OC Transpo bus routes in the downtown, 2018 version

This is part iii   of a series on downtown bus routes once the Confederation Line opens in 2018. Part i was on STO routes. Part ii was aimed at understanding what OC Transpo is trying to achieve with the new bus … Continue reading OC Transpo bus routes in the downtown, 2018 version

Buses in the downtown in LRT era, part ii, OC Transpo

So, having seen in Part i, what is planned (subject to change) for STO buses in downtown Ottawa once the Confederation Line LRT opens in or around August 2018 … let’s look at the OC Transpo routes. These OC Transpo … Continue reading Buses in the downtown in LRT era, part ii, OC Transpo

Sherbourne Ave segregated bike lane, Toronto

In 2012 Toronto converted some painted bike lanes on Sherbourne Street to a segregated bike lane. Sherbourne runs parallel to Yonge Street, and is about 8 blocks east of Yonge, running from Bloor to Front Street. A walk along the bike track proved interesting. Immediately south of Bloor, the track commences as a curbside painted lane, that then drifts out from the curb and becomes green painted. There is an orphan bit of black asphalt between it and the curb, with faded zebra hatching marks on it, but I was unable to determine if this was a right turn lane (awfully narrow) … Continue reading Sherbourne Ave segregated bike lane, Toronto

Bicycle tracks on the west side

A new sign has appeared on Albert Street near Empress (by the Good Companions, aka where Albert and Slater meet). It directs cyclists south along Empress, and up the stairs to get to Laurier. Now I recognize that this is a way to get to Laurier. And more specifically, the Laurier SBL. But after you hike your bike up hundreds of stairs (using the bike trough on the side of the steps), you arrive at the bottom of a steep hill. Walk up that, and you are at Primrose. Go east one block, north another block on Cambridge, then east … Continue reading Bicycle tracks on the west side

Digging up the Laurier SBL

Cyclists on the Laurier separated bike lane (SBL) should have noticed some discrete trenching going on in the lane. Apparently using a saw blade, a narrow trench is being cut along the curb that separates the lane from other traffic: The work is being done at night, so trench itself constitutes the evidence. Every so often, there is another cut at right angles, going towards an adjacent building. To keep debris out of the trench until the cables can be installed, a plastic cap is put on: The  fibre optics cable that is being installed by Globility (Primus) and they have pretty much  finished their work on Laurier … Continue reading Digging up the Laurier SBL

The City is monitoring much more than cycle traffic on Laurier

The Citizen reports today * that the City and Carleton U are monitoring cyclist and motorist behaviour along the Laurier separated bike lane (SBL). They are using video equipment to record behaviour of individual users and interactions amongst users. The citizen story doesn’t tell us HOW they are doing this, or give us the larger picture. Here is a photo overview of one video camera installation. The camera set up was used to record 100 hours of the intersection, then moved to the next, til all 8 Laurier intersections were monitored. (above): the recording device consists of some equipment boxes at the base, a … Continue reading The City is monitoring much more than cycle traffic on Laurier

Major changes coming to downtown streets

The current downtown Ottawa is rather blah. Some might even call it bleh. Over the decades, it has become a motor-vehicle-oriented environment, with the fast movement of vehicles the main only priority. We all know about the walls of buses. And the priority given to automobile commuters over pedestrians. Trees: rare as hen’s teeth. It has become a downtown one goes to because you have to. It is not a shopping, or even much of a recreation destination. All rather sad. When the LRT is opened, there will be major changes. Most OC Transpo buses will be off the Albert … Continue reading Major changes coming to downtown streets

Mr Clean’s Magic Eraser hits Downtown streets

Installing the separated bike lane (SBL) on Laurier Street downtown was a new experience, with lots of little details to figure out. Fortunately Laurier had just been resurfaced, so City staff had a clean slate to work with. Less aesthetically, the lines were painted on the street, changed slightly, repainted, shifted again, repainted… leaving a rather confusing mess. At the last minute, just in time for the SBL opening,  work crews painted over the ‘wrong’ lines with black paint. This was obviously a short term fix, since the first thing to wear off would be the black paint, revealing the white lines again, which … Continue reading Mr Clean’s Magic Eraser hits Downtown streets

Ode to a bare sidewalk

Friday saw me wandering about a fair bit of the City. The Centrepointe MUP (ped/cyclist path) is plowed in the winter, and there was the imprint of one cyclist. Mind, it was snowing hard at midday, so the evidence of previous cyclists (if any such hardy souls…) was quickly erased. Later in the afternoon, another cycle track, this time on the Albert Street MUP running along LeBreton Flats: But the most interesting stroll took me past the Laurier Separated Bike Lane. Now the City did promise to keep it plowed all winter, and boy, do they ever live up to their word on that one! It … Continue reading Ode to a bare sidewalk

Laurier Bike Lane opens

The Laurier Avenue separated bike lane (SBL) opened today. Mayor Watson was there, Marianne Wilkinson, and former councilor Bedard: There was a reasonable size crowd to see the ribbon cutting and hear the (mercifully short) speeches. There were some protesters too, objecting to the bike lanes. Two cyclists were wearing helmet cams to film what they see: These paramedics patrolled the path, searching in vain for early fatalities or run-over protesters. The bigger risk might be sunburn on the bum cleavage: There were several cycle-mounted police there too. It just might be possible that Laurier Avenue will have faster medical … Continue reading Laurier Bike Lane opens

The devil rides Watson’s new LRT route

Warning: long post. Go pee or get your coffee before you start reading. After so much huffing and puffing, the City has detailed its final LRT route and station locations, and their costs, to Council and the Public. The most noteworthy change has been to move the tunnel from the “cross country” deep alignment under Albert Street, then Queen Street … to one that traverses the downtown always under Queen. I have read the available material from the City justifying the move. It is a very political document, light on the technical stuff. It’s way more PR oriented than the previous reports. … Continue reading The devil rides Watson’s new LRT route

Unintended benefits of Laurier SBL

The Laurier Separated Bike Lane — SBL — opens July 10th. Considerable criticism has been levelled that it goes nowhere from nowhere to nowhere. I guess these critics want a SBL that never starts nor stops…  they just don’t want it at all. At the western end of Laurier, the bike lane stops at Bronson. Considerable volumes of bike traffic will have moved off the route to go north and west or south by time the lane reaches Bronson. But for traffic continuing into Dalhousie, Chinatown, or desiring to go south parallel to Bronson, some new measures have been put into place … Continue reading Unintended benefits of Laurier SBL

Ontario Bike Summit, Day 1

The Ontario Bike Summit started Monday at the Museum of Nature, and continues on Tuesday. Bug Me, says Watson: What’s a public meeting without politicians to speak? This meeting opened with an abundance of them. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson spoke of the increased volume of cyclists (155,000 in May) and their increased visibility. Speaking of the Laurier Separated Bike Lane (SBL) he made it clear that he understood some cyclists did not like the project, but “they don’t have to use it”. It is designed to offer a safer route for cyclists, to encourage more cycling, and to facilitate tourists who cycle … Continue reading Ontario Bike Summit, Day 1

Four inches that makes a difference

Four inches more. That’s all it would take. But alas, that shortage of four inches is significant.   City planners are today wishing they had four more inches to play with. The significance is on Gloucester Street, shown above, behind the Queen Elizabeth Towers condos. Notice that the city has changed the painted bike lane to a parking zone. As part of the “deal” to install the separated bike lane on Laurier, the city relocated the parking from both sides of Laurier to both sides of Gloucester. The Gloucester bike lane becomes redundant when the Laurier lane is installed this fall. During … Continue reading Four inches that makes a difference

More Empty Parking lots and underused streets

There are turning moments in the urban paradigm whereby all that was “normal” before gets swept away and is replaced by a new version of “normal”. I think we are in the midst of a paradigm shift to a new normal with respect to parking and streets in central cities. We saw this once in the 70’s when the anti-freeway mobilizers successfully beat down the Spadina Expressway in Toronto. This inspired decades of courage to residents of Canadian cities coast to coast to object to road building. It was only a partial victory of course. Freeways were renamed parkways, or arterials. The Hunt … Continue reading More Empty Parking lots and underused streets

Condo, heal thyself …

  Part of the controversy about the Laurier Separated Bike Lanes relates to who gets to use the street. According to the Bank Street BIA, it’s for cars and deliveries, period. Less strident but still vocal are the various condo owner and management groups in the core. Let’s look at one downtown condo, Queen Elizabeth towers, and their parking issues. Built in 1975 (left tower, 500 Laurier, 238 units) and 1978 (right tower, 530 Laurier,  217 units)  these 26 storey big block condos are a well known downtown presence. For these 455 units there are 455 parking spaces (according to the building manager’s office), … Continue reading Condo, heal thyself …

A tree grows … on Laurier

  While trees all around Ottawa are turning colours and dropping leaves, this paper birch in front of the Laurier Ave public library remains bright green and possessing all its leaves. For a few feet this bit of sidewalk seems to time travel back to summer time. Must be an alternate fantasy universe. I wish more landscape architects could find trees like this. We could extend the feel of summer until global warming finally gets here. Continue reading A tree grows … on Laurier

Cycling routes – part of roads? or sidewalks? or all on their own?

Timo Perala spoke at the CFSC agm on Tuesday evening. One point he made about cycling infrastructure in Oulu, Finland, got me thinking again about how cycling infrastructure should be regarded. In Copenhagen, cycling tracks are adjacent the curb, with parking lanes out closer to the traffic lanes. Cyclists cross intersections in two stages, like pedestrians, rather than in one left-turn movement like cars. This is the model Bedard liked after his trip to Copenhagen, and I earlier blogged about how I thought Vivi Chi liked this one too as it can be implemented consistently throughout an urban area. Although how she could fit this onto the freshly … Continue reading Cycling routes – part of roads? or sidewalks? or all on their own?