Reducing traffic lanes to add bike lanes doesn’t sit well with many Mississauga residents

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Published June 28, 2024 at 3:47 pm

Aquitaine Avenue in Mississauga and pilot project to reduce lanes.

As Mississauga seeks to dramatically alter traffic flow on a number of major city streets in stated efforts to improve safety for all road users, officials charged with putting the plans in place are encountering significant opposition from residents.

Several city councillors are also getting earfuls from people who don’t support the notion of reducing lanes of vehicle traffic in order to introduce bicycle lanes.

In Mississauga’s north end, a pilot project that has eliminated one lane of traffic on a lengthy stretch of Aquitaine Avenue in Meadowvale — in efforts, the city says, to increase safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists — is getting closer to becoming a permanent fixture.

Several public meetings, including the most recent on May 30 attended by an estimated 100 or more people, according to one resident, have been held at which City of Mississauga officials presented their case.

Still, many residents want no part of the city’s plan.

Map shows Aquitaine Avenue, between Tenth Line West and Millcreek Drive, where the pilot project is in place.

Meanwhile, in Mississauga’s east end, the city has forged ahead with major changes to a stretch of Bloor Street in the face of vocal opposition from many residents in that area.

The plan to reduce driving lanes and add bike lanes on the main east-west route, approved by council in June 2023 after two years of community meetings, even brought about a number of death threats.

The Aquitaine Avenue Road Safety Pilot Project, which reduced a section of the busy four-lane road to three lanes as of last summer in an effort to make it safer and reduce speeding, is among a number of road safety improvement initiatives introduced across the city.

Before the significant changes to Aquitaine Avenue become permanent, though, city officials continue to get public feedback. Prior to the late May public engagement session, they hosted four information pop-ups in March and April. Another public meeting is planned for September before a final decision is made by year’s end.

City officials have said they’ll monitor the impact of the pilot study throughout 2024 “to inform a permanent future road reconstruction.”

Bloor Street in east Mississauga, where many residents are strongly opposed to a plan to eliminate lanes of traffic in favour of bike lanes.

The changes have been implemented on Aquitaine Avenue between Tenth Line West in west Meadowvale and Millcreek Drive, by Meadowvale GO station.

One section of the busy roadway passes by Meadowvale Town Centre, where both pedestrian and vehicle traffic are heavy.

In presenting its case to the public, the city has said every street should be safe for all residents and “that’s why we’ve modified Aquitaine Avenue to a three-lane system with bike lanes, parking spaces and a left-turn lane.

“This traffic calming measure will help reduce speeding on the roadway by narrowing the road and help keep traffic at a slower speed. As part of the pilot, on-road protected bike lanes, dedicated vehicle parking lanes and a dedicated centre/left turn lane (were) added on various sections of Aquitaine Avenue,” city officials added.

Meadowvale residents have voiced their opposition

Meadowvale resident Rita Nugent lives a couple of blocks from Aquitaine Avenue and said many residents, including herself, oppose the city’s plan.

They’ve let their feelings be known to Ward 9 Coun. Martin Reid, the area’s representative on city council, and city staff, she added.

“We have tried repeatedly to stop the lane reduction before its installation last year, to no avail,” Nugent said in an email to insauga.com. “The pilot project is a complete failure as it offers no measurable increase in safety. Street racing has continued, if not increased. Cyclists have shunned (bike lane) use and continue to (use) the sidewalks.”
Nugent added she and a neighbour conducted a survey that indicates “most of our neighbours think the project is a waste of time and money. Only two households (of those surveyed) have ever used the cycling lanes.”
Plan is “unreasonable,” residents say
The Meadowvale resident said she attended the May 30 public meeting/information session, where she and a neighbour presented their case in opposition to the pilot project.
Residents also argue that “while new cycling capacity is a great idea, reducing Aquitaine Avenue to half its traffic capacity for an almost negligible group of seasonal cyclists is unreasonable.
“It fails to factor in future housing and population growth and has made no measurable difference to road safety nor cut speeding.”
Nugent noted an “avid cyclist” at the meeting even questioned the project’s design, describing the bike lanes as confusing and “challenging to use.”
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