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Windsor ranks lowest out of 41 cities for commuters who walk, bus, bike: census


Out of more than 40 cities across Canada, Windsor is ranked poorest for the size of its commuter population getting to work or school by foot, bus or bicycle.

Recently-released census data from Statistics Canada compared 41 cities — from Windsor and Toronto to Halifax and Edmonton — for its “share of commuters using sustainable transportation.”

About 23 per cent of commuters in Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal get where they need to go via transit, walking or cycling — topping the list from the 2021 census data.

But, with just six per cent of its commuters using sustainable transportation, Windsor sits at the very bottom of the list.

Longtime cycling and safety advocate Lori Newton said the numbers are “disappointing” but come as no surprise.

“People in this city should not be required to own a car to live here and that’s what we’ve created. If you don’t have a car in the City of Windsor, you’re a second-hand citizen here,” said Newton, adding political officials have not shown a strong enough commitment to active transportation.

As executive director for Bike Windsor Essex, Newton said she’s been keeping an eye on how other cities such as London and Hamilton are supporting active transportation users — adding while they “sometimes miss the mark,” it’s apparent they are making changes which are leaving Windsor “way behind.”

Some of the work she’s seen includes building barriers to separate cyclists from traffic, painting bike boxes on roadways and extending bike lanes into intersections.

“Because the lane drops off, you’re left on your bike and thinking, 'Where do I go now? What do I do? What’s safe for me?’ It’s one of the reasons why we see cyclists on sidewalks,” said Newton, adding cyclists are having to break the law to protect themselves.

“We’re quick to criticize people and call them out for not riding safely but they’re doing the best that they can to remain safe while they’re out riding. But it is certainly the reason why we have a lot of women and children who won’t ride.”

Windsor resident Christine Fitzpatrick, who uses the bus as her main mode of transportation around the city, said she understands why so many commuters are opting not to take the bus to get to work.

Fitzpatrick resides in Windsor’s east end and said she regularly needs to go downtown for appointments and other general items.

“Originally, it took about an hour and a half, one way, just to get downtown from my place,” she said.

“It’s been a little bit better. They’ve changed the route so it doesn’t go down so many streets as it did before — but it’s still an hour.”

Fitzpatrick, who is also a member of the advocacy group Activate Transit Windsor-Essex, is calling for more buses along routes so people who miss one bus “aren’t waiting an hour” for another to arrive.

The group is also calling for more express routes that can quickly get from one side of the city to the other, along with further investments in the city’s transit system as a whole.

“What we’re looking for is to make sure that the end user can see these investments. We’re just worried today is not going to get invested in the right projects. We really need a new garage for transit,” said Fitzpatrick.

Windsor city council recently voted for a $100-million upgrade to transit services but nixed plans to build a new bus garage.

CTV News reached out to the city and the mayor’s office for comment but neither agreed to an interview. Top Stories

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