Sunday, August 15, 2010

Conquering Burlington's Great Continental Divide

Divided by the highways!
Burlington is a city divided.  Divided by its highways.  Living north of the QEW, rarely did I cycle the waterfront.  When we  moved to the downtown core, all my cycling was on the waterfront or around the bay through Hamilton.  Burlington's Great Divide impacts all Burlingtonians.  If you live south of the QEW, you can bike to the nearest GO Station.  However, live north of the QEW & you wouldn't consider biking to the GO Station because it means crossing the QEW overpasses. 
The QEW, 403 and 407 are monumental barriers to safe cycling.  The Burlington Road Safety Committee had determined that a cyclist has a 33x greater risk of collision when they cross an overpass.  Overpasses are governed by the Ministry of Transport of Ontario (MTO).
What can we do, quickly & cost effectively, to make these collision magnets safer?
Walker Line Blue Lane
Burlington's north / south sub-committee has asked city staff to work with MTO to begin implementing the positive changes MTO accepted at the Fairview QEW interchange to other overpasses:
  1. narrower vehicle lanes - it slows motorists down & allows a bike lane to be added
  2. slower posted speed limits & enforcement
  3. a coloured bike lane where possible or sharrows.  A coloured bike lanes reminds motorists daily that cyclists also use the road.
The sooner MTO approves these changes, the sooner we conquer our Great Divide.  The Ontario Bike Summit, would be a great time for MTO to show it really is cycling friendly and announce these changes!


  1. I'm new to Burlington and am looking to cross from the south side to the north (on burloak) to get to Bronte park. Is it safe enough on a bike now?

  2. There are fabulous bike lanes on BurlOak north and south of the QEW. However, crossing the QEW on BurlOak is very, very dangerous. I do it periodically but I am very careful & nervous every time. Be careful.