Monday, April 18, 2011

Bike lanes for Wellington!

Sure, I bike on Wellington downtown. I don't *like* it. It's not fun to ride along a street with your knuckles whitening on the handlebars. Your hands fall asleep from all the tension and the adrenaline gets you all jittery. But I do ride down Wellington. I'm not at all surprised, though, when people ride on the sidewalks. For one thing, if you're trying to get anywhere other than just straight along Wellington - if you want to turn off the street anywhere between the Rideau Mall and, say, Lebreton Flats - then may the Force be with you. There are so many weird intersections, oddly spaced lights, double turn lanes and nasty leftward merges that I tend to give up and use pedestrian crosswalks. And even if you're just going east or west down the street, you're dodging buses (lots of them, OC Transpo and STO alike), taxis, and cars. Oh, and the buses are weaving in and out of the far right curb - you can't really pass them on the left or the right without running serious risk. No wonder people are on the (wide, spacious, built-for-postcard-pictures) sidewalks.

And if you want to get through that part of town on the riverside multi-user-path ... well, may the Force be with you then too. I've never managed to find my way through the maze of paths that run alongside the river without sooner or later winding up stranded, somewhere near the War Museum, on a sidewalk, with no clue where the next bit of the path picks up.

So when I heard about the NCC's plans for a segregated bike lane on Wellington, down near the Library and Archives, a few weeks ago, I was pretty happy. And it's all official and stuff now - it's on the news! I'm particularly heartened by the comment from Richard Daigneault, the NCC's project manager for the lane: "Up to date, we've always worked on pathways, more the recreational end of things. But now it's a matter of how to connect this network into the city."

Yes, yes, and yes. Yay.


  1. I saw this on today, and was a bit surprised. This was on the news back in February on CJOH news, on the same day there was a story about the Laurier lane. I don't think it's really been hidden, but the NCC has this random way of communicating such plans.

  2. Yeah, it was on the CBC online way back, too. But I think they may have released another press release or something, coinciding with some development or other in the process - like, the first one was the 'proposed' project and this round of publicity is because it's actually been confirmed to go live? *shrug* You're right, the NCC's communications lines are extremely - inconsistent. (I seem to recall when they closed most of the Eardley Escarpment crags to rock climbing, it was announced by a photocopied sheaf of papers, in French only, sent to the desk of one guy on the Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers' Access Coalition.)

  3. I'm not a cyclist but I think cycling is good for the city. Lately I've been walking mostly as my means of transportation, but I'm planning to buy a bike (although as a family man I feel I still need a car).

    I agree that the NCC is poor at communication. I don't understand why the City has to hold public consultations to put in this kind of infrastructure but the NCC doesn't.

    Overall I think it's a good move.

  4. Well, Kevin, when you get the bike, consider yourself warmly welcomed to the cycling community! This is, apparently, one of the best cities for biking on the continent. Despite the winter weather.

    (And I can understand the need to still have a car - I have a Vrtucar membership for those times when I need to have four wheels and it works pretty well, but then I don't have kids.)