A safer cycling option through the downtown core
Ottawa - Ottawa City Council approved a pilot project for segregated bike lanes across the downtown core today.
The lanes will run east-west along Laurier Avenue between Elgin Street and Bronson Avenue. Cyclists will travel adjacent to the sidewalk in each direction and be separated from motor vehicles by a physical barrier. The lanes are expected to be ready for cyclists by the end of this summer.
“Ottawa is leading the way on urban cycling. We will be the first municipality in Ontario to have segregated bike lanes downtown,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This is an important step in healthy living that will bring more people downtown and boost business and tourism, as Ottawa becomes known for being the cycling capital.”
Laurier Avenue West was selected because it has the highest number of cyclists in the downtown area. The section of road is straight and flat with many key destinations for bicycle commuters. There is no transit service along Laurier to impede bike travel, yet the Transitway is only a block away for cyclists who want to switch to and from OC Transpo. The route is also well connected to current biking infrastructure and has good potential for future expansion.
The pilot project aims to help triple the number of trips made by bicycle in the City by improving cycling safety for people of all ages and skill levels.
“Cycling is an important piece of our transportation picture and this pilot project is needed to get cyclists through the downtown safely,” said Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, chair of the Transportation Committee. “We will be working closely with residents of the area, large employers, small business owners and cyclists, to ensure people are well informed about this project.”
City staff will monitor the pilot project over the next two cycling seasons and report back to Council with their findings. Evaluation will include a traffic-impact assessment and a survey of businesses along Laurier, as well as cyclists who use the new lanes. The project has already been subjected to a peer review by Vélo Quebec. At the end of the pilot, Council will consider whether to remove the bike lanes or make the project permanent.