Thursday, February 3, 2011
Laurier Bike Lane Update
Laurier bike lanes approved by Ottawa committee
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 2, 2011
8:34 PM ET CBC News
Ottawa's transportation committee approved a pilot project that would bring segregated bike lanes to Laurier Avenue. (CBC) The City of Ottawa's transportation committee voted in favour of installing segregated bike lanes on Laurier Avenue Wednesday evening.
The lanes are part of a two-year pilot project estimated to cost $1.3 million, and will run along Laurier Avenue from Elgin to Bronson Streets.
The project is now scheduled to be voted on by the full city council next week, and if it passes there the lanes could be built by summer. The lanes are not without controversy, though.
At the Wednesday meeting, a motion was introduced to shorten the lane, stopping it at Bay Street, to appease condominium owners east of Bronson who said they would lose visitor parking spots the city promised them. The Bank Street Business Improvement Area has complained the proposed lanes will affect their parking and loading bays.
Dick Brown, executive director of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, said hotel owners in the area have concerns as well. "They support cycling, they want to encourage cycling, but again this is not the route," he said. "They have a 500-car garage under their hotel with visitors coming and going - they'll have to go across the cycle lane." Brown is urging city staff to reconsider the criteria it used to select Laurier for the two-year pilot project.
But Coun. David Chernushenko said the hotels should look at the bike lanes as an opportunity. "Why not begin to build around that? Our problem in Ottawa is that we're so cautious, and I say take that leap, try something," Chernushenko said. "It's a pilot. Work with it, and we as a city will work with you to make that part of our marketing to make this work."
Most cyclists back Laurier plan. Cyclists, including the Citizens for Safe Cycling group, are largely behind the project. "Vancouver is stepping up. Montreal has already stepped up. Toronto's stepped up. It's time for Ottawa to move forward," said cycling advocate Dianne Cox. A small group of cyclists made up largely of experienced riders, however, spoke out against the lanes, arguing drivers and cyclists must learn to share every street. About 50 people spoke during the public consultation.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2011/02/01/ottawa-laurier-lanes-202.html#ixzz1CvThOq2t