Most attention for cycling usually goes to the downtown core, with its thousands of commuters, denser communities, expensive parking, traffic congestion and all that comes with a big city. However, in the last few years, the suburbs see an increase in cycling too and not only recreational. For example, 40% of interviewed people (source: Ottawa Bicycle Plan) would like to cycle more if there was more and better bike infrastructure (which doesn't mean bike lanes alone, but also bike parking, safe routes to school etc.).
Fisher Heights, situated just south of the Experimental Farm, between Fisher and Merivale, is becoming more and more popular, as the properties are more affordable than downtown and it is still only about 8 km from the down town core. This translates to about a 25 to 30 minute bike commute, partly through the very quiet Experimental Farm, or a 20-30 minute bus commute.
Vanier Community Association is asking the city for improved safety for cycling residents to Byward Market, downtown and Gatineau. City says no to complete street, can't chip off 20 cm from car lane and offers sharrows instead.
Here is the letter:
Mayor Jim Watson
Councillor Mathieu Fleury
Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Ave W
May 18, 2014
Re: Opportunity for a Complete Street for St. Patrick Street
Dear Mayor Watson and Councillor Fleury,
I am writing on behalf of Vanier residents to express our desire to have a bicycle lane installed the length of St. Patrick Street as part of the resurfacing project this summer. At this time, the City has planned a bicycle lane for only on a portion of this street.
St. Patrick Street is the main link for residents of Vanier (and our neighbours in New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, Manor Park and Rockliffe) to access the ByWard Market, Centretown, Gatineau (via the Alexandria Bridge) and neighbourhoods in the west of Ottawa. It is located within the inner urban area of Ottawa, which in the Ottawa Cycling Plan, is targeted for the greatest cycling modal share increase.
The Vanier Community Association has been advocating for a bicycle lane along this street for some time. In March, a city planner attended the Vanier Community Association’s monthly meeting and presented the plan for St. Patrick Street, which is to install a bicycle lane along a portion of St. Patrick Street, and sharrows on the rest.
Left to right: Alex DeVries, Kathleen Wilker, Risa Sargent, Councillor Egli, Hans Moor, Mayor Jim Watson, Isabel Jenish, Nico and Schuyler Playford.
On May 14, 2014 Citizens for Safe Cycling received the Mayor's Office City Builder Award for 30 years of cycling advocacy in Ottawa, Canada's capital. Citizens for Safe Cycling started promoting safer road conditions in 1984 and has played a leading role in advocating cycling for everyone. The mayor praised the role of Citizens for Safe Cycling in building a cycling culture.
1,000,000 bike ride counted on Laurier Ave Bike Lane today
Today, the bike counters that are built in the Laurier bike lanes counted the 1,000,000 bike ride. Last night the counter was 650 rides away from this mile stone number. With over 2000 rides last Monday it is reasonable to assume that the magic number was reached somewhere at the end of this morning.
The bike lane opened in July 2011. Although there was some resistance from condo owners and a Business Improvement Area on Bank St, the city recognized the need for a safer way to cross town.
The number of cyclists doubled to tripled and during the high season, the lanes see as many as 2500 to nearly 3000 bike rides a day, adding up to over 50,000 a month. The weekends are lower, indicating that the lanes are popular with commuters.