The case for separated cycling infrastructure on the Hazeldean, Robertson, Baseline Corridor

Written by Joshua Franklin

As a suburban cyclist living in Kanata I spend a lot of time commuting by bike because of the long distances. As such I try to take the most direct route to save time, and this route for me is the Hazeldean, Robertson, Baseline Corridor. I have used this route to go to Carleton University and now I plan to bike to my new job in Merivale when the pandemic is over.

This route takes me down Hazeldean, to Robertson and then along Baseline. The ride along Hazeldean is the only feasible route for people on bikes that do not want to add lots of extra travel time to their trip. But, I feel unsafe and scared while biking, and I would really like the city to add a separated protected bike lane on this major through road.

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I know other people would like this too because I see lots of people on bikes, even some children and seniors, biking on the sidewalk beside me on the road. This even happens in places where there is a painted bike lane. It is not safe and that’s why people do not use it. The demand is there but the infrastructure is not.

These are major roads that many people use, and I would like the opportunity to feel safe while using it too. I know many others would enjoy the streetscape a lot more if there was more space between them and the motor vehicles, and bike lanes would provide this space. These are also arterial roads, going through communities and many more people would use this convenient connector street to get to stores if it had separated bike lanes because of the increased safety.

I ride a bike and use public transit instead of driving because I think planning a city that prioritizes personal vehicle use is inefficient. Road infrastructure costs the public a lot of money, roads make sprawling communities that are hard to access for people who do not drive, traffic causes lots of wasted time, traffic crashes are the most likely cause of death of my age group, pollution from motor vehicles hurts the health of the entire community and burning fossil fuels changes the world’s climate, which makes it harder for future generations to live. Additionally, I am a financially conscious person, so I ride a bike because it is much less expensive than owning, maintaining, and insuring a private car. Many people can afford to travel this way, no matter their story or personal struggle – bicycles are mobility devices for many people.

I began riding a bike about once a month in the warm months, when I started school in 2015, biking from Carleton (using the rack and roll programs). In 2020-2021 I have been biking to school and back about one day a week due to the safety concerns during the pandemic. When I go back to work when the office reopens, I will be biking to and from work every day.


The image below is a broken guard rail that highlights how unsafe this section of road is. A vehicle hit this guard rail and completely mangled it. If anyone was biking, walking or rolling, on or beside the sidewalk on this road at the time of this crash they would be seriously injured or worse.

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This guardrail is not the only casualty, several people have been injured and killed on this road. I have sent all the pictures in this blog post and an explanation about the need for safety improvements by email to my city councillor on April 22nd, 2021. On June 11th a teenaged boy crossing the road was struck by a driver and seriously injured on Baseline Road. According to reports this was a hit and run. Police are still searching for the driver. I hope this child does not die of their injuries. On March 11th there was a fatal crash between 2 vehicles on baseline. On September 15th, 2020, a man walking was struck by a vehicle on baseline and died (another hit and run). In 2017 two men died when they drove dangerously and flipped their car on Baseline.

This happens too much and future events can be prevented with safer road designs. The city was warned, and crashes will not stop until the road is modified to make it safe. I think these woeful events call for road improvements on Baseline. How many more incidents need to happen before the city to see the issues? I asked about two months ago, what is being done to improve this road for vulnerable road users? I was directed to a general cycling improvement meeting, where they did not address the road. I see no plan to fix the situation. It seems like the city is constantly playing with people’s lives as if they’re just numbers on a page, when each and every person hit by a driver somewhere suffers, or every person forced to ride unsafe spaces suffers from at least the fear of being hit.

A separated bike lane would protect people on bike and pedestrians from motor vehicles thus improving everyone’s safety. Additionally, intersection improvements like removing slip lanes would cause less conflicts.

I think it is strange that the city is very slow to act on building on safe biking infrastructure but has pledged to go net zero by 2050. Obviously riding a bike is a very easy way to reduce transportation emissions for a very low cost. As per the 2013 Transportation Master Plan (TMP), riding a bike has a very low government and social cost compared to the automobile (Exhibit 2.9 attached).

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The City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) highlights that people support reducing automobile dependence. In the TMP, the city of Ottawa stated it wanted the bicycling modal share rate in Kanata/Stittville to increase from 1% to 4% by 2030, creating protected bike lanes on the Hazeldean and Baseline would help meet this target. The route I am discussing is supposed to be a spine cycling route. When will the city start planning/building it?

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Smyth Road Improvements: Coming Summer 2021

Google map screenshot of the satellite image of Smyth and Riverside

The City is about to undertake improvements to biking on Smyth Road from Riverside Drive to the Ottawa Hospital Riverside Campus. Improvements will include modifications to the Riverside Drive on/off ramps at Smyth Road, as well as improvements to streets in the area. Read about the project on the City’s website HERE.

From the proposed plan, some cycle tracks (good!), and some “share the road” signs (bad).


Bike Ottawa has submitted a letter (see below) regarding the proposed changes. We have some concerns, especially with Smyth Road and Riverside Driver intersection, which is a part of the Alta Planning list of high risk intersections. The project plan does not align with the suggestions from Alta Planning for a fully protected intersection here, and it should.


Read on to see what we have suggested the City pay close attention to in order to ensure the area is safe for all ages and abilities to choose to ride a bike on these streets.

(Full letter in text form readable below this image).

Page 1 of our letter (text version below)
Page 2 of our letter. Text version below


To: Nick Giamberardino, EIT, Project Manager, Infrastructure Services, City of Ottawa

CC: Councillor Shawn Menard, Councillor Jean Cloutier

Via email: nick.giamberardino@ottawa.ca, capitalward@ottawa.ca, Jean.Cloutier@ottawa.ca

Date: June 23, 2021

Subject: Smyth Road Cycling Safety Improvements and Neighbourhood Bikeway Modifications

Dear Mr. Giamberardino,

We are writing to express Bike Ottawa’s general support for the Smyth Road Cycling Safety Improvements and Neighbourhood Bikeway Modifications project.


While the proposed design changes to Smyth Road at the east end of the McIlraith Bridge are an improvement from existing conditions, the design of Smyth and the Riverside Hospital intersection appears to have been “value engineered” from the fully protected intersection design completed by Alta Planning+Design. We strongly suggest that this design be restored, as the proposed design will still encourage higher speeds as drivers enter or exit the ramps, and does not sufficiently mitigate potential conflicts between people on bikes, pedestrians and drivers.

Bike Ottawa would like to offer the following suggestions for improvements:

1. Bike Ottawa does not support the use of sharrows along Billings and Portage Avenues, or on high-volume arterial roads, as sharrows have been shown to actually decrease safety for people on bikes. Traffic calming and wayfinding signage would be preferable to sharrows for a neighbourhood bikeway. In addition, the concept design from Alta removed the eastbound and westbound auxiliary lanes to provide cycle tracks. We request that the city reinstate cycle tracks in the design, or consider alternative design treatments such as pinned curbs and flex-stakes, between the Riverside ramps and the Riverside Hospital access, in order to eliminate the shared-use lanes in this area.

2. There is no indication in the designs for the Riverside Hospital access that right turn on red will be prohibited. We believe this movement should be prohibited to avoid vehicles blocking the bike box or other conflicts with this facility.

3. The crossing of Alta Vista Dr for east-west cyclists on Billings appears to be potentially challenging, given that this intersection is unsignalized. We understand that a reconstruction is planned for Alta Vista Dr and would hope that options for an improved crossing treatment, such as signals, a refuge island, or a mini-roundabout, are being considered.

4. On Pleasant Park (westbound) at Riverside, it appears that a bike box may be a more appropriate treatment than the sharrows indicated. Some markings across the intersection may be appropriate to direct cyclists to the MUP.

5. There has long been demand from the cycling community for an improved connection from the NCC Rideau River Eastern Pathway to the McIlraith Bridge. We are disappointed that these connections are not included in this project and hope that improvements will be made in the near future.

6. We look forward to seeing the revised designs for Billings Ave at Lynda Lane. The proposed PXO appears to be an awkward crossing for cyclists. In addition, we are concerned that the Lynda Lane Park MUP may be substandard width.

7. The project should include useful and descriptive wayfinding signage for cyclists throughout.

We thank you for your consideration of our concerns and recommendations. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information. We look forward to riding this new infrastructure once construction is complete.

Sincerely,

Brad Nixon
Advocacy Working Group, Bike Ottawa

The New Civic Hospital: Planning for the future?

Rendering of the view of the new Civid Hospital Campus

Written by Barbara Greenberg, Érinn Cunningham, and William van Geest

In May, the City of Ottawa released the Transportation Impact Assessment and Mobility Study for the new Civic Campus to be built at the Experimental Farm provides great detail about how hospital staff, patients and visitors will access the hospital and what infrastructure will be needed. Bike Ottawa volunteers have been poring over the study to see what has been proposed for the site, and how it will encourage sustainable transportation to reach the new campus. The plan acknowledges the importance of active transportation, but at every turn private motor vehicles are prioritized, casting doubt on how effective public transit and active transportation will be in bringing people to the campus. In fact, the slide deck presented by the hospital’s consultants does not mince words about the campus being unfriendly to walking and biking.

Planners anticipate the long walk and suggest “ample” places for people to stop and rest on their way to the main building.

It’s no surprise, then, to find in the plans the hospital takes over city owned land, and removes an important existing active transportation route. What’s that, you ask? A portion of the existing Trillium multi-use pathway (MUP) from Carling Avenue to Prince of Wales Drive will be removed and “replaced” in order to make space for a parking garage. We’d love to see biking facilities on Preston Street, but not at the expense of a safer, low stress, Trillium MUP. With the removal of the Trillium MUP, people will be given two options. The first option will reroute people along Carling Ave to Preston Street, which is a higher-stress route– running adjacent to a bus route and motorized traffic, and through busy intersections, forcing people to navigate more conflict points, including Carling and Trillium, Carling and Preston, and the entrance to a very large and presumably much busier parking garage. Is this route designed for all ages and abilities to ride their bike? 

Plan for Carling Ave and Preston St.

The second replacement option is the “on-site path” to access Prince of Wales, which diverts people on bikes through a portion of the campus intended for calm pedestrian traffic and invites conflicts. At the very least this should be a segregated facility, but ideally the direct route should be preserved as it acts as more of a “bike highway”. Both replacements result in a poorer user experience.

Proposed active transportation plan

If we want to become a city of active transportation, we need to add safe choices for routes, not remove them. This means building for the modal split we want going forward. If you want people to ride a bike to the hospital, then give them an abundance of safe route options, rather than making people who walk, roll, or bike “just go around.” Likewise, the main building and entrances are set so far away from the LRT station and the main streets themselves, forcing those who arrive by transit, rolling, walking, and biking, to travel the longest distances.

Modal share targets for opening day are less than the current standards for walking and biking

While we understand not everyone will be able to walk, roll, bike, or take transit to the hospital, many people will be able to make such a choice. But for people to make that choice, we need  safe and convenient infrastructure that makes it easy to access the hospital. At present, the modal share estimates for the 2028 opening and the future growth of the hospital are egregious – just 3% for walking and 2% for biking. Even the 2013 Transportation Master Plan (soon to be replaced with the new Active Transportation Plan) calls for 10% walking and 5% biking modal share goals for 2031. The hospital will be located near well used multi-use pathways and an LRT station. When the City writes that its Official Plan is to have the “majority” of trips be made by sustainable transportation by 2046, why is the plan for the Civic Hospital aiming so incredibly low? Even the plan itself admits it will not be meeting the existing Transportation Master Plan targets because there is so much existing infrastructure devoted to private vehicles. The only thing that appears to meet the modal share targets are trucks.

Part of the blame lies at the feet of the City and parking minimums, and this is where things get tricky. The Hospital plan is designed to meet the outdated parking minimums required by the City of Ottawa, despite the proximity of rapid transit and active transportation links. But the hospital will be built and used after the New Official Plan is passed, and parking minimums near transit stations are to be reduced.

Parking Plans

Meanwhile, the new Campus plan has put in 2,500 spaces of parking right across the street from the Carling LRT station. There’s a disconnect here in the planning process, the current guidelines, and upcoming changes in the new Official Plan. Better design is needed and the plans should be held to a higher standard than the previous guidelines currently being used for this site.

We believe that a hospital, of all places, must do better to encourage people to travel by sustainable modes. The new Campus will be served by LRT, bus rapid transit and – as the study itself acknowledges – benefits from strong connectivity to the current active transportation network. We believe the new Campus can and must do better to make sure that its transportation plans better align with the new Official Plan.

Below is the first letter Bike Ottawa has submitted in response to the proposed Civic Hospital plan

Continue scrolling for text-based reading.

To: Sean Moore, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department, City of Ottawa

CC: Councillor Jan Harder, Chair, Planning Committee, City of Ottawa

Councillor Glen Gower, Vice Chair, Planning Committee, City of Ottawa

Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair, Transportation Committee, City of Ottawa

Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward

Councillor Riley Brockington, River Ward

Via email: TOH@ottawa.ca, jan.harder@ottawa.ca, glen.gower@ottawa.ca, tim.tierney@ottawa.ca, jeff.leiper@ottawa.ca, riley.brockington@ottawa.ca 

Date: June 18, 2021

Subject: Ottawa Hospital New Civic Campus Transportation Plan 

Dear Mr. Moore,

Bike Ottawa is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that advocates for safe bike infrastructure in Ottawa. We have reviewed the transportation study for the new Civic Hospital campus and would like to provide the following input. While this letter largely contains high-level observations about the transportation study, Bike Ottawa intends to submit more fulsome comments in the coming weeks to address the details of the transportation plan.

We are glad to see the inclusion of active transportation in the transportation plan, and that the plan acknowledges the importance of active transportation for ensuring smooth access to the hospital. Nevertheless, the plan in its current form prioritizes car travel in ways that disincentivize non-car travel and will ultimately make access to the hospital more difficult for all.

Some obvious examples of this prioritization of car travel are as follows:

  1. The parts of the plan pertaining to car travel are well-developed and detailed; those pertaining to biking, by contrast, are—by the plan’s own admission—underdeveloped (e.g., pp. 57, 63)
  1. Anyone who takes light-rail transit (LRT) to the hospital must walk further to get to the hospital than anyone who takes a car: the most remote spot in the parking structure is closer to the hospital’s main structure than the Dow’s Lake LRT station
  1. Certain aspects of the plan clearly prioritize vehicle movement over other transportation modes; for example, “future MMLOS for road segments and intersections did not meet minimum targets for pedestrian and cyclist performance,” but “The new Civic Development access intersections were all shown to operate well [for car traffic] in both future horizons” (p. 88)
  1. The plan’s language is car-centric: any reference to “traffic” implies car traffic and any reference to “parking” implies car parking, while the same terms for other modes are qualified by mention of that mode (“bike traffic,” etc.)

We also believe the modal share targets are inappropriate. The current modal share targets for 2028 are 3% for walking and 2% for bking. These goals fall significantly short of the modal share goals set out in the City of Ottawa’s Transportation Master Plan (2013), which call for targets of 10% for walking and 5% for biking by 2031 (p. 23). Moreover, the hospital is well-situated, connected to high-use transit lines and existing bike networks; there is no reason why these shares should not be similar to those of other urban areas in Ottawa, whose shares are much higher than the average just stated. 

One of the serious flaws of these projections is that they are based on a modal share of 0% for active transportation at the existing Civic Hospital campus (p. 28), which is demonstrably inaccurate: many current employees, for example, bike to work. Another flaw is that estimates are based on the ITE Trip Generation Manual, which, as the plan acknowledges, are vehicle-centric, are based on United States travel patterns, and were completed decades ago (p. 26). While these figures may be “cost effective,” they produce inaccurate results that heavily privilege car travel.

The discussion of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) highlights many potentially helpful means of reducing vehicle reliance and promoting more sustainable modes like active transportation, such as:

  1. Establishing a full-time staff position for a TDM coordinator
  2. Policy-based financial incentives to using sustainable modes
  3. Provision of adequate bike parking, showering facilities, and lockers
  4. Educational programs for active transportation
  5. Partnership with local organizations devoted to sustainability

Nevertheless, these measures remain speculative. Given the importance of these measures for the new campus’s successful operation, they should be integrated with the main plan and should involve firm commitments. 

Active Transportation Infrastructure

We are also concerned that the active transportation plan does not fully address the needs of people who are arriving to the campus by bike, or who are biking through the area to destinations beyond the campus:

  1. Bike Ottawa opposes removing the Trillium MUP between Carling and Prince of Wales in favour of a bikeway along Preston. The Trillium MUP functions as a bike highway, providing key connections to the Ottawa River pathway system, the Albert-Scott Crosstown Bikeway, planned facilities along Carling Avenue that will connect with The Glebe and neighbourhoods further west, the Rideau Canal MUP, the Arboretum MUP that connects to Carleton University, and Prince of Wales bike lanes that connect neighbourhoods to the south. As such, the Trillium MUP should be preserved with preference given to the current alignment, as it provides a low-stress, direct route to connect with the northern portion of the MUP. Realigning the MUP to follow Preston will also add considerable distance for pedestrians who use the Trillium MUP.
  1. Bike Ottawa recommends that the Queen Juliana Pathway be retained and designed in such a way that acknowledges its current role as an alternate north-south bike connection between the communities to the north and destinations to the south. Regardless of designation as a secondary path, the Queen Juliana pathway will continue to be viewed as a desirable bike route in the future.
  2. While the portion of the campus to the east of the escarpment includes active transportation links, we are concerned that the western portion features no bike infrastructure. In general, we find the road cross sections contemplated in the transportation plan to be overdesigned for local vehicular access. In order to provide a safer experience for people on bikes, we recommend building narrower streets with fewer lanes (maximum 3) designed for 30km/h operational speed. For streets designated for emergency services, such as Maple Lane, we recommend building segregated bike infrastructure to reduce the possibility of conflict between people on bikes and faster-moving ambulances.
  3. The proposal to upgrade the Prince of Wales bike lane on the north side to a cycle track is a welcome improvement, and we request that the sout- side bike lane receive similar treatment to improve safety in the area in light of increased traffic associated with the new campus. Ideally, cycle tracks should extend southwards to the traffic circle at the Experimental Farm.
  4. We are also pleased to see the proposed addition of a protected bikeway on Preston Street and crossrides at major intersections. Segregated bike infrastructure improves safety for all users on our streets and will make biking to the campus a more attractive option.

We thank you in advance for your consideration of our recommendations. Once again, we anticipate sending more detailed recommendations in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we are glad to discuss our feedback and any other issues that may arise at your convenience.  

Sincerely,

Érinn Cunningham

President, Bike Ottawa

William van Geest

Advocacy Working Group Chair, Bike Ottawa


Note: Previous version contained a typo stating the parking garage near the LRT would contain 24000 spaces. This has been amended to 2,500. (June 25, 20201).

Rideau Canal Management Plan: Bike Ottawa Feedback

The Bike Ottawa Advocacy Working Group (AWG) has reviewed the Rideau Canal Draft Management Plan and submitted comments to the Ontario Waterways and Parks Canada. We find the plan is quite high level, but does not adequately consider accessibility or active transportation.

We have proposed more specific enhancements to the plan, with a focus on cycling infrastructure, as well as making the crossings more accessible for all users.

The crossings for the Rideau Canal should be viewed as mini-bridges which should be accessible to all people, regardless of age or abilities. Building crossings in this way will enhance the connections across the Canal and help build connections between communities.

For specific details, read our letter below.

Or access the PDF HERE.

To: David Britton, Director, Ontario Waterways, Parks Canada 

Susan Millar, Planner, Ontario Waterways, Parks Canada 

Via email: pc.rideau.pc@canada.ca 

Date: April 30, 2021 

Subject: Rideau Canal Draft Management Plan 

Dear Mr. Britton and Ms. Millar, 

I am writing concerning the Rideau Canal Management Plan, on behalf of the Bike Ottawa Advocacy Working Group. 

Our organization finds that the Plan offers a good high-level overview. Nevertheless, we believe that more attention should be given to making the sites more accessible to cycling and other forms of active transportation. 

Here are following are a few cycling specific considerations that we’d like to highlight: 

● Accessibility considerations such as ramps over locks, including the width of the ramps and crossways. Ramps and crossways should be accessible to wheeled devices, bikes, and e-bikes, including bicycles set up for cycle-touring and cargo bikes, etc. 

● Access to good-quality racks for all types of bikes at each lock site. Racks used at Landsdowne are a good example of this, as all types of bikes can be locked at the frame. 

● Provision of repair maintenance stands with bike pumps alongside racks. These would greatly support bike tourists as well as the everyday person on a bike. 

● Consideration of pathway widths and connections, especially for the portions of the Canal in busy urban environments like Ottawa. The Transportation Association of Canada suggestees widths of 2.1m and segregation between walking and cycling for urban environments. This is a lower-stress environment for pedestrians who walk at 5kph, compared with cyclists at 20kph. 

● Pathways should connect to National Capital Commission and City of Ottawa cycleways. info@BikeOawa.ca P.O.Box 248, Staon B, Oawa, ON, K1P 6C4 Bike Oawa.ca 1

● Winter maintenance of pathways, especially in busy urban environments like Hartwell Locks (locks 9-10) and the Trans-Canada Trail (locks 1-8) at the Ottawa River, is crucial. Particular consideration should be given that pathway design be amenable to winter maintenance so as to encourage year-round access. Also, a plan detailing this maintenance should be developed as part of the infrastructure-planning process, as accommodations may need to be made for maintenance equipment. 

● Pathways should be designed to minimize water and ice accumulation and to accommodate all maintenance equipment. Less environmentally harmful deicing products like potassium formate and or mechanical methods like sweeping should also be considered. Another option is packed-snow standard that does require levelling, gritting and removal of snow, if the surface becomes soft. 

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our comments and concerns. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. 

Kind regards, 

Nicole Lewis 

Member, Advocacy Working Group 


Moving Ontarians More Safely Act

Ottawa resident sails along on her cargo bike with her son at the helm. Photo credit: GabeImages

“The Moving Ontarians More Safely (MOMS) Act”, is touted by the Ontario government as new legislation that “will help protect people and families by targeting those who engage in stunt driving and unsafe, high-risk driving.” Digging into the Bill, we find it also includes new regulations for e-bikes and cargo bike usage across Ontario.

Bike Ottawa has submitted the following letter in response to the proposed Bill, as we have concerns about many of the details in the Bill. You can read our letter below, further discussion on the topic of cargo bike/e-bike use and the MOMS Act is forthcoming.

Stay tuned…

To: Honorable Caroline Mulroney, Ontario Minister of Transportation; MPP Jennifer
French, Transport Critic; MPP Joel Harden, Ottawa Centre
CC: info@sharetheroad.ca, info@canadabikes.org, advocacy@bikeottawa.ca
Via email: minister.mto@ontario.ca, jfrench-qp@ndp.on.ca, jharden-co@ndp.on.ca


Date: May 6, 2021

Subject: Bill 282, Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021


Dear Hon. Caroline Mulroney, MPP Jennifer French, MPP Joel Harden:

We are encouraged to see this government reviewing legislation to make our communities
safer concerning the dangerous operation of motor vehicles.
We are also encouraged to see a requirement to report injuries of cyclists hit by car doors
(“dooring”). However, we suggest that this reporting not be restricted to one part of a vehicle
only, but encompass injuries to a cyclist resulting from contact with any part of the car. We
urge that agencies across the province be provided with the directions and information to
properly document these “collisions” (not “accidents” per language used in this Act) from the
perspective of someone riding a bicycle.


We would also like to highlight other language in this Act that, if left unchanged, will have
negative impacts on Ontarians, families and companies currently using electric-assisted
bicycles (e-bikes) now and in the future. Namely, Bike Ottawa is concerned with:


● Restricting e-bikes to “conventional exposed fork-and-frame bicycle design”, makes
certain types of bicycles already being used by Ontarians illegal (such as recumbents
and tricycles). We are concerned this may stifle future e-bike development and
accessible designs. Instead, we suggest differentiaing between pedal-driven cycles
and those that resemble motor scooters or motorcycles;
● Not permitting quad-cycles, which are often used to move cargo safely in the EU;
● Language around pedals will make some types of bicycles already used in Ontario,
such as hand-rowed bicycles and walking bicycles, illegal if electrified. We
recommend adopting the North American standard Three Class System,
already used in many US states, to better differentiate between pedal and
throttle driven cycles;
● Wheel-size restrictions making many bicycles already in Ontario illegal to electrify;
● Weight restrictions off 55 kilograms, which diminish the practicality of these e-bikes
already in use by families, restrict “Cycling Without Age” cycles, as well as the
implementation of cargo bikes by businesses to move goods in Ottawa more
sustainably and efficiently;

We strongly encourage your government to consult with industry groups and other
concerned organizations with respect to this Act to ensure that any e-bike legislation is
well-researched, focusing on promoting their use while making Ontario safer for people on
bikes.
Relevant examples of documentation you may want to consult includes:
1) European Union REGULATION (EU) No 168/2013: the approval and market
surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles
2) People for Bikes: Model Electric Bicycle Law with Classes


We thank you for your time and consideration of our concerns and recommendations.


Sincerely,
Dave Robertson
Board of Directors
Bike Ottawa

Bank Street Canal Bridge Rehabilitation

Written by Christie Cole and Don Grant

In April 2020, after the start of the pandemic, the office of Councillor Shawn Menard purchased a number of large barrel pylons to be placed on the Bank Street Bridge near Lansdowne in order to provide more space for active transportation and physical distancing. This created a safer environment for people walking and rolling, with limited impacts on motor vehicle traffic. It also gave people on bikes the opportunity to actually experience how travel over the Bridge could be much safer.
Around the same time, the City of Ottawa retained the consulting firm WSP to complete the design of repairs to the Bank Street Bridge. Construction of these repairs began in summer 2020, but after the start of the project, the City asked WSP to develop a revised design to improve active transportation facilities. The key change to the new design is that it will include two northbound vehicle lanes and one southbound vehicle lane over the Bridge which will create space for active transportation facilities.
In March 2021, Bike Ottawa attended a meeting organized by the City and provided comments on the new design. In a follow up letter to the City, several key points were made by Bike Ottawa.

Grade Separation
The proposed solution includes a difference in height between the cycle track side and pedestrian walkway side which we see as having pros and cons. It is better to have height separation to encourage the separation of users, but this also places a cyclist at increased risk if an evasive maneuver is needed, for example to avoid a small child or dog jumping into the cycle track. Nevertheless, Bike Ottawa endorses grade separation on the multiuse path (between users) because of the benefits it provides to other users.

Staff recommended Bridge design


Protection from Vehicles
There is a risk that a cyclist could fall from the raised cycle track into traffic. This risk could be mitigated with the installation a solid barrier of some kind. During the meeting, we shared images of narrow barriers that rely on tension wires. This would allow some snow to move to the street and would keep the people on bikes from falling into traffic. After further discussion as a group, we feel extremely uncomfortable with not having a physical barrier as part of the design options.
Bike Ottawa has indicated that the City and its planners must find a way to install a barrier within the space designated as a painted buffer (30 cm in each side), in order to prevent a tragedy from occurring along this cycle track.

An example of possible physical barrier that could be used to keep people on bikes safer and separated from motor vehicle traffic


Signage to Help Northbound People on Bikes
Bike Ottawa has also suggested the installation of signage at the bottom of the Bridge at the end of the northbound section to direct people on bikes and walkers to watch for each other, and encourage people on bikes to do a loop southbound on to the MUP just east of the Bridge, and then turn under if they wish to travel west.

Approaching the Bridge
We provided our support for extending the cycle track to Aylmer to reduce conflicts southbound when exiting the Bridge and start at Aylmer to go approach the Bridge going northbound.
We also feel that the southbound transition for people on bikes onto the Bridge is not ideal. Placing an advanced bicycle light at Exhibition Way (for people traveling from Lansdowne) would be really important for the people on bikes that are in the area right now, since we see few headed South from Holmwood Ave. down Bank.
We indicated our preference to have the bike lane begin further back. There is a speed board on the bridge that shows that motorists regularly drive faster than the speed limit, and with the new configuration, it may encourage them to try to “get ahead” of the line where two lanes move down to one. As a result, having the bike lane begin sooner will allow people on bikes a safer ride, giving them their own space from motor vehicles traveling at speed.
We also indicated the need for a physical barrier at Wilton Street to protect people on bikes in the bike lane by ensuring that vehicles slow down and make a proper 90 degree turn, rather than using the bike lane as a right turn lane.


Construction Start and End Dates
The City indicated that construction for the improved active transportation facilities is expected to begin in the Summer of 2021 and last until Fall 2021.

For More Information
For more information visit the City of Ottawa’s project page.

Improvements for Active Transportation on Connaught Avenue

Written by Sarah Sullivan Partridge and William van Geest

Bike Ottawa sent a letter to the City of Ottawa regarding a plan to add pedestrian infrastructure on Connaught Avenue.

In general, Bike Ottawa supports this project: a continuous sidewalk the length of Connaught will provide a safer space for residents of all ages and abilities to access local amenities, whether Connaught Park, Pinecrest Creek MUP, Elmhurst Park, Lincoln Fields LRT Station, Queensview LRT Station, Severn Avenue Public School, or Woodroffe High School, among others.

Nevertheless, Bike Ottawa also had some suggestions for these plans.

Connaught-Pinecrest Creek Pathway Connection

This proposal also has provisions for the connections from the Pinecrest Creek Multi-Use Pathway to Connaught Ave in four places: at Sackville St., Elmhurst St., Henley St., and Hanlon Ave. The Pinecrest Creek Pathway is heavily used by both pedestrians and cyclists. (See Figure 1. For more Strava heat maps in Ottawa, see Bike Ottawa’s map page.)

Strava heat map of the area.


Bike Ottawa is concerned about the proposed bollard in the middle of the Pinecrest Creek MUP, at the junction of that MUP and Connaught Ave. This bollard would make navigating the path difficult for non-standard bicycles, such as cargo bikes, tandem bikes, bike trailers, and other modified bicycles. Bollards also pose a danger to children learning to ride and cause a friction point between varied traffic, such as groups of pedestrians and groups of cyclists, because the space to travel is limited. There are many MUPs in Ottawa that do not have bollards, and we recommended that the bollard be omitted from these plans.

The plans also propose a fence to be installed on either side of the pathway, anywhere from 0.5 m to 1 m from the MUP. Bike Ottawa recommended that a wider spacing be chosen. Given that the Pinecrest Creek MUP is an artery for cyclists and pedestrians, a wider space is necessary to ensure there is no crowding.

Lastly, to avoid conflict between the many users of the Pinecrest Creek MUP, Bike Ottawa recommended that the link to Connaught Ave allow for both pedestrian and cyclist access. Since according to provincial guidelines, a cyclist must dismount on a pedestrian cross-over (“PXO”), it is preferable to have a devoted space where cyclists can ride without having to dismount. This type of facility already exists where the Trillium MUP meets Carling Ave.

Carling Avenue and Connaught Avenue
Bike Ottawa also noted that the intersection at Carling Ave and Connaught Ave is also part of this plan. This intersection would benefit from cycling infrastructure, to ensure connectivity from the Queensway Terrace North neighbourhood to other existing or future cycling infrastructure. For example, through the development of the Lincoln Fields commercial area, QTN could be linked to the Richmond Rd. cycle track by way of a multi-use pathway through the commercial area. This could also be connected to the cycle track proposed for Carling Ave in front of the Lincoln Fields LRT station.


Bike Ottawa would like to see cycling infrastructure at the intersection of Carling Ave and Connaught Ave, to allow for cyclists to cross Carling Ave. This would include
a bike box for eastbound cyclists turning northbound, with a bike sensor
a “bicycles excepted” sign for cyclists to cross Carling to or from Connaught
green paint or a dashed line to guide cyclists along this crossing

Bike Ottawa is looking forward to the benefits of improved active transportation options in this area.

The New Official Plan

By 2046 it’s expected that Ottawa’s population will hit 1.4 million, and the new Official Plan is the legal document that will contain the City’s goals, objectives, and policies that will manage and guide this growth. The Official Plan implements the City’s Strategic Plan in relations to land use, which impacts the economy, environment, and communities. The Official Plan also provides direction for many city plans, including the Infrastructure Master Plan, the Transportation Master Plan, and the Parks and Greenspace Master Plan.

The “5 Big Moves” from the Draft Official Plan


The Official Plan is centred around the “5 Big Moves” which includes Growth Management (“more growth by “regeneration” than by greenfield development); Mobility (“By 2046, the majority of trips in the City of Ottawa will be made by sustainable transportation”); Urban and Community Design (improve urban and community design, including priority areas, and policies that tailor to distinct neighbourhoods); Climate, Energy and Public Health (environmental, climate and health resiliency will be built into the framework of planning policy); Economic Development (“Embed economic development into the framework of planning policies”).

Bike Ottawa is encouraged to see the goal of having most trips be taken by sustainable transportation by 2046, and that discussions of mobility are at the core of the Official Plan. We believe that with some thoughtful consideration of how to make active transportation a more attractive option for people to move around all parts of the city, Ottawa can combat the climate crisis and develop in a way that makes it more of a space for people. We have studied the Official Plan Draft and submitted the following letter and addendum for consideration.

To: Alain Miguelez, Manager, Policy Planning, City of Ottawa

March 12, 2021

Dear Mr. Miguelez,

On behalf of Bike Ottawa, a safe cycling advocacy group, we would like to provide the following feedback on the draft Official Plan for the City of Ottawa. 

We are encouraged to see that the Official Plan recognizes that the foundations for a livable city is encouraging sustainable transportation as a means for navigating 15-minute neighbourhoods, and sets the goal of the overwhelming majority of trips to be carried out in this way. Nonetheless, the ambitions of the Official Plan must be matched by concrete policies that will drive this transition through the Transportation Master Plan, including:

  • Ensuring that all major infrastructure is built to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable people on our streets year-round, namely people, walking, biking, and using mobility devices;
  • Building active transportation infrastructure that links to rapid transit facilities within a 5km radius;
  • Committing a portion of the annual budget to build and maintain active transportation infrastructure commensurate to the modal share the Official Plan envisions;
  • Prioritizing ease of movement by active transportation, while discouraging motorized traffic through measures such as, eliminating parking minimums,  filtered permeability, and congestion pricing; and, 
  • Enabling a shift towards cargo movement using cargo e-bikes and transshipment hubs to allow for safer, less-congested streetscapes in our city.

Bike Ottawa remains concerned that the City of Ottawa continues to encourage suburban sprawl that requires the expansion of the urban boundary. This type of development is uneconomical, wasteful and does not mesh with a strategy of prioritizing sustainable transportation, as it will inevitably lead to an increase in vehicle kilometres travelled. Given the City’s own declaration of a climate emergency, we believe there is a fundamental disconnect with the needless consumption of undeveloped land and addressing climate change.

While we applaud an increased focus on developing within the existing urban area, we would caution against the concept of urban regeneration, vs. intensification. Ottawa contains many successful neighbourhoods that do not require “regeneration” but instead require nurturing in order to thrive. While many auto-oriented parts of the city will require significant investment and intervention to shift them towards being places for people, we must also be mindful that for many, “urban regeneration” evokes the history of urban renewal that has also damaged, or even erased many successful neighbourhoods in our city, disproportionately impacting lower-income neighbourhoods where many Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities can be found.

Bike Ottawa believes the draft Official Plan reflects a strong start from an aspirational stance, and looks forward to seeing more detailed implementation. Without the proper policies and ultimately, funding to implement the goals of the Official Plan, Ottawa will continue to develop in an unsustainable pattern that will squander the human, ecological and monetary capital we require to build a livable and sustainable city.

Sincerely,

Érinn Cunningham

President, Bike Ottawa

Cc: Mayor Watson, City Council

Bike Ottawa Feedback on the Official Plan Document

P.23 4)  “viable transportation options” for small business growth should include cargo bikes, mobility lanes sufficiently wide for commercial cargo bikes, and passing.

P.27 1) “Compact and Connected City.” Walking and transit mentioned.  Bicycles and other mobility devices have not.  Use the term “Active Transportation.”

P.31 Policy Intent – “encourage development of healthy walkable 15-minute neighbourhoods”. Define “car-light” (means low speeds through design, traffic evaporation).  Include bike parking and the city’s new bike parking strategy.  Discourage car parking to better use street space.

P.35 Prioritizing winter maintenance for active transportation over cars is gender equity.

P.36 2) “improve mobility options for women” should not just include transit, but walking, cycling and other wheeled devices (use term “Active Transportation”).  Discuss multi-modal trips.

P.37 “More” separated cycling facilities built?  Language needs to be more concrete such as, “extensive network that consists of mobility highways to connect communities, main network, and then local slow streets.  Wide, flat sidewalks. Pedestrian priority crossings everywhere.  All well maintained year-round.

P.44 “the City shall prioritize sustainable transportation modes (notably transit, and access to stations or stops by cycling and walking) over the use of private vehicles.”  Most trips are very short in distance. With 15-minute communities, active transportation networks need to be prioritized #1, not transit.  This active transportation network will then link to transit for people to move in between nodes.

“To provide a transportation network that prioritizes sustainable modes over private vehicles, based on the opportunities for mode shifts presented by each Transect area context.”  Should also include:  prioritize sustainable modes over private vehicles through best practice safe road design for vulnerable road users.

P.48 No mention of cycling.  Active transportation needs to be number #1, transit #2.  Active transport is the cheapest form of infrastructure, healthiest for the community, and how people reach transit.  It is the foundation of a transportation system.

P.49 “Increased access to sustainable modes of travel as well as the necessary infrastructure to support the electrification of private and public vehicles.”  Change wording from “increased” to “prioritize.”  “Increase” can mean a very slight increase.  “Prioritize” has a very different meaning.  Recognize that private vehicles, electric or not, still negatively impact our urban landscape.  By not changing this wording, the City is contradicting gender equity priorities.

P.53 8) f) should not only read walking but year-round mobility network that includes bikes.  Use the term “active transportation.”

P.53 3.5  5) “Industrial and logistic areas that are land extensive and need greater separation from neighbourhoods and requires access to a highway interchange.” Not entirely true.  There should be logistic nodes closer to neighbourhoods to facilitate transfer to cargo bikes for more local deliveries (based on plans from courier companies and local businesses).

P.53 3.5  Does not mention how year-round mobility networks are essential for gender equity in terms of access to places of employment.  Transit is mentioned, but people need to get to transit, and so an active transportation network needs to be prioritized.

P. 58 4.1  1) “Provide mobility options to safely and equitably navigate the city” Prioritize these mobility options.

4) “Support the shift towards sustainable modes of transportation” should instead read “prioritize sustainable modes of transportation in all planning.”  The wording “shift” is non-commital.

P.58 “As a result, the City will take a more deliberate approach to the allocation of space for automobiles and prioritize the role of public transit and active transportation. The City is also committed to a Safe Systems Approach that reduces the frequency and severity of collisions for all road users”  The City should be prioritizing active transportation, then public transport, then cars.  Set a goal to eliminate road deaths and reduce injuries through design.

P.59  4.1.1 Should focus on the liveability of each street like Sweden’s 1-minute community.

P. 60 4.1.2  3) Priority should be given to active transportation users through design without signalization devices.  Signalization devices should be used as a last resort. Where used, they should be configured to prioritize active transportation.  Consider Dutch traffic controls that will change immediately on approach if no car traffic.  One benefit is users not waiting in inclement weather conditions (whereas drivers are sitting comfortably in a car).

P.61 Paved shoulders cannot be maintained year-round for active transportation.

P.61 4.1.2  As the noise, and more so, air pollution has substantial negative impacts on those using active transportation, the more traffic, the more segregated the mobility pathways should be.  Consider the network as a whole, ensuring connectivity to services, not necessarily building mobility pathways alongside major roads, but parallel and a slight distance away.

P.62 “ Policy 13 a.(ii), the City may consider proposals to provide shared cycling and motor vehicle street surfaces, when it is demonstrated that speeds and volumes are below a threshold for mixed travel modes.”  This should only occur when speeds 20-30kph through design, very low traffic volumes, and little-to-no on-street parking.

P.63 22) Park and Rides should be eliminated.  They demonstrate the lack of active transportation and encourage car use.  Purchasing and operating a vehicle should not be required to access public transport.  This is not equitable.

P.65 4.1.3 8) Reword – during construction, an active transportation network must be maintained and prioritized over car traffic on the same side of the construction project (as well as the other side of the road).  The temporary mobility pathway must be safe, accessible for all users, all ages, well maintained year-round.  Car traffic should be redirected to another route, if needed, to make this possible.

P.66 2) Eliminate parking minimums city-wide.

P.69 8 c) This needs to include personal vehicles that are above a specific size.  Oversized pickup trucks, SUVs need to be regulated.  They do not fit in urban environments—Montreal as an example where larger vehicles pay higher fees for parking on residential streets.

P.69 4.1.6  8)  Movement of goods.  The emergence of cargo bikes and small electric delivery vehicles.  Plan for this with a well-connected active transportation network.

P.70  4.1.7  3) Rights of ways:  Eliminate any future road widenings.

P.70 4.1.7 9) Use the term “active transportation” instead of “cyclists and pedestrians.”

P.71 4.2  Multi-unit dwellings (including community housing and retirement communities should all have a minimum number of bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.77 4.3 Large Scale Facilities: bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  On-site cycling facilities should connect with existing or planned city or NCC mobility networks, be well lit, wide, and designed for year-round use.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.80 4.4 Parks and Recreation Facilities:  bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  On-site cycling facilities should connect with existing or planned city or NCC mobility networks, be well lit, wide, and designed for year-round use.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.92 Urban Design “What we want to achieve”:  Include “streets that prioritize the movement and safety of vulnerable road users.”

P. 93 Table 5:  “Pedestrian” needs to be replaced with “active transportation” with a focus on priority and safety for vulnerable road users.

P.95  4.6.2 Scenic routes:  a desirable streetscape prioritizes active transportation and the safety of vulnerable road users 

P.95 4.6.3 1) Public realm should always be enhanced.  Reword to prioritize active transportation, not just pedestrians.

P.95 4.6.3 2) Should read “Prioritizing people over cars.” Reword to prioritize active transportation, not just pedestrians.

P. 96 4.6.3 4) Reword to prioritize active transportation, not just pedestrians.

P.97 4.6.4  Net Zero construction always.

P.98 4.6.5 3) Replace “pedestrian” with “active transportation.  Replace “minimize conflicts” with prioritizing the safety and convenience of active transportation users over drivers.  Bicycle parking spaces that are securely protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.98 4.6.5 4) Accessibility does not mean cars only.  Accessibility needs to discuss everything outside cars as everyone driving starts and ends their trip outside a motor vehicle.  Parking must also include bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.101 6) Change “Sustainable Modes of Transport” to active transportation for uniformity.  Bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  They should be close to entrances and have wayfinding to find this parking easily.  On-site cycling facilities should connect with existing or planned city or NCC mobility networks, be well lit, wide, and designed for year-round use.  Consider businesses using cargo bikes to deliver or receive goods. (parking, pathway widths, connections.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P114 2) Cycling distance should also be mentioned.

P.120  4.10 “What we want to achieve”  All students should have access to safe active transportation networks that get them from home to school and back.  Their movement has to be prioritized over cars.  Bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.) for students, parents and school staff.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.121 4.10.1  Reinforcing that active transportation needs to be designed for all ages, it must be reinforced that children might have underdeveloped capabilities for cycling and require to be safely segregated from cars at all times.  Noise and air pollution are just as significant having detrimental health effects.  Reduce vehicle movement around schools.  Consider car-light streets near schools where only local traffic is permitted below speeds of 30kph through design (impossible to drive above 30kph).  As always, these are year-round networks.

P.123  4.11 1) Retail Food Stores and 4) Licenced Daycares:  Bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  They should be close to entrances and have wayfinding to find this parking easily.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.128 5.1  “What we want to achieve” should read active transportation.

P129 5.1.1. 2) Include active transportation.   

P.130 5.1.2 Not every street in the Downtown Core should include cars.  Many of the streets should prioritize active transportation for a healthier, safer, and more liveable environment.  Even if every second street were car-light, this would vastly improve the public realm.  Bicycle parking spaces that are securely protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.133 5.2  “What we want to achieve” should read active transportation.

P.135 5.2.2   Bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  They should be close to entrances and have wayfinding to find this parking quickly.  On-site cycling facilities should connect with existing or planned city or NCC mobility networks, be well-lit, wide, and designed for year-round use.  Consider businesses using cargo bikes to deliver or receive goods (parking, pathway widths, connections).  Surface parking should never be prioritized over the safe movement of people.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.138 5.3 Introducing active transportation in these communities should not be a challenge.  There is ample space for pathways, facilities and/or redesigning streets for people, not cars.  These should be one of the most effortless environments to build active transportation as there is more space.

P.140 5.3.2  1) Eliminate future construction of Park and Rides.  Instead, provide excellent active transportation facilities and bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.140 5.3.2 2) Arterials should become pleasant places for people – not highways.  Reduce speeds drastically through design and always include active transportation well segregated and safe.  All intersections have to prioritize people, not cars.  People in these communities deserve enjoyable places to live too.  Bicycle parking spaces that are securely protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  They should be close to entrances and have wayfinding to find this parking easily.  Coordinate with the City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.140 5.3.3 5) Active transportation – not pedestrian and cyclist network.

P144 5.4.3.1) b) Active transportation – not pedestrian, shortcuts.

P.145 5.4.4  Bicycle parking spaces that are secure, protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  They should be close to entrances and have wayfinding to find this parking easily.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.  Use “active transportation.”

P149 5.5.2 Replace “walking and cycling” with active transportation.  Bicycle parking spaces that are securely protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  They should be close to entrances and have wayfinding to find this parking easily. Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P163 6.1.1 Not every street in Hubs needs to include cars.  Many of the streets should prioritize active transportation for a healthier, safer, and more liveable environment.  Use the term active transportation instead of walking and cycling.  Bicycle parking spaces that are securely protected from weather, accessible for all users, and accommodates all types of bicycles (cargo, recumbents, trikes, etc.).  This parking should not take up space from those walking or rolling.  Coordinate with City’s new Bike Parking Strategy.

P.165 6.1.2 6) f) Should read active transportation, not just pedestrian accessibility.

P.167 6.2   Remove Gladstone Avenue west of Preston Street as a Major Corridor (Mainstreet).  The number of schools and dense residential development conflicts greatly with the high levels of fast-moving car traffic, and related safety, noise and air pollution.  This creates a very unhealthy environment for residents.  Scott Street and Carling Avenue are adequate East/West alternatives.  This should be local car movement only (along with busses and emergency services).  Restricting car use along this stretch should not change this area evolving into a more mixed-use development.

P171 6.3.2 Active transportation should always be prioritized no matter what 15-minute community.  

P.172 6.3.3 Change walking and cycling to active transportation

P.174 6.4.1 Strategic movement of goods.  Plan for hubs to move goods by electric cargo bikes (as planned by courier companies in Canada).  Plan for small businesses to do the same.  Quebec recognizes this with the new small business e-cargo bike rebate program as of 2021.  Remember, these are still people that need to get to work or purchase goods or services.  Just because it is a more industrial area does not mean that we can’t have a pleasant environment for active transportation used to move goods by e-cargo bike.  There could be lower-income manufacturing jobs in these areas where employees would greatly benefit from an equitable transportation network.

P.178 6.5.3 e) Language – active transportation network will be needed.

P. 180 6.6.2 Parliament and Confederation Boulevard need to be car-free space.  Due to its national significance, this space should be turned over for people, instead of unpleasant car traffic..  This would be a space that visitors would remember when they return home as a wonderful, safe place to enjoy.  Tour busses would have a stopover area in Centretown out of view of this important area.

P.182 6.6.3 Walkways and cycleways (mobility pathways) should be segregated from each other, have ample space for all age groups and various skill levels visitors, and commuters might be travelling at different speeds by bike—turn-off areas for visitors to stop.  

Queen Elizabeth Drive should be made a pedestrian and cycling the only corridor to provide enough space and take advantage of the beautiful scenery year-round.  The same should happen for parts of Colonel By Drive.

P.184 6.6.4  Byward Market needs to be car-free and car-light in other areas.  It is too important an area to take away space from people for private vehicles.  This entire area should feel safe for young to old to walk or cycle.

P.187 6.6.6 Landsdowne should be car-light with very restricted movement.  This space needs to be for people.

P.189 6.6.8 3) a) Language – Kanata North needs to prioritize active transportation and then public transportation.  

P.207 9.2.2 Rural area villages are great areas for local active transportation networks.  Mobility highways should connect these villages with other communities.

P210 9.3.2 Active transportation to get people from villages to workplaces.

P.222 10.2.1 Major Collector roads should be redesignated to reduce the number of vehicles (great sources of noise and air pollution) in areas with schools.  An example would be Gladstone Ave. between Preston and Parkdale.  There are too many children and families being negatively impacted by non-local car and truck traffic.  Noise and air pollution affect the health of residents.

Have not seen any mention of air pollution in this plan.  There are sensor around Ottawa providing us with data telling us where there is poor air quality, and when. Reprioritize roads with schools for local traffic only to make neighbourhoods healthier and liveable.  The busier the roadways with cars, the more segregation is needed between vehicles and active transportation.

P230. 11.1 3) a) Use the term “active transportation.”

P.241 “Air Pollution Impact Assessment” is missing.  This should indicate whether the road network needs to be adjusted to protect residents’ health.

P.243 “Transportation Impact Assessment”:  eliminate Level of Service for vehicles and implement for active transportation. Personal vehicles must always be secondary when planning transportation networks.  Building a city that no longer prioritizes cars means that vehicles’ Level of Service will go down to encourage residents to leave their cars behind.

P.252  Suggest placing definitions at the beginning of this document. (Missing “Active Transportation,” “Mobility Pathway,” “15-minute neighbourhood.”)

Giacomo Panico’s Bike Love story: The “immersibility” of riding a bike.

The final Bike Love story comes from Giacomo Panico – reporter, as well as interim producer and host of CBC Radio’s “In Town and Out.” It’s highly likely that you’ve seen him around Ottawa on his bike reporting the news!

Thanks Giacomo for sharing your love of biking with us.

“What I love most about bikes is their ability for creating community immersibility. I don’t even know if that’s a legitimate term, but it should be. And the definition should include an image of a person riding a bicycle.”

It saddens me now to think of how I treated my first real road bike. I was in my mid-teens and I had saved up to buy a Bianchi Sport SX at Pecco’s bike shop in the Byward Market. I cherished that bike, and though I rode it hard I also babied it in between rides.

Then I bought a car.

As I moved more and more into a life dependent on my car, my poor little Bianchi collected dust. A neighbour in my building even stole the brakes off my bike, and I never noticed until years later.

Then in my early 30s, as part of what I like to call a personal reawakening, I found my way back onto that old Bianchi. It all came back to me. The excitement of my own power being converted into speed. The simplicity of just jumping on a bike and breezing past traffic. The satisfaction and pride of maintaining my bike.

Soon enough, I was firmly gripped by a case of the bug they call “n+1”.

I still own a car, but it will never make me feel as good as riding a bike will. And while I still love my road bike (and now my cyclocross bike too), these days I’m preferring to ride bikes that are upright so that I can enjoy the surroundings a bit more.

So how do I, as a grown-up now, define my “Bike Love”? One word: immersibility.

What I love most about bikes is their ability for creating community immersibility. I don’t even know if that’s a legitimate term, but it should be. And the definition should include an image of a person riding a bicycle. I love how riding a bicycle allows me to experience a place and its vibe, rather than just pass through it.

Not long after my revived love for bikes took hold, my CBC Ottawa colleague Julie Ireton suggested our station buy a couple for reporters to use. I jumped at the chance to setup what we would go on to call our Mics on Bikes.

The CBC bikes allow me to get to a story in the downtown faster than any other way; I can avoid heavy traffic and road closures, and I can easily ride with all my gear into parks and onto pathways. I’ve also found that strangers are more receptive when a reporter on a bike starts asking them questions. They have questions of their own.

By far my favourite CBC bike moment was during Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, 2017, when we broadcast two hours of live radio while riding our bikes along Confederation Boulevard, stopping to interview folks along the way. It may have rained, but we were on bikes, immersing ourselves.

-Giacomo Panico

Read more from our Bike Love Series!

Maria Rasouli’s Bike love! Pedal joy!

Cécile Lecoq: Liberté, puissance et affirmation de soi

Brett Bergie’s love on two wheels

Doug Gordon falls in love with a FR8

Jillian Banfield: Inclusion through cycling

Bike Love: Maria Rasouli’s Bike Love! Pedal Joy!

Bike Love story number five is written by Maria Rasouli, Founder and Operator of Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals on Sparks St here in Ottawa.

Thank you, Maria for sharing your story of Bike Love!

“My parents gave me the gift of biking though the society took that joy away for over a decade. On the day I was told to stop bicycling, I could never have imagined that one day I would be free to bicycle again in my beautiful home, Canada.”

Our childhood memories and experiences mesmerise us, haunt us, and shape our hobbies and even career choices in adulthood. Have you ever wondered which kind of memories you are creating for your children?

I grew up in a small village in the North of Iran, near the beautiful Caspian Sea. Having a bicycle in the post-revolution war time was a luxury many could not afford when even essential items such as eggs, flour and sugar were scarce. Our family was not rich but we did have one Banana bicycle that was shared amongst me and my two other siblings. My dad who was in the navy had bought that bicycle for us on one of his overseas training trips. The pre-revolution monarchy government of Iran had strong ties with the USA and Iranian army personnel were sent abroad to receive military training from the USA Army.  That bike was so precious that we kept it inside for a long time. In fact, I learned how to ride that bike inside our home on our Persian carpet! It was like riding a bike on a sandy beach. 

Eventually, we brought the bike outside. My greatest joy was riding that bicycle every day after school with my best friend, Eli, balanced on my handlebar. We’d travel through the open fields and into the forest on the edge of the village. We’d often fall in the fields, or on the dirt paths, laughing hysterically at how ridiculous we looked. 

Around the age of eleven everything changed. One day, Eli and I fell off the bike in front of a soccer field where a group of young male were practicing. We found it funny and started laughing at ourselves but an older man approached us and told us in a paternal tone: 

“My daughters, you are a grown up woman. Getting on a bicycle in a skirt is inappropriate, especially around these young men. Go home and wear proper clothing. The two of you are grown up women and should not be on a bicycle.” 

This incident propelled our parents to forbid us from biking as growing women. The next time I got on a bike was on July 25 2002, the first day that I arrived in Canada; straight from the airport to a room I had rented and then hopping on a bike that a friend had left for me. He was 6.2 and I am 5.1; I was riding an XL bike after almost 13 year and all I could feel was a rush of excitement, freedom and joy!  

My parents gave me the gift of biking though the society took that joy away for over a decade. On the day I was told to stop bicycling, I could never have imagined that one day I would be free to bicycle again in my beautiful home, Canada. I often think about how different my childhood would have been if I could go biking with my family members freely and whenever wished. I love biking so much that the biking theme even makes it to my cooking! I say “Why walk when you can bike?” 

I was thrilled to discover such beautiful pathways, nature and ease of access to everything via bike paths in Ottawa. I started Escape Bicycle Tours to share the joy and freedom of bicycling. One of the greatest joys I get at Escape is seeing happy parents and their kids before and after a tour or bike ride. It is like reliving my childhood through offering the biking experience to these happy young kids. What better gift to give our children than the gift of happiness, joy, wellness and health?

-Maria Rasouli

Read more from our Bike Love Series!

Bike Love! Cécile Lecoq: Liberté, puissance et affirmation de soi

Brett Bergie’s love on two wheels

Doug Gordon falls in love with a FR8

Jillian Banfield’s story of Inclusion Through Cycling