Sunday, November 28, 2010

The segregated bike lane is coming to Ottawa!

Well, the City of Ottawa has finally decided on an east–west route for the segregated bicycle lane downtown. The choice is Laurier Avenue West. I’m not sure this would have been my choice. True, this will provide a continuation of the bicycle lane on the Laurier Avenue Bridge as well as a connection with the bike path along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. But the reasons for choosing Laurier were mainly the objections of the business owners along Somerset Street. They felt that losing parking spaces would mean loss of business. I don’t really think this is a realistic concern. Now I realize that I’m just one person. But I’m one person who rides a bike who avoids Somerset Street because it’s so narrow and unfriendly for cyclists. I actively choose to not shop at certain stores as a result of not enjoying my bike ride there. Hartman’s is a good example. I prefer it to Loblaw’s but Loblaw’s is an easy and safe ride away along the canal path. I would shop at Hartman’s more if I could bike there safely. I’m also more inclined to stop and do some impromptu shopping if I’m walking or biking along a downtown street than when I’m driving.
Somerset Street had been a strong choice due to its central location in the downtown core. It also connects well with Wellington Street West and ultimately Richmond Road and Westboro. However, the choice for this two-year pilot project has been made and I do support it. I will certainly use this route when it is ready.

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