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Pedal Pub told to use same route as last year

Pedal Pub has been addressing noise, traffic and safety issues since its first season in 2019.
The Pedal Pub has become a popular attraction with locals and visitors, with the town striving to ensure it's safe, with minimal disruption to residents. (File photo)

Despite a Pedal Pub request and a recommendation from town staff to approve a new route for the party-bike tour, councillors have passed a motion that will see the route stay the same as it was last year.

The two main points in the discussion at a recent committee of the whole meeting, and a decision approved by council Tuesday, were traffic congestion in Old Town and a lack of engagement with residents who would be affected by a route change.

In the existing route, the multi-seat bikes depart from the Pedal Pub parking lot on Mary Street, turn left onto Mississagua Street and right onto Queen to Regent Street, where they turn around and follow the same route back to Selfie Mode on Mary Street.

The new route proposed by Pedal Pub encompassed a larger area that looped around town by having the bikes continue on Queen to King, and along King to Mary, to the end point. According to the town’s report, Pedal Pub proposed the new route to allow it access to a new business partner on King, to limit the number of left-hand turns the bike operators have to make, to reduce their presence on Mississagua and to provide safer boarding and disembarking for passengers.

Coun. Sandra O’Connor put forth the motion to keep the existing route, which will be in place until the end of July 2024, saying that the new route “almost doubles the road coverage and the potential disruption to residents.” She also added that “residents’ needs were not adequately considered as part of the report,” a sentiment echoed by Coun. Nick Ruller, who recalled the community reaction to the noise from music and rowdy passengers on Pedal Pub bikes in residential areas in past years.

On the other side of the discussion, Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa pointed to the potential of the new route to help “mitigate traffic concerns” by not having the bikes transverse “the busiest road into the community (Mississagua Street) twice.”

Coun. Tim Balasiuk,  however, was in favour of “keeping traffic congestion to the main arteries” to avoid frustration for residents who are “using what they would consider the back roads into the downtown area.”

Pedal Pub has been offering their unique tourism experience in town since 2019. In 2020, council voted not to renew its license for 2021 after complains about noise, traffic congestion, and safety concerns from residents, but reversed their decision to allow the business to continue to operate. The town report made mention of several modifications Pedal Pub has made to its operations in previous seasons to address concerns raised by council and by residents, including reducing noise through residential areas, installing additional dash cams on their vehicles, and adjusting their routes to address safety concerns.