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 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.

13 thoughts on “Laurier Bike Lane opens

  1. Well, take no prisoners! Any idea who the critic is? It shouldn’t be too hard to counter point these people. I look forward to hearing it.

  2. There were a lot of naysayers and grumblers in Montreal when they put the de Maisonneuve segregated lanes right through the heart of downtown Montreal.

    But now EVERYBODY loves it, and no one would want to go back to the bad old days when car owners held all the aces and trampled everyone else’s rights.

    It’s about time Ottawa started to catch up – the Laurier bike lanes will be a huge success!

    The condo and business owners are being handed a big fat present – the presence of the bike lanes will drive up the value of their properties- and yet they still find something to complain about?

    I wanted to be there to celebrate today but I had to put in a shift on the Bells Corners FREE Bike-taxi.

  3. How about the people on Nepean and Gloucester? They now have more parking than they used to have. Could it be they are happier?

  4. Great job on the radio this morning Eric! Thanks for being such a great advocate for cycling. It was a great event yesterday. Just a little correction, the ex-councillor that was there was Jacques Legendre, not Bedard. Should also mention that Councillor Fleury arrived by bike and was there to kick things off and MC the event, in addition to Councillor Wilkinson, Councillor Mark Taylor and myself (who also cycled in from Westboro) were there. Dr. Isra Levy and Dr. Vera Etches of the City’s Public Health division were on hand, Fire Chief DeHoog, & Deputy City Manager Nancy Schepers (who cycled in from Barrhaven!) It was fun to see the Mayor cycling down the lanes with his trouser leg tucked in his sock. The City is committed to working out any issues during this pilot project – and it is a proud moment for Ottawa to be the first City in Ontario to have segregated cycling lanes in its downtown area.

  5. Thanks Katherine, I arrived a minute or two after 3 when the speechifying had already begun, and missed the introductions. I am glad more senior city representatives were there as role models. Other staff notice these things (attention all traffic engineers…).

    Now that we have the Laurier SBL, we need you to put efforts into getting BikeWest in place and especially getting it past Bayview Station to join the Scott path with the Albert path, and we will have a piece of model infrastructure for the city to really boast of — a dead straight off-road bike track extending from Westboro to downtown.

    1. And then, BikeEast… First step, a bridge over the Canal. Wait – DONE! Next step, Rideau River!

  6. I like the current version. They’re going to raise it up 4″ like on Portage? Portage is a bridge. There is nothing to pull into or out of. How are they going to handle the driveways? Will I still be able to duck in and out of it when the lane is blocked or I want to turn into a building on the left?

    BTW: Chief librarian Barbara Clubb was also there.

    1. Not sure why they want to raise it either? More cost and fodder for the anti-cyclists and the constant up and down at every break. It’s fine as it is.

      1. Raising it would bring it out of the gutter area. Driveways would be no more of an issue than they are with sidewalk curb cuts – in fact it would be somewhat easier since the height difference that the curb cuts have to overcome at each level would be less (my guess is 3-4″ from road to bike lane, and 2-3″ from bike lane to sidewalk). Some of the other issues that have been raised so far, such as emergency and disabled access, would be mitigated with a raised lane as opposed to a line of parking curbs, although intrusions by delivery vehicles would be facilitated so a bit of thought would have to be put into that.

        At intersections, it would depend on how the intersections are designed. They could, for example, choose to raise the intersections to the bike lane level, which would also mean that pedestrians wouldn’t have to descend as far to cross at crosswalks.

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