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 by the City. Thus these areas benefit from the Laurier SBL spending.
For citizens cycling along Somerset, the “old” road marking plan had two lanes marked for each direction. The curbside lane was usually used for parking. However, this was not guaranteed. Rush hour commuters could reclaim the whole street. Now the City has re-marked portions of Somerset to show one travel lane in each direction, plus marked parking space at the side. This is consistent with the new style being used on Somerset west of Booth which has protected parking bays and one through lane. This is also used when Somerset becomes West Wellie in Hintonburg.
Here are some shots of the new markings. Note the “painted out” former lane markings which show significant gain in cycling space (allow for door openings, of course).
A sharrow is visible in the far distance. The spacing between the sharrows is probably perfect for cars going 50kmh but seem rather too far apart to be reassuring to cyclists. I noticed in Toronto and Montreal that sharrow symbols are painted much closer together than in Ottawa.
The Laurier bike lane directs west and southbound traffic along Laurier and Cambridge (through the city’s only woonerf, described here: http://westsideaction.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/design-exercise-i/ ).
Cyclists from the west can pick up the marked route at Empress, via Primrose, Cambridge, then Laurier. The route is marked with a combination of pavement sharrows and directional signage.
At last week’s quality assurance walkabout with City staff along the route, several of us recommended more frequent sharrows, and using sharrows to mark the turns. In my simplistic view, sharrows lead cyclists on, then when there is a turn in the route, cyclists are supposed to notice the signs mounted high up on posts. This seems a recipe for frustrating cyclists and getting them lost. Better to keep all markings on the road, or on the posts, or both, but not alternating.