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We're Still Here!

January 9, 2019:  Following our first official meeting in seven months (January 8, 2019), MCAC is pleased to confirm that we still exist (at least for now) as an Advisory Committee of Council with our own voice via this website and our social media accounts (icons restored to the top of this webpage).

A Motion about future control of MCAC communications accounts passed unanimously, after our detailed questioning of City staff revealed there had been no change in policy nor in the MCAC Terms of Reference to underpin the City Clerk's directive made last August, that AT staff would take control of our website and social media accounts as of December 1, 2018.  Council will review this motion at GC on January 16 (per below).

An urgent Motion (MCAC-0004-2019) was also passed concerning the City's new signalized crossrides which MCAC deems too dangerous to remain open while revised (safe) design options are developed by staff.  The crossrides should be deactivated immediately.  Council will review this at General Committee on January 16, 2019 (per below).

UPDATE:  An MCAC audit ride of the signalized crossrides on January 12, 2019 revealed that all signals are still in operation on Burnhamthorpe Road and on Rathburn Road.  Additionally, regarding the BWP cycling detours -- no changes. All signage is still deficient as per previous checks.

Mississauga News opinion column - John Stewart (January 12, 2019): Mississauga cycling community’s frustrations just go round and round and round: Key ingredient lacking in cycling strategy is political will.  View the full text here (2p PDF).

Excerpt: "There’s lots to be discouraged about, including a cycling master plan approved by council despite a motion of non-support from the MCAC.  Current funding levels would require 95 years to complete the bike path network, although staff’s recommending budget funding this year would reduce that to 27 years. ... [Founding MCAC Chair Phil Green] complained the city ignored citizen expertise it solicits.  Current members provided contemporary exhibits showing little’s changed.  Members warned of unsafe conditions because of a sewer construction project [BWP] on Burnhamthorpe Road path and, most alarmingly, passed a motion to close the city’s new signalized crossrides.  The committee members believe the crossrides are confusing and potentially life-threatening."

Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras and Ward 3 Councillor Chris Fonseca attended the meeting, in addition to former Ward 6 Councillor David Culham, and Founding MCAC Chair Phil Green, who made a presentation (link below) regarding the history of MCAC and cycling advocacy in the City over the past quarter century and more.  Nicole Hanson, latest recipient of the Phil Green Recognition Award was also present.  We believe the current politicians gained a deeper understanding of MCAC's role and activities and our contribution to the city-building process.  Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

MCAC citizen members were especially pleased with the excellent turnout by concerned members of the cycling community, who were present as public witness to the entire discussion, which included several unresolved safety issues raised with Active Transportation staff months ago.  This made clear to the politicians and staff at the meeting that the interest being served must be the safe mobility of all vulnerable roads users (VRUs) -- both cyclists and pedestrians.

MCAC MOTIONS: Included on the General Committee of Council Agenda (January 16, 2019) - Item 9.1 MCAC Report 1:

MCAC-0002-2019 - APPROVED AT GC AS PART OF THE REPORT
That control of the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee (MCAC) website and social media accounts be transferred to the appropriate citizen member for the next term of MCAC and that should the City’s website and social media policy be amended in the short term to disallow this transfer, the accounts are to be archived.

MCAC-0004-2019 - APPROVED WITH DIRECTION
1. That all newly installed Crossrides be deactivated immediately due to safety concerns and that City staff report back on a new crossrides plan.
2. That the recommendation be forwarded to the Region of Peel for their consideration to deactivate the crossride at Winston Churchill Blvd. and Britannia Rd.
DIRECTION TO STAFF (GC Jan 16 2019):  The bike crossing signals are to be bagged immediately, and a review conducted, with a Staff Report coming back to MCAC and then General Committee with a plan to reconfigure the infrastructures and re-time the signals.

NOTE: The General Committee meetings are streamed live.

PRESENTATIONS & REMARKS (per Agenda):

Item 5.1  Deputation: Some Reflections and Suggestions on Cycling in Mississauga: Phil Green, MCAC Founding Chair - 36p PDF (slideshow)

Item 7.1  Burnhamthorpe Multi-Use Trail Changes: Leonard Verwey, MCAC Citizen Member - 2p PDF  [including concerns re: Signalized Crossrides and BWP Detours]

Item 7.3  MCAC Website and Social Media Pages: Dorothy Tomiuk, MCAC Citizen Member - 2p PDF  [including concerns re: future control of MCAC accounts]

David Culham, former Ward 6 Councillor:  (Yes, the Culham Trail owes its existence to David!).  Stated that many of these disconnects have happened because political leadership needs to go through the bureaucracy which is there to control.  Council has to lead.  Bureaucracy chews up leadership time.  Councillors need to utilize the volunteers to lever this effort.  Dave later wrote: "Your present creation of a web site and to communicate is not only a good approach but the best one.  I agree with Phil Green and his recommendations.  They were perceptive, and expressed his abundant experience."

Irwin Nayer, MCAC Vice-Chair:  End-of-Term Remarks - 2p PDF  [including concerns re: Cycling Master Plan Update and Signalized Crossrides].

Mayor Bonnie Crombie apologized for her remarks on December 12, 2018 at Council.  She hopes some on MCAC will reconsider their resignations.  She understands the disconnect between MCAC, staff and Council.  We need institutional memory (which will be lost if everyone on MCAC resigns).  She wants to re-invigorate the MCAC.  Cycling is a priority for her.  She feels we have been responsible with use of our website and social media accounts.




MCAC Budget Submission re 2019 Cycling Program

January 14, 2019:  MCAC has provided the City's Budget Committee with our written submission regarding the 2019 Cycling program and budget.  KEY MESSAGE: Focus on the Network.

The cycling program is embedded within the Roads Service Area of the proposed 2019-2022 Business Plan & 2019 Budget.

The Roads presentation at Budget Committee is *DEFERRED* to Monday, January 21, 2019 @ 9:00 am - see Agenda).

Budget Committee meets in the Council Chamber at City Hall. The Budget meetings are streamed live, and video-archived.

► View the MCAC 2019 Budget Submission (2p PDF).  Click the images at left to view page 1 and page 2 separately.

► See our article below for further information and selected excerpts.




2019 City Budget - Cycling Funding to be Decided

January 2019:  The Roads presentation at Budget Committee is *DEFERRED* to Monday, January 21, 2019 @ 9:00 amsee Agenda).  View the 2019 Roads Presentation (starts at p318 of the PDF).  View the City Budget webpage to access the complete 2019 Budget documents.

MCAC will be looking to see if the level of funding for cycling will be adequate to attain even the 27-year rollout (to 2046!) of 18 km/year of new cycling infrastructure (Scenario C) as approved by Council in June 2018, when the 2018 Cycling Master Plan Update (CMPU) was presented by staff without MCAC endorsement.

View MCAC's 2019 Budget Submission in the article above.

CHARTS: 1) Annual Cycling Funding Scenarios chart (2018 CMPU) recommending Scenario C
(p59 in 345p PDF source document);
2) The 2019 Cycling Capital Budget Detail chart per 2019-2022 Business Plan and Budget
(p277 in 883p PDF source document);
3) The Cycling Master Plan Phased Implementation - Operating per Roads Service Area presentation
(p350 in 391p PDF source document).

Note that the first 2 charts include the reduced funding option for a 95-year cycling network roll-out (Scenario A, which is the current level of funding).  Click for enlargements.





MCAC Communications Update & January 2019 Meeting

December 17, 2018:  MCAC is still maintaining this website and our social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook).  Discussion about future control of these MCAC communications platforms is now finally and rightly placed on the Agenda for the next scheduled MCAC meeting on January 8, 2019 @ 6:30 pm at City Hall (2nd Floor, Cmte Room A).  This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.

The MCAC Agenda (January 8, 2019 - 30p PDF) is now posted.  This is the first official MCAC meeting since June 2018.

Below are articles outlining some of the key concerns which will be raised at the January 8 meeting, including the Letter from the MCAC Chair, safety concerns about the new Signalized Crossrides, safety concerns about the cycling detours for the Burnhamthorpe Water Project, how/when Vision Zero will be implemented in cycling infrastructure design, and actual funding allocation for cycling infrastructure in the 2019 City Budget.

Since applications to serve as citizen members for the next term of the MCAC were to be received until January 4, 2019 (we are asking for an extension), a quorum of current members remain seated.  In the interests of the next MCAC, we wish to ensure that due process is followed for decisions which will affect the new members, and we will advocate for their continued independent advisory role as outlined in the MCAC Terms of Reference.

UPDATE:  (January 8, 2019)  The Mississauga News has just published a highly misleading article about tonight's public meeting of the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee (MCAC).  The citizen members will maintain quorum so that there is still an MCAC until the next committee is sworn in (February or March, 2019).  Maintaining quorum is our way of respecting the incoming MCAC, and being able to act until they can, and facilitating an orderly transfer.  Tonight’s meeting is NOT about further resignations or grandstanding about not reapplying.  Those who did not reapply to MCAC are still seated and are attending tonight in that spirit.  There are serious cycling issues on tonight’s Agenda which we will be addressing, and that is where the focus should lie.  The MN article may be viewed here.




Letter to Mayor & Council from the MCAC Chair

December 16, 2018:  MCAC Chair Donnie Morris has written a Letter to the Mayor and Council via email (image at left), inviting them to the next MCAC meeting (Tuesday, January 8, 2019) to hear our concerns.  MCAC Vice-Chair Irwin Nayer endorsed the Letter and echoed its content which states:

MCAC members are disappointed in the interactions they have had with City staff over the last four years.  Our mandated role is to provide advice, but after four years it has become increasingly apparent that City staff and Council neither want nor seek our advice.

We also have many outstanding safety concerns which have arisen (and which we have documented) during the seven (7) months we have not been officially scheduled to meet.  One urgent concern is the configuration, installation, operation and promotion of the new Signalized Crossrides at some traffic intersections, which MCAC has advised are unsafe.

The Letter also references the Council meeting of December 12, 2018 during the appointment of Councillors to various Council committees (Agenda item 14.2.2).  The video of the Council meeting is posted at mississauga.ca/videos (indexed by date).  Discussion of Councillor appointments to MCAC begins at 3:28:40 in the video, including disparaging remarks cited in the Letter.

We are pleased that MCAC's founding chair (25 years ago), Phil Green, will be providing historical perspective and insight at our January 8 meeting in light of our mutual concerns.




Vision Zero for Mississauga?

January 2019:  The 2019 Budget is where Mississauga residents will learn if funds will be dedicated to achieving Vision Zero (see Canadian website).  Council's Budget Committee is currently reviewing service area presentations.

The Roads presentation at Budget Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2019 during the morning – see Agenda).  View the 2019 Roads Presentation (starts at p318 of the PDF).  Image at left indicating Vision Zero is a 'Service Area Trend' and featuring the new Mississauga Vision Zero logo is located on p331 of the PDF.

BACKGROUND:  The Motion to Adopt Vision Zero was unanimously approved at Mississauga Council on February 21, 2018 (Agenda Item 15.1 - p45), as sponsored by the City's re-instated Road Safety Committee.  After years of MCAC advocacy for Vision Zero in Mississauga, this was seen as a positive step for all roadway users.  The February 2018 Motion states that a 'Vision Zero framework' will guide the road safety process.

► View the City's Transportation Dept. Report (February 14, 2017):  The Vision Zero Approach to Road Safety (pp7-20 of the PDF).  It was received by Council for information only.  Excerpt:  "The Mississauga Moves project that begins this year will deliver a formal Transportation Master Plan to guide our strategic priorities and actions going forward, and will provide an opportunity for all road users to take part in the conversation about today’s pain points and tomorrow’s possibilities for our roads and road safety aspirations."

► City of Mississauga Press Release (February 22, 2018):  No Loss of Life is Acceptable - Vision Zero Road Safety Approach Approved by Council.




Mississauga's New Signalized Crossrides - Safety Concerns

January 2019:  Mississauga's (and Peel's) first signalized bicycle crossing was installed in August 2018.  MCAC was not consulted ahead of time regarding the design.  Vision Zero principles appear to have not been followed.

The City's idealized and simplistic concept image (shown at left) does not convey the dangers to cyclists, especially given how the initial crossrides have been installed (per below) and the reality of traffic conditions in Mississauga including speeding, congestion, wide multi-lane roads and driver frustration.

► See images and descriptions (concerns) on the MCAC Facebook album for the first signalized crossride (August 2018) near the intersection of Britannia Road and Winston Churchill Blvd.

SAFETY ISSUES:  In August 2018 and since, MCAC citizen members have experienced safety issues with the placement and operation of the signalized crossings, and witnessed drivers not seeing nor following the new signal, including three (3) occasions where drivers did not stop at all.  MCAC cyclists have had to dodge getting hit, including once ditching their bike in the road.

But since August 2018, and most recently on January 4, 2019, the City has announced additional crossride installations without addressing the safety concerns expressed not only by MCAC and other cyclists, but by drivers, e.g. this message sent to MCAC:

"I always thought cyclists had to dismount before crossing an intersection, right?  The city installed one of these [crossrides] right near me and I'm afraid a cyclist is going to zip through the intersection when I'm making a right hand turn.  Of course drivers need to be careful, but I'm just concerned if a cyclist zips through even after you check to see if anyone is coming."

It is indeed harder for car drivers at an intersection to see cyclists in a crossride because it is set further back from the central intersection, and cyclists can move so quickly into the crossride, even after the driver has checked prior to a turn (assuming the driver even notices there is a crossride).  Cyclists, for their part, will see the green bike signal and assume that crossing is safe, unaware that a driver may be about to make a right turn across their path, or even a left turn through the intersection after only checking the closer (and more familiar) pedestrian crossing.

Further danger is presented by Mississauga's actual installation of the crossride signal poles which encroach into the new crossrides themselves (and without hazard markers) and with the bike signals severely misaligned with the road markings.  View examples at 1) Burnhamthorpe Road East and Fieldgate Drive (updated, showing hazardous bollards); 2) Burnhamthorpe Road East and Ponytrail Drive (also updated; shown at left with hazardous bollards).  Here is what a broken bollard looks like: what a danger for cyclists on the Burnhamthorpe MUT!

Another example at Rathburn Road and Deer Run shows the paint in poor condition already.  The crosswalk used to be where crossride is now.  Pedestrians have been moved quite close to through-traffic.  Right-turning drivers are into the crosswalk right away.  This is even shown in the City's tweet promoting supposed safety of the crossrides!  Also, over-salting is visible.

MCAC advises that crossride locations should be be marked out on the road surface before the pole bases are poured, and the use of longer mast arms as necessary to position the light signal heads appropriately and directly over the crossride.  Obviously, all new cycling infrastructure should be inspected during construction as well as upon completion.

As stated by MCAC Vice-Chair Irwin Nayer, it is MCAC's contention that the crossride installations have increased the danger for cyclists.  Regardless of the errors presented in the physical layout and installation, the bigger concern is the implication that a green bike signal indicates that it is safe to proceed.  Many cyclists will view this as an 'All Clear' and go with impunity, with the potential for a tragic collision with a motor vehicle.

MCAC is advocating for safety by design, rather than hoping that any drivers will actually read the complex series of instructions on the City's Crossrides and Bike Signals webpage.  For example under 'When Cycling' the City directs cyclists to: "Travel at a speed that allows you to stop quickly if a vehicle turns across your path."  Under 'When Driving' there is no mention of slow speed.  We suggest adding: "Make turns at a slow speed so you can stop your vehicle quickly if a pedestrian or cyclist moves across your path."  The entire list could use improving, but our original point remains: design for safety.

We also note that the crossride signage (images are shown on the City's webpage) is confusing, and inconsistent in the actual installations.

One solution MCAC immediately proposed in August 2018 was to prohibit cars from turning right while the bike crossing lights are green.  There should be signal coordination at intersections aiming to give cyclists a start free of conflicting motor traffic.  This should also include provisions for motor vehicles turning left through an intersection.  Councillor Pat Saito (chair of the City's Road Safety Committee), and staff in the City's Active Transportation Division were immediately notified about this proposal.

UPDATE:  This matter was on the Agenda (30p PDF) for the MCAC meeting on January 8, 2019.  Outcomes of the Meeting.




Burnhamthorpe Water Project - Disruption for Active Transportation

January 2019:  The Burnhamthorpe Water Project (BWP) began construction in the Mississauga City Centre in Fall 2017, and incorporates twelve kilometres of infrastructure, including a new 1500mm watermain under Burnhamthorpe Road from Grand Park Drive to Cawthra Road, together with the associated water and sewer improvements to accommodate significant planned development in the downtown.  Work in the Mississauga City Centre area will not be completed until 2021.

The project along Burnhamthorpe Road is severely impacting the use of existing pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.  The Burnhamthorpe Trail is rendered either inaccessible or dangerously obstructed.  ► See images on the MCAC Facebook album.

While the Burnhamthorpe Road watermain is being installed by tunnelling instead of open-cut to "minimise traffic disruption" along this long and busy corridor, what about pedestrians and cyclists?

SAFETY ISSUES:  In August 2018, MCAC expressed concern about the safety of cycling detours (PDF map, shown at left) and alternate pedestrian routes provided by the contractor in conjunction with the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel.  MCAC proposed improvements, including *protected* on-road bike lanes to eliminate the need for unsafe detours, but there has been no change...

 

AUDIT RIDE:  A January 6, 2019 audit ride of the detour area confirms that conditions are still unsafe: again, about 80 to 90% of detour signs are down, missing or pointing in wrong direction.  Signs pointing at each other are still there.  The City/Region/Contractor are still not inspecting / maintaining the detours.

Dangerous example: On the Burnhamthorpe MUT at the Erindale GO exit (image shown at left), a contractor has left a couple of thick steel plates on the trail partially marked but with the unmarked corners sticking out into the middle.  These are at least 1 inch thick (if not more) and would be similar to hitting a street car track at the wrong angle.  Reported to 311 on January 7, 2019.

UPDATE:  This matter was on the Agenda (30p PDF) for the MCAC meeting on January 8, 2019.  Outcomes of the Meeting.




Control of the MCAC Website and Social Media Accounts

November 30, 2018:  MCAC was first informed (on August 29, 2018) by the City Clerk's Office that our website would be maintained by staff in the Active Transportation Division (rather than by our own citizen members) as of December 1, 2018.  In preparation, we streamlined this website to only provide information about MCAC decisions and activities from the past term.  Also in question is the future control of our social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook) for which the passwords have been requested by the Active Transportation Division along with mailing lists and all data files.  None of these have been provided to City staff, pending due process.

UPDATE:  This matter was on the Agenda (30p PDF) for the MCAC meeting on January 8, 2019.  Outcomes of the Meeting.




Future Cycling Advocacy Group in Mississauga

November 30, 2018:  After the current MCAC term is completed in early 2019, some citizen members are planning to continue their interest in promoting a safe cycling network in Mississauga by helping to form an independent, not-for-profit advocacy group.

The City has encouraged formation of a 'third party' cycling advocacy group for some time, to take on initiatives beyond the scope and mandate of MCAC.

All residents who ride bicycles in Mississauga are invited to be part of this first step in the process, either by volunteering for the initial Steering Committee (which would develop the mission and operating structure of the new advocacy group), or by attending the first General Meeting (2019 date TBA) which will formally constitute the group.  At that time volunteers will be nominated to carry out specified tasks so the group may function for the first year.  Please stay tuned!