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 and police response with the bike lane…
I met a lady on the path who was riding a Minto Place bicycle (the hotel provides free bikes to guests). She said she was delighted to find the path right by her hotel, as she is in town for a course and will be riding her bike from Minto Place to Ottawa U campus every day. She was doing a preliminary scouting of the route. Ironically, she was from Vancouver, upon whose bike lanes the Ottawa project is modelled, but she had never ridden on them. Coals to Newcastle, selling ice to Eskimos, etc. (And just how often do we meet strangers while we are inside our cars, in traffic?)
The lane is a pilot project, and will evolve. Just yesterday, the City removed some curb pieces in response to complaints of reduced access to building doors. Even though this curb bit was removed, cars still park along the curb, just like before, so it didn’t gain much:
Note too that the curbs are just for the pilot project. If the Laurier bike lanes become permanent, after the two year pilot, they will be a whole lane raised up about 4″ above the asphalt, similar to the SBL’s on Portage Bridge and the Major’s Hill Park approach to the Alexandra Bridge.
As for those complaining condo residents, this well used bike rack in front of one condo suggests something:
On Monday morning at 7.15 am I will be on CBC Radio discussing the lanes. They paired me off with a critic of the lanes. If you’re up at that time, be sure to tune in. If you miss it, there should be a audio clip of the interview posted on their web site.