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Bicycle lanes for the rest of us

Source: Ottawa Citizen, July 11, 2011

OTTAWA — Late Saturday night, city workers swept Laurier Avenue, peeled temporary paper covers off road signs, and removed dozens of construction barrels that have been doing only a so-so job of keeping eager cyclists off the segregated bike lane running east and west through downtown.

“We’re well behind. It’s time for Ontario to catch up,” says Mona Abouhenidy, a strategic transportation planner for the city. She and Alex Culley, another transportation planner, took the Citizen on a tour of the lane’s seven-block length between Bronson Avenue and Elgin Street this week.

The city’s mission is to make commuter cycling appeal to recreational cyclists — people who are happy to bike for fun and maybe for errands in their own neighbourhoods, but who balk at risking their necks downtown.

“They say, ‘I’m not going in traffic,’ ” Abouhenidy says. So the goal of the lane is to “provide a similar experience to being on a pathway while being on a road.” They’ll be happy to have anyone use it, but it’s not designed for the spandexed warriors comfortable winding their way around buses and taxis and delivery trucks.


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