But staff are asking councillors to sign on to the idea without knowing how much it will cost.The city is making new rules outlining how long it should take before snow is cleared from bike lanes — but it has no idea how much the proposal will cost.
A report going to the city’s public works committee on Monday creates guidelines that, if approved, would dictate how quickly snow is cleared from bike lanes based on the amount of snowfall and the nature of the road.
For example, the city would have eight hours to clear 2.5 centimetres of snow from a bike lane on a busy arterial roadway, while it would have 24 hours to clear any snowfall greater than eight centimetres on bike lanes along quiet residential streets.
But the report doesn’t give councillors any information about the potential costs associated with the project.
The report says city staff will monitor costs this winter and report back to council with a clearer financial picture for the 2020 budget.
City staff say bike lanes with no segregation from the road will be cleared at the same time as the road itself.
But bike lanes that have protective barriers preventing plows from accessing them will cost more, the report says, due to “equipment needs, increased manpower and contractor costs.”
Back in 2014, city staff estimated snow-clearing on the Cannon Street bike lanes would cost roughly $180,000 each season.
However, the city’s network of bike lanes has grown considerably in the past four years — and with it, the price tag for snow clearing.
Tom Flood, a vocal supporter of the city’s bike lanes, says instituting standards for snow clearing is a step in the right direction.
“We’re grateful for anything the city does progressively with bike lanes,” he said.
However, Flood pointed out the city’s network of bike lanes won’t be accessible to everyone until they are maintained year-round — and that includes the warmer months.
He said there continue to be issues with cars parking in bike lanes, areas that remain unprotected from traffic, and knocked-down bollards that need to be replaced.
“I don’t want to sound ungrateful — but it would be great if we could address the issues in all seasons,” he said.
The public works committee met Monday at 9:30 a.m.
Source: The Hamilton Spectator