If you haven’t yet driven the stretch of Four Mile Creek Road on which the region has installed a series of “bicycle lane” pylons, then the pictures we and many residents have shared really do tell the story.
This boondoggle of a Region of Niagara project – unannounced, not promoted, it just “happened” one day last week – is the sort of thing that makes people shake their heads and wonder, “What were they thinking?”
It is not a good look for the regional bureaucracy, but maybe they just don’t care.
It comes on the heels of another questionable regional decision: to install no parking signs on this same segment of roadway, after apparently receiving complaints about patrons of the Grist restaurant parking on the extra-wide shoulders of the road.
As we said before, the region made no apparent attempt to seek a solution and instead opted for the sledgehammer approach. No finesse there.
And just to ensure that St. Davids wins the regional trifecta, of course there is the ongoing saga of the planned roundabout at Four Mile Creek and York roads.
The silliness seems to know no bounds.
Except it’s not silly. It’s bureaucratic overkill.
The bike lane pylons – on a stretch of road with very wide shoulders – is being pitched as a pilot project, one that presumably will be measured and assessed to determine its effectiveness.
We can tell you it is certainly effective at getting drivers’ attention, slowing them down as they try to not wander too far in their lane and clip a pylon.
But there also are unintended consequences.
The driving space feels narrowed, leaving little margin for error, but, more importantly, nowhere for emergency vehicles to go – or for other traffic to move out of the way.
Whether it’s an ambulance or fire truck en route to an emergency or a large school bus headed to or from school, this narrowed alleyway is asking for trouble.
It’s being sold by the region as a cyclist-friendly pilot project (launched in early September? Huh?) – to be removed before winter to allow for snow clearing – but we find that hard to swallow.
(And these would have to be candidates for the world’s widest bike lanes.)
Not only was there no communication or warning or consultation, a cynic might conclude it’s a case of the region piling on to try to show the upstart, successful Grist restaurant who’s the boss. Or maybe the folks who thought this was a good idea are just blind to the impact and optics of their decision.
All in all, it’s just a really bad idea, no matter how anyone tries to spin it.
We hope the region has the good sense to quickly realize a mistake has been made.
And sends its crews back to the scene (to park at the Grist, if there’s room, because there’s no space in the no parking zone) and remove the pylons immediately.