drive to a restaurant to use theirs after the mall is closed.

Lets get with it city council !
bumbacco 11/19/2012 8:47:53 PM Report

This is a great city to live in!!! The cyclists need to remember we have no money and the government is taking pensions,sick time and collective bargaining rights etc ...the country is financially falling apart. We have homeless people here and hungry people and we have needs that surpass the bicycle paths, like taxes,food banks and shelters. We have women and children being abused by the hundreds in SSM and maybe just maybe we should focus on that for a year or 2 and make it a priority and then see how the economy is to put in bike paths.. I am not saying safe riding areas are not a great thing but we really need to prioritize.We also have a bi-law in place that bikes are to be put away and not swerving in the snow and potentially causing accidents they should be away now!!!! See ya in the spring!!

sportsfan17 11/19/2012 9:10:55 PM Report

Regardless of where the money comes from SooBoy, we still need city council to have a plan ready.

Bumbacco, it seems like you have a skewed image on financial cost of bike lanes. As I mentioned in my previous post, we already have the space on our roads for the bike lanes. The roads are made wide enough for snow storage in the winter and so that we may still have the driving space for two to four lanes of traffic (depending on the road you are on). In the summer, all we need are cyclist lanes painted on the roads to identify a safe place for us to ride. That will not cost nearly as much as you might think.

And I agree with you that cyclists shouldn't be riding in the winter, as it could potentially be a danger to themselves and to motorists.
honda1984 11/19/2012 9:25:12 PM Report

it seems we have a few that have no value for a dollar ..taxes keep going up just to pay the nessaties.yet we have a few that think that the money tree will never run out.maybe all these people and there must be thousands here in the soo could take a collection for a bike path at there meetings.
ehbcd2 11/19/2012 9:51:42 PM Report

Nothing against bicyclists, but they can ride on the roads at no extra cost to anyone. There has to be a limit on what society pays for and as others have said, there are higher priorities in this city. I am not willing to have my taxes raised higher than they already are, so a relativley small group of people can ride their bikes, sorry.
Nunavut 11/19/2012 9:56:50 PM Report

Plain and simple , THERE ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT PRIORITIES! we cannot afford these bicycle lanes and frills.
Also any one that states that the roads can already fit them because we have lanes that get half used with snow is wrong. Those lanes are filled in the summer by cars and even in the winter most people try to accomadate by staggering some what to fit a lane and a half . Also as soon as the bicycle fans get their lanes, they will shortly therafter want the city to keep them plowed in winter so they can ride all year . (no one should be riding a bike in winter ice conditions by the way!)So more tax money thrown at the few from the pockets of the rest of us that either can't use a bike due to circumstances or by fee choice don't want to.
Snowdon 11/19/2012 10:42:43 PM Report

A bicycle lane is not a frill - it contributes to the health of a town's citizens, and contributes to a more eco-friendly form of transportation which is positive for the environment.

Studies have shown millions of dollars worth of health cost savings from installing bike lanes:

Where do you think the money for health costs come from? You. It is in YOUR best interests to have as many people biking and engaging in healthy activities like this as possible.

Oh, and lastly, glad to read the comment by "wife" - you can't have a Sootoday article about biking without someone labeling every cyclist in the Soo as someone who doesn't respect the rules of the road. Doesn't matter how many times you read about drunk drivers, or accidents caused by driver error, or speeders - you never read a comment (and you certainly wouldn't from 'wife') labeling all drivers as disrespectful of the rules. What a double standard. And this is from someone who isn't a regular cyclist on city streets.
sooboy 11/19/2012 11:54:08 PM Report

There must be a lot of low IQ types riding bicycles. I see several every night dressed in very dark clothing with no lights on their bikes.
Ru55 11/19/2012 11:54:55 PM Report

I don't have a problem with this IF and only IF cyclist of all ages start paying there fair share, for example, licenses and insurance should be mandatory for any and all bicycles. They are users of our roads (which are in dire need of repairs), and I feel that since all motor vehicles HAVE to HAVE both the above, I don't understand why this has never been brought to anyone's attention before.
guestwho 11/20/2012 1:08:53 AM Report

I`ve been using city sidewalks and back streets to get around town for years,I think you got to be nuts sharing the roadway with cars!Why sidewalks are not allowed is beyond me,you see someone walking towards you,move over,it`s called sharing and accidents there won`t kill you.Testing a drivers patience driving 2 or 3 abreast,not smart and you will lose!Being right is not important if your dead.
Snowdon 11/20/2012 3:17:05 AM Report

Ru55 - have I missed something and bike riders no longer have to pay taxes?
keeper 11/20/2012 3:18:34 AM Report

The small number of cyclist in this city does not warrant anymore major cost as proposed by the bike lobby. Painting bike lanes as they do in other cities is reasonable, shutting vehicle lanes down on Queen is not. Less than 5 percent of people here use alternative transportation other than their vehicle and that would include public transportation. The hub trail cost so far is in excess of 14 million and does not generate any income for the city. We lost 400 good paying jobs at St Mary's paper, city council should be looking for cuts not spending more.
Nunavut 11/20/2012 7:31:20 AM Report

I agree that bicycle license plates (and plates for the scooters and e bikes)...would help identify the careless ones so they can be reported, and also raise funds for these bicycle lane frills.
learningaswego 11/20/2012 8:56:24 AM Report

You can have both needed infrastructure upgrades AND more and safer bike routes. It's not an either/or thing.

And bicycle use is growing greatly every year - just ask any vendor that sells large part as a direct result of more, and safer places to ride. People want safe ways and routes to ride for both recreation, and to go to and from a job. If there were safe routes for people to get to and from jobs, you would see hundreds of more cyclists on these routes every day.

More people cycling is a good thing for our society and city on the whole. More places to bike safely means many, many more people will bicycle.
Point Blank 11/20/2012 9:52:11 AM Report

I'm not neccessarily opposed to the idea of bike lanes (although I do agree that there are more important issues), but maybe the cyclists should start a petition and find out what type of public support there actually is for their proposal.
Of course, if they are successful in getting what they want, the dog owners will be next, asking for the city (taxpayers) to give and/or pay for property for them to have their dogs run around!
And please...let's not go by what the Mayor says. She hasn't made a serious decision since she got into office!

Nunavut 11/20/2012 10:12:04 AM Report

So learningaswego………. That is sort of like saying if we build another swimming people more people will swim………….but it does not matter if we cannot afford it, just do it….is what you are saying.

Nope frills are frills we cannot afford it.
sportsfan17 11/20/2012 10:50:48 AM Report

Three things Nunavut.

The first regarding your comment about the our road size and the snow usage in the winter. If you re-read my previous comments, not once did I mention that the snow covers "half" the road in the winter. I said there is room on the roads that is essentially reserved for snow buildup in the winter. It's a reality we face as a Canadian city, the snow has got to go somewhere and we can't expect the plows to clean perfectly to the curb every time. It is this small amount of space (likely not even wider than a metre) that would be perfectly suited for bike lanes in the summer months with painted lines. Paint is a minimal and likely, biennial cost (every two years).

Second, I agree that the E-Bikes and Scooters should certainly be licensed. The lack of respect shown by many riders on the road is appalling (though you can't bunch everyone into one category). As soon as you start bunching cyclists into that column though, it gets dangerous. Are we going to start requiring 10 year-old kids to have a license to ride their bike?

Finally, lets talk about frills. You deem the creation of bike lanes and promotion of cycling culture a frill. Do you deem our health care costs a frill? I for one am immensely proud to be Canadian and fully support universal health care. I think every citizen in the world should have a right to it. However, the reality is, the cost of health care continues to rise and likely won't stop anytime soon. As a society, we can work to keep these health costs down by creating a culture of cycling and active transportation for our children and for their children. It is the only way we are going to defeat and prevent the onset of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity (specifically childhood obesity), osteoporosis, etc. These conditions are estimated to cost health care systems hundreds of billions of dollars each year around the world. You seem to be concerned with your tax dollars being spent on frills Nunavut. Does that sound like a frill to you?

And regardless of what the health care savings vs. cost of implementation would be, there is NO WAY that you can deny the long-term health benefits of promoting bike culture and regular riding for Saultites and Canadians.
Moonshiner 11/20/2012 11:37:03 AM Report

Bicycles are great....problem here is climate,but then you could use the paths for cross country skiing....just watch out for maniacs on 120mph snowmachines....but we do have a new hospital....and fractures are good for oxycodone prescriptions..but you could get mugged in your own home for your pain meds here...I heard there were toxic quantities of ciggarette buts on the trails we do have.and they are full of pedestrians sneaking off like condemmed souls ,puffing like locomotives,in the frosty air!Yes,indeed,the trails will need policing,permits,user fees etc,and the best part is....the PUC will look after it for us!!!
Nunavut 11/20/2012 12:00:47 PM Report

Well Sportfan you measure the roads differently than how they are used and operate. Only roads that have paved shoulders have the room you talk about, try going down the four lane Queeen Street or Wellington when a bicycle is in inside lane, all traffic must merge into one lane to pass them , so absolutely no room to steal some for a bike lane. As for health benefit your reasoning I could argue that we should have a swiming pool in every Ward because it will improve the health of the citizens !.. Sure it will but we can't afford it. Also any health cost savings go to the province not the city.
So city tax rates go up for these bike lane frills.....and yes I do think a ten year old should have a bike plate, that way they can be identified if need be, just like a car driver is. Will improve safety and teach accountability.
AceOfBass 11/20/2012 2:22:02 PM Report

The clowns on the two wheels need to learn one thing. That it is time to put the bicycle away for the winter.

Bicyclists also need to learn the rules of the road
1) keep close to the curb
2) stay off the busy streets and use the side streets.
learningaswego 11/20/2012 2:40:30 PM Report

Speaking as one of those "clowns on two wheels" (I guess) for 1-4 times a week and 6-7 months of the year.......
It is highly NOT recommended to ride close to the curb, but rather take a meter. This is much safer, and allows ample time and space to avoid the numerous hazards - like holes, garbage, rocks, etc. at the curb.
This clown has found that, when following the recommended ways to ride, obeying the usual traffic laws - and just practicing COMMON COURTESY and COMMON SENSE, that most drivers and cyclists get along just fine.
There are a few goofs on both "sides", but IMHO most is mainly due to ignorance of the law and recommended practice.

But let's be clear on one irrefutable fact in this matter.....

the "bicycles are coming"

- whether one likes them, agrees with them, or not. So, we may as well work towards all "getting along"; because bike use and bike sales IS a rapidly growing phenomenon, and a beneficial one. It won't happen overnight, but the growing numbers of cyclists, and drivers can (and must) learn to co-exist, or at least "tolerate" each other.
BTW, all "progressive thinking" cities are expanding/improving to encourage cycling in their community.
cityhallguy 11/20/2012 3:22:00 PM Report

It just kills me the people on here that say it just isn't enough!!! The money spent on the hubtrail isn't enough???
Does such a small percentage deserve so much? I don't think so!
Say what you want about health and the benefits, etc....yada yada yada blah blah blah!!!
Do you really think it will lower health care costs??? I don't think so!!!
I think enough is enough! We have other, more pressing needs, and they don't include bike lanes! Just be thankful that they are still going to plug away at it and add when it is possible!
But...that's just not enough I guess!!!
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