Sunday, July 10, 2011

Laurier Avenue segregated bike lanes officially open

Today the Laurier Avenue segregated bike lanes officially opened. A large and diverse group of cyclists gathered as well as a small group of protesters. After a series of small speeches it was time to try out the lanes. The initial ride was lead by Mayor Jim Watson. This project has been very controversial in Ottawa, a city that always resists change. Now that the lanes are here for the next two years perhaps we can put all the acrimony behind and just see how things work. Personally, I suspect the Laurier SBLs will be a big success and the first of many that we will see.

Mayor Watson

Alex deVries, vice-president of Citizen's for Safe Cycling (SFSC), discusses the Laurier SBL with Mayor Jim Watson. I overheard the mayor say how important it is to write to your local papers. Very true! Don't let the complainers make the most noise.


I did say a diverse group. Charles Akben-Marchand, president of the Centretown Citizen Community Association had a rather interesting swing bike. He's also part of the team that runs the very successful bike parking at Bluesfest.


One of the many volunteers doing some bike lane outreach.

Dutch cyclists

A pair of Dutch cyclists happy to have a segregated bike lane.


  1. And how can you tell that they are Dutch?

  2. 2nd anonymous, because I know who they are.

  3. Talk about a candid photo! LOL! I'm not just part of the Bluesfest Bike Park group, I'm the leader--hence the decal on my sleeve!

    Mike Watson, the guy with the yellow helmet and yellow Hawaiian shirt in the background of that photo, built Swing Bike. Sorry for not recognizing you, Chris!

  4. No problem. I suspected it was you but it took a alexthepuffin to confirm. Interesting bikes!

  5. Good for the cyclists I guess... not so much for those living / working on Laurier street as cars can't stop anymore on a side. But I adapted to the situation and use Gloucester street for my way home. But I still see tons of bikes on Gloucester, what are they waiting for to use the shiny brand new lane on Laurier??? Now that they have their own dedicated lane they should be forced to use it and stay off surrounding streets going the same direction. It's for their security after all!

  6. Thanks for your comment Anonymous. What is the problem for those working on Laurier? Surely no one who works on Laurier uses metered parking? That would cost a fortune. As for an effect on business, I would challenge you to find one study showing a negative effect from cycling lanes. There are many studies showing a positive effect. Same thing for property values. As more people move back into the downtown property value goes up. Many young people are doing this and choosing not to have a car. This also explains the popularity of car share programmes. It may be an inconvenience to some who live at the west end of Laurier, but it’s not the city’s business to provide guest parking for tenants of the Laurier apartments. It was poor vision by their management companies to have so few guest parking spots.
    You may be seeing many bikes on Gloucester because cycling is very popular. The Laurier lanes have seen an increase of 300% in just a few short days. However, this is only some of the many cyclists who bike downtown. Don’t be mislead by the 15 or 2% figures you see thrown around. Those are for the city as a whole. The percentage that commutes downtown is higher. Look at the bike racks on every street in the core and you will see bikes and more bikes. Now your last comment is really a bit much. Surely you cannot expect every cyclist to use Laurier? I could suggest to you that rather than using Gloucester you head down to the 417…after all, it was built exclusively for cars.

  7. I find it amusing how discombobulated some seem by the idea of bicycles and cars sharing space downtown. The idea that the roads are strictly for cars is after all a fairly recent idea. Most roads, even in a new country like Canada, were in fact not built for cars at all, but rather for horses and carriages. As cars began to emerge on the scene they shared the road with the horses and buggies. There were of course also bicycles of various types and designs back then. In many parts of the world there is still horse (and mule and ox) traffic on roads. And I'm not only talking about the so called third world. In Sweden, England and France there are many streets in various cities that in fact have (horseback) riding lanes in addition to car lanes, bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways. And so far this has not resulted in anyone tearing out their hair in angst-filled displays - at least not last time I looked.

  8. The minute I saw the picture of the couple I knew they are Dutch (I am Dutch too) I can't tell you why, I just see it.