In London we’re fortunate to have the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP), which gives us access to low-speed, recreational cycling and walking along the Thames River. However, the TVP — as with city parks — is shut down at dusk and in the winter the system isn’t cleared of snow.
At this point in time, it is not fiscally responsible to make the TVP accessible year-round. However, we can take action on other progressive transportation measures. Share the Road, a cycling advocacy and research group, conducted an opinion poll this this year and found 67 percent of Ontarians support construction of protected bike lanes while 32 percent would ride to work more if it was safe. Londoners want active transportation and want it sooner rather than later.
With so many Londoners relying on active transportation, I am committed to creating protected bike lanes in our city and more access for those who choose cycling as their mode of transportation. Imagine if someone could bike along Dundas Street to Western Fair Farmers Market or ride from Old South to downtown and feel safe the whole way? We need to improve the work we’ve begun and build out our cycling and walking infrastructure. The London Plan has made this a clear priority for where and how we want our city to grow.
To further support the growth of London cycling infrastructure, I will commit two percent of our annual transportation budget for the construction of safe, dedicated bike lanes across the city. At this rate of investment, London could have a complete active transportation network in five years. I want to start with Dundas Street and move on from there.
I am also suggesting it is time to look at hiring an active transportation manager, a senior director who has experience building protected infrastructure. These positions exist other communities and so it would be advantageous to take a closer look at whether such a role would make sense for London’s expanding active transportation network.
I want parents to feel safe with their kids riding their bikes to school. I want the hundreds of commuters who make their way into the core to feel cycling is a safe option. We can talk about creating a better London or we can start building it and I want to start on day one of my term as your next mayor. People who take the bus matter, people who drive matter, and people who want to walk or cycle as a part of their daily routine matter. In the London I want to live in, everyone matters.