Councillor pulls about face on controversial bike lane plan
Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017 5:17PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 25, 2017 6:41PM EDT
Public outcry about new bike lanes in Hintonburg forced the area councillor to change his mind on the project.
Kitchissippi councillor Jeff Leiper initally supported a plan to have new bike lanes painted on Spencer St. from Western Ave. to Holland Ave. Leiper refused interview requests from CTV, but on his website, he says his office received around 160 emails about the bike lanes with 55 per cent of residents against them.
"On the basis of both the number of those opposed, as well as the arguments raised in many of those notes, I have determined that we cannot demonstrate to the City that the support among residents is high enough to effect this change," Leiper says in the post.
Many area residents didn't hold back when asked about the plan.
"If he had his way, he would bicycle lanes through city hall," says Connor Grimes.
Grimes questions why the new lanes are necessary with the bike lanes on Wellington St., which he calls a "horror story," as well the ones on Scott St. and the Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway.
"This is a little bit of overkill," says Steve Dunand, who says Leiper acknowledged trying to push the envelope for cycling infrastructure.
Sewer and infrastructure work was completed on the street last summer and more work is planned for the coming months. Residents say Leiper didn't do any consultation before changing the plan to include the lanes, a move that would've eliminated 97 on-street parking spots.
Small businesses in the area are grateful for the support.
"The residents of the street on Spencer have just got their fur up a little bit and are like 'no, we want to keep supporting the local businesses,'" says owner of Canvas Resto-Bar Charles Beauregard.
"This has something that could have a real effect on us so I love how everybody's got each other's backs on this one."
A town hall planned for Tuesday night at the Ottawa Mosque will still happen, but Leiper says the format will change to a drop-in where he'll still talk to residents, but mostly one-on-one.