Building a Better Street, an example from Milan

Let’s go back to Milan. As part of their transformation project towards a Green City, they have recently reconstructed a multi-block street to make it more urban, less car-dominated. They got mostly good results, but with a number of caveats. … Continue reading Building a Better Street, an example from Milan

Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

As promised by the City, the extension of the Trillium (OTrain) pathway from Young to Carling Avenue is essentially complete. I think it is wonderful. Multi-user pathways (MUP’s) get better with every new build. The most significant new feature for a MUP is a physical separation of people who cycle from people who walk, or animals who walk their humans. The bike path portion remains full width; the pedestrian portion is additional, bonus width. There is a very low curb between the two paths to separate them. The lowness of the curb prevents a pedal from getting caught. The separated … Continue reading Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

Navigating Scott-Albert (east bound)

Alas, for those people walking or cycling east towards the downtown, there won’t be a separated multi-user path, nor as direct a path as along the north side of Scott and Albert. Starting near Tunney’s, there is a south-side east-bound painted bike lane, which I suppose it a wee tad better than cycling with sharrows in the “50KMH” lanes: The cycling lane is “buffered” from cars, trucks, and buses by a 2′ painted median, but the cycling lane is also the right turn lane and driveway access lane. And boy, are there ever a lot of those: There are many … Continue reading Navigating Scott-Albert (east bound)

Navigating Albert-Scott (westbound)

People who drive westwards from the downtown using Albert and then Scott have big flashing traffic signs, painted arrows, and scrupulously scraped bare pavement. While the lane markings are new, the learning curve should be short. My only bugbear on this so far is the sudden merge of the two westbound traffic lanes around Brickhill Street (just before Good Companions). People who cycle and people who walk face some more challenges. To RTG’s credit a few small ped directional signs have appeared near Bayview Station. So maybe it is worthwhile to follow the route for people who walk or cycle … Continue reading Navigating Albert-Scott (westbound)

Laurier Bike Track, phase 2

  The west end of the Laurier Avenue Bike Track peters out past Bay Street. It used to run up the hill to cross Bronson, then continue to the Chinatown neighbourhood via Cambridge and Primrose, but that was removed and replaced by a painted bike lane in order to accommodate the pressing priority for residents of 500 Laurier ( Q E Towers) to have (often free) onstreet parking. A new segment of path is being taken north from the approximate intersection of Percy and Laurier, across the Ottawa Tech playing fields (cry me a river when the school board claims … Continue reading Laurier Bike Track, phase 2

Squeeze play on the right

This green bicycle logo on the back of the truck caught my eye. I had to cycle closer to actually read the sign. Maybe you can double click the pic to read the sign: It says: ” Stay safe. Stay back. Past this point I can’t see you.” It is surely a useful sign. Kudos to the company for putting it on their truck. I did wonder a bit about the green square shape and design. I’ve seen signs on the back of long trucks warning not to pass on the right as the vehicle makes wide turns. That graphic … Continue reading Squeeze play on the right

Hickory – Adeline Bridge opens

The City’s newest pedestrian – cyclist bridge opened for public use today. The bridge, just north of the OTrain Trillium line Carling Station, connects Hickory Street in the Civic Hospital neighbourhood with Adeline and then Preston Street on the Little Italy side. It makes it much easier for residents to access the Preston traditional main street, and opens a new off-Carling route for east west movements. It provides better access to the Carling Otrain station for those days the OTrain is actually running, and provides every-day access from the new condos and student housing high rises on Champagne Avenue to … Continue reading Hickory – Adeline Bridge opens

New Preston Separated Bike track

Preston Street and West Wellington were reconstructed several years ago with much improved pedestrian facilities and nice landscaping [every street should be similar]. However, neither included bike lanes or bike tracks (tracks were recently constructed on most of Churchill Avenue south of Byron).  Instead, people who cycle were viewed as “recreational” , able to be diverted off the main street onto side streets (eg Armstrong) or the Trillium Pathway. That people who cycle might want to shop or eat was underrated, and still is by some BIA’s. I was surprised, therefore, to see this separated bike track appear just days … Continue reading New Preston Separated Bike track

Inflate thyself

  I note with dismay that [some?] gas stations now charge for air to refill your tires. Even worse, I will never return for gas to one  that had free air for car tires but charged for bike tires. Regular readers here will recall seeing numerous examples of municipally supplied air pumps. While I appreciate the service, I do wonder if it is something we should be supplying from the general tax payer. In other countries, where initiative is more rewarded, I see ‘free air’ for cyclists offered as an inducement or invitation to patronize a business.   In the … Continue reading Inflate thyself

Gotta go pee ! (again)

So, the CBC this morning was featuring another story on our lack of public washrooms. So I thought it worthwhile reprinting this Feb.2015 story about public toilets. I think the potty solution from Portland would fit very nicely in Dundonald Park. As a society, we have a major aversion to acknowledging that people gotta go pee. Or poo. And that this happens when people are outside of the home. Like at transit stations. Or touristing in a city. In lieu of public WC signage, we are reduced to looking for the Golden Arches of M, where there is always a … Continue reading Gotta go pee ! (again)

Queensview Station Crossing (part iii)

In the West End, the Confederation Line LRT will eventually extend to Lincoln Fields, then along Pinecrest Creek (where the transitway is) and it will split into two directions from a point north of the Queensway. One leg will carry on to Algonquin College. The other leg vers westward under a city park and emerges from its underground tunnel between the Queensway and the west end bus garage on Queensview Drive. The in-an-open-cut  Queensview Station ( much like Westboro and Tunney’s Stations) will replace the lawn directly in front of The Brick. Directly opposite The Brick is The Ottawa Citizen plant, and … Continue reading Queensview Station Crossing (part iii)

Coventry Bridge, Tremblay LRT Station Underachievers (part ii)

Will the redeveloped Tremblay Station area be better than what is there today? Will there be a wonderful world of tomorrow, or just a bigger – higher – denser version of autotopia? Here’s a city-provided sketchup of the Tremblay LRT Station (formerly known as Train). Construction starts in December this year, for completion in July 2017. The ring road that services the train station is visible at the top; with the VIA Station at the top right. The parking lot shown is existing, but not for long. While the main LRT entrance is to the east, by the ring road, … Continue reading Coventry Bridge, Tremblay LRT Station Underachievers (part ii)

Coventry Active Transportation Bridge (part i)

I do occasionally get out of my WestSide stomping grounds. A recent trip took me to the near East Side where I had the opportunity to use the new Coventry  bridge for people who walk and people who cycle, over the Queensway. It’s also useful to look at it in light of the similar proposed Queensview bridge. I took the transitway to the Tremblay Station (in the hole in front of VIA Rail Station). The formerly landscaped slopes around it have been clearcut for construction starting later this year of the realigned roadbed and new Confederation LRT Line station location … Continue reading Coventry Active Transportation Bridge (part i)

City not interested in path under Qway

The City has pronounced itself regarding the replacement of the Queensway overpass at the OTrain / Trillium corridor. The existing east side pathway will get an underpass for people who walk or cycle. As for the west side, the City says:  It is deemed to be a longer-term project (post 2031) and therefore is not included in the City’s current affordable plan.  It should be noted that this west-side MUP could provide localized circulation benefits even if there were not to be a direct connection beneath the Queensway bridge.  Communities on the west side can still conveniently access the east-side … Continue reading City not interested in path under Qway

Ottawa’s LRT: Sifting Commercials for Info

  The City has decided some time ago not to engage transit users for feedback on the design and use of its new LRT vehicles and stations.   Instead, users are stuck until they can “try out” a PR model of the new trains, or watch PR Videos cheerleading the project. At Lansdowne Park, a mock-up LRT vehicle reveals numerous shortcomings, from entanglement points, very hard seats, to the lack of footroom at some seats that will make winter riding uncomfortable  and exiting the window seats acrobatic enough to challenge cirque de soleil performers. It’s a shame these details are coming … Continue reading Ottawa’s LRT: Sifting Commercials for Info

Westward ho ! (part ii) Western LRT along the parkway

  Rochester Field, now to be a condo development site with a green corridor to the parkway along its western (left) edge, is shown on the above map just above the word Richmond [Road]. The new LRT line, in a shallow cut-and-cover tunnel, with the eastbound traffic lanes of the Ottawa River parkway piggybacking on top, is shown as a thick orangey line extending straight along the parkland. This kilometer-long straight section I find very alarming. The “Parkway” is already derisively known as the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway because of its current high volumes and speeds that rarely descend to the posted … Continue reading Westward ho ! (part ii) Western LRT along the parkway

More Proof People Who Cycle are Cheap Dates

What’s odd about the illustration above?  It shows a residential street with a lane for people who ride bikes. There are also sidewalks for people who walk. Look at the opposite side of the street. There is a double yellow line quite close to the curb. It isn’t a trick of the camera angle or a feature of my poor photo skills. The double yellow line shows the centre line of the road. People who drive have the central portion. People who cycle have a demarked lane if they are going in the same direction as people who drive. People who … Continue reading More Proof People Who Cycle are Cheap Dates

Proof People Who Cycle are Cheap Dates

People who walk or cycle want infrastructure improvements. Fortunately these improvements are cheap compared to facilities for people who drive motor cars. More cycling and pedestrian infrastructure isn’t an extravagance or luxury in a city budget, it’s a bargain. Repeat: people who walk or cycle are cheap dates. Pretty much all residential streets in the US and Canada built since the 1940’s lack facilities for people who walk. We just decided to ignore them and their needs in favour of people who drive cars. In the west side of Ottawa, this is generally true anywhere west of Churchill Avenue. Now look … Continue reading Proof People Who Cycle are Cheap Dates

Building LeBetter Flats, part 7, the view from Portland

Portland, Oregon, is often referred to as a city that has gone further with “Smart Growth” than other cities. It promotes transit by train, streetcar, bike, and aerial tram. It has numerous award winning downtown parks and redevelopment sites. IMO, its planning reputation and branding sometimes exceeds its delivery. One site in particular is comparable to LeBreton Flats in terms of location (just outside the downtown core, on former industrial lands), although Portland’s South Waterfront is twice the area (402 acres vs NCC’s <200 acres). Portland’s has room to expand as it takes over adjacent industrial users; the NCC’s site … Continue reading Building LeBetter Flats, part 7, the view from Portland

Example of a simple big-crosswalk

OK, I’ve wondered (and bitched)  bit about the cacophony of crossing markings at Fifth and the QED. So what are other options? In the above pic, there is a bi-directional bike path leading to the intersection in the foreground. A lateral shift, what laypeople might call a severe jog, in the bike path encourages cyclists to slow down at the intersection. Built in traffic calming. The cross street sidewalk is brick, so there is a colour and texture identification. And for the cyclists and pedestrians on the street we are standing on, there is one giant zebra-striped crossing. Not a … Continue reading Example of a simple big-crosswalk

Complexity confuses

  Is it just me, or is there a fresh proliferation of new symbols and signs we are supposed to recognize and obey?  I find a lot of them not very clear at all. The new pedestrian crosswalk and cyclist crossride at Fifth and the Canal is an overdue intersection improvement and I am grateful that it is there. And I look forward to a lot more safe crossings in our road-traffic-dominated city. But the proliferation of symbols and signs is a sight to behold. Look at the above pic. The nearest crosswalk is marked with solid white lines and … Continue reading Complexity confuses

Bike Path, Walkway, Bus Stop: all together now

The City of Ottawa claims it cannot possibly design the new section of Booth Street running north from Albert, serving Pimisi Station and the LeBreton Flats area, to include motorists, buses, transit, and bikes. The cyclists just don’t fit. So they are being thrown under the bus. As for their partner in crime, the NCC’s vision for their new urban downtown showpiece doesn’t seem to include complete streets or cyclists. Dusk a few weeks ago, I noticed this lovely bike path – walkway – bus stop combo in Montreal, on the side of Park Lafontaine. Everyone approaching the place gets ample visual … Continue reading Bike Path, Walkway, Bus Stop: all together now

Making pathways relevant to real life

Real life takes place on real streets. Bike paths, and walking paths, are secondary sorts of things, not for real living. So goes conventional thinking. And so goes Ottawa thinking. Our city skips the idea of having street signs where the path goes by intersections. Why on earth would a cyclist want to know what that adjoining street is? S/he wouldn’t be actually going somewhere purposeful, maybe looking for an address? The NCC does post some signage on their paths, expensively produced for quality graphic visuals, but alas, often lacking useful information or downright confusing, and subject to previous stories … Continue reading Making pathways relevant to real life