Cycle Newmarket accused town councillors of being "disingenuous" in their professed support for bike lanes and other active transportation infrastructure just before council voted to officially put two bike lanes on hold for the next year.
Peggy Stevens of Cycle Newmarket made a last attempt to urge council to stick to the plan for bike lanes on Clearmeadow and William Roe boulevards — originally scheduled for this spring — while exploring a potential compromise with Clearmeadow residents.
Stevens voiced her frustrations that the Clearmeadow residents' desire to not lose on-street parking could derail projects from the town's active transportation implementation strategy, which has been complete for almost three years and underwent extensive public consultation. The town, she said, keeps putting the onus on cyclists to defend its own plans when residents don't want a project.
"I find it disingenuous that you think that Cycle Newmarket — we who are asking you to do what you said you would do — should somehow (accept being put behind) the interests of people who haven't been paying attention," she told councillors at their meeting Monday.
"And during that deferral period, you think it's fine for cyclists to continue using the roads without bike lanes. I find it disingenuous because you are catering to the interests of 300 citizens when the plan — your plan — is for all of the citizens of Newmarket."
"I think you need to take a good look at your priorities and stop making Cycle Newmarket the defenders of your own plan."
In the end, Councillor Victor Woodhouse was the only one to vote against deferring the bike lanes so that the town can re-examine its active transportation strategy, saying that he could not support putting off the lanes for an entire year.
Mayor John Taylor said similar delays have occurred and that it would not matter in the long run. He also pointed out that an important expansion of the active transportation network on Lorne Avenue would be going ahead this year.
"We need to listen to people in our community, try to be thoughtful and explore options. I think we will meaningful opportunities to do things a little differently but still move forward," he said.
"I don't think this is an abandonment of anything, and I don't think anyone is going to look back 10 years from now and say the one-year delay changed the trajectory of cycling infrastructure forever."