George & Water Street Cycling Lanes
In 2018, if you wanted to ride a bicycle down George Street, it got a bit dicey south of Hunter Street where the bike lanes ended. Today, bike lanes carry cyclists from Hilliard Street in the north to Lake Street in the south, right through the downtown. Cycling lanes on Water Street mirror the ones on George Street.
How did this project come to be? 13 years ago, the Active and Safe Community Routes Committee identified George Street south of Sherbrooke Street as an ideal location to introduce road safety improvements. With the high number of vehicle collisions, lack of a comfortable place for cyclists to ride and infrequent pedestrian crossing points, the City decided to take a complete streets approach to redesign the street.
Complete Streets are designed to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. Drawing on the successes experienced elsewhere, a concept was developed for George Street and an Environmental Assessment was completed, including extensive public and business consultation. The project was extended north to Hunter Street to ensure connectivity of cycling lanes and then the Sherbrooke Street and Water Street sections were added to provide better connectivity, including access to and from Millennium Park and the TransCanada Trail.
With the completion of this project, the City now has an impressive 75 kilometres of cycling lanes and multi-use trails. The project was implemented over the last year, and the official opening is today. The changes to the streets include:
- Cycling lanes on George Street and Water Street between Hunter Street and Sherbrooke Street
- Reconfiguring George Street between Sherbrooke Street and Lake Street to include left turn lanes at busy commercial driveways and intersections, a new traffic signal at Dalhousie Street, cycling lanes, two pedestrian crossings and landscaping.
- Reconfiguring Sherbrooke Street between George Street and Water Street to include a new sidewalk on the north side of the street, the City’s first protected bicycle lane and bicycle signal, formalized parking, traffic calming and a protected pedestrian crossing where Sherbrooke Street connects with Water Street to provide access to and from Millennium Park and the TransCanada Trail.
- Resurfacing George Street and Water Street through the project limits.
Over the next three years, the project will be evaluated to see if the changes meet the project goals of increasing the number of cyclists and improving safety. Of the $2.4 M project budget, $1,163,200 was funded by the federal Gas Tax Fund, $325,000 was funded by the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Infrastructure Program and the remaining $911,800 was funded by the City of Peterborough.