By Angus Argyle 
BELLEVILLE – Members of the public came together Tuesday night for a brainstorming workshop to build a more bike-friendly Belleville.
A report of ideas gathered will be presented to Belleville city council in hope that biking infrastructure will be increased in next year’s budget.
The event was orchestrated by Justin Jones, manager of Share the Road Cycling Coalition and Tanya Hill, co-ordinator of Healthy Communities Partnership. Jones explained that bicycle infrastructure in Belleville will increase public safety and decrease traffic congestion.
One discussion was about congestion and high traffic areas around school zones. A mother, who did not want to give her full name, said she feared for her son because there wasn’t a safe route to his school from their home. She explained that her son was still too young to ride his bike on the road and that the sidewalk was unsafe.
“There’s a huge section of sidewalk thats just gone,” she said.
Ideas offered to improve safety for students who bike to school ranged from maintaining sidewalks, building bike lanes in high-traffic areas near schools and close street parking during school hours. One idea proposed that parent-teacher groups in schools could come together to create supervised rides or biking pools so kids can get to school safely.
Rob Jakes, of Belleville on Bikes , said that children should be encouraged to ride bikes to create these biking pools.
“Encourage your kids’ friends to bike, show them the safe way to do it,” said Jones.
Jakes said that if the city you are living in isn’t bike friendly, then it’s important that people are educated on the rules of the road. Everyone agreed that educating children as well as adults in bike safety is crucial to ensure safer roads in the community.
Tanya Hill ended the evening by giving her final opinion for a more casual and friendly biking community.
“We need more casual, recreational rides with no spandex,” said Hill.