Lately I’ve been thinking about Centrum (a shopping centre in my neighbourhood) and what makes it bike friendly and even more so what makes it bike non-friendly. Furthermore, what would make this a good biking destination.
First of all, I’ve looked at the businesses I patronize and realized that they are in the parts of the mall that are more accessible on foot and bike than the rest of the mall. Whether this is because I can’t be bothered to visit shops that require cars to get to (I don’t think so, I go to Centrum more often by car than by any other means) or that they are the kind of businesses that only appeal to non-active-commuters (is that a demographic???), I can’t tell. In short, I go to the Signature Plaza (grocery store, pharmacy and toys) which is connected to the rest of Kanata through trails and quiet residential streets. I often go the Chapters which, if you can get through the Kanata Avenue/Campeau intersection, is just a short jaunt along a path and wide sidewalk. Finally I go to the City Walk (hairdresser, movies, beer and wine, clothes…) area which is a bit more finicky to get to if you are not comfortable with vehicular cycling.
If I could improve something about Centrum it would be:
1. Intersections leading to the mall – in Eastbound and Southbound directions on Kanata/Campeau intersection the road is too narrow to ride along side the car traffic and, with the right turning traffic, the cyclist has to take the lane to continue going straight (I would even recommend taking the lane to go right, it is so narrow). Westbound and Northbound are not so bad. Kanata/Earl Grey intersection is not too bad, but I tend to take the lane right away down Earl Grey so I can turn into the parking lot which can be a bit of a hassle if the traffic is busy. Admittedly, there might be other, better, ways of getting there but I don’t see it.
2. Non-vehicular cyclists must have one heck of the time getting to the City Walk! I never though of this before since I am a vehicular cyclist, but now that some of our kids are biking we need to come up with a safe route to get there. Frankly, I am stumped.
What kinds of improvements might help:
- MUP along the south side of Kanata Avenue. There seems to be one behind Chapters, but it turns into sidewalk behind Wallmart and then completely disappears.
- MUP along Earl Grey from Kanata Avenue to the little island at the entrance to the City Walk – it would be nice to have another MUP to the other island behind Three Brewers, but one would suffice
I don’t spend much time thinking about using Maritime Way to get to Centrum. I tried biking along it once as an experiment and, though it seems the same distance on the map, it felt boring, long and roundabout. The road felt too narrow and there is an, albeit short, apartment building section with cars parked on both sides of the street that are just asking to door you. On the other hand, this area is still under development and there is still hope that off-road paths will be put in.
Anyhow, if you have an opinion or experience biking or walking to Centrum, please talk to me about it, especially if you don’t bike or walk there but would like to. I’d love to hear about this from another point of view.
Edit: So there is a no-lane-taking way to get to City Walk – from Maritime Way go straight down Lord Byng Way and then either ride in front or the back of Future Shop / Home Outfitters strip to the City Walk parking lot. Also we checked out Maritime Way and it is actually rather wide but it feels narrow for biking since there are no lanes on pavement whatsoever. Should be fixed in the future.