Liveable cycling infrastructure

I’ve been to a few cycling infrastructure events in the last few weeks that I would like to briefly mention.

The City of Ottawa released Cycling Plan for the next 25 years. In summary it is this. I’ve spoken to random city planners, city planners responsible for the cycling infrastructure as well as my Ward councillor and I ended up with more questions than answers.

Right off the bat, I am very happy with the city for being fairly progressive in having a goal to improve cycling infrastructure and to dedicate resources toward actually achieving it. From now on, any city road that is redone will have at least bike lanes if not something beefier. This is amazing. On the other hand, the published plans for Kanata are a bit strange.

The planners expect Terry Fox to become the major biking thoroughfare and, in the next five years, are going to add lanes to the only part of the street that still does not have them (Campeau to Highway, see map linked above). Now, Terry Fox is the place to be if you want to get somewhere, I am just not sure if you want to be there on the bike. Personally, I avoid it as much as possible. Sure, some sort of separated paths and protected intersections could make this work, but apart from the block west of the Centrum there is no line on the map indicating that the budget for anything like this has been allocated for next 25 years. Most of the road has just been redone in last few years so I don’t expect to see concrete being broken on it for a while.

It is amazing that there will be bike lanes in next 10 years connecting Morgan’s Grant to the south side of the Kanata North Business Park and boy does Hazeldean between Eagleson and Terry Fox need a bike anything on it (10 to 15 years from now). However, I am baffled about the infrastructure through Beaverbrook and Kanata Lakes (Penfield/Beaverbrook/Knudson). Not only are these calm streets with pretty simple intersections but they already have bike lanes on them and parallel multi use paths through parks!!! In any case, this is long in the future and much can change by then. There are things that the planners mentioned that are not in the cycling plans such as adding bike infrastructure to Goldburn Forced. I am curious to see what of this will actually come to pass.

But will I let this guy bike on Terry Fox ten years from now?!?

The other event was today’s “City Biking for Nervous Nellies and Fairweather Freds” at the Mayfair. They showed a film “Bike City – Great City” made by one of the city councillors. The documentary was decent and made for people who do not keep up with the North American cycling infrastructure activities. If you’ve never heard of Jannette Sadik-Kahn, probably worth taking a peek. Following was the panel discussion about cycling in the early spring and late fall. They had two active moms, a young urban professional, a senior (former city planner and originator of Ottawa’s car share scheme) and a Bushtukah (bike and adventure shop) rep. They gave advice and answered questions on how to ride safely in cold weather some of which I actually found quite useful.

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