Segregated bike lane invaded by all sorts

Minutes after it opened Sunday, cyclists weren’t alone using the city’s new segregated bike lane on Laurier Ave.

A mix of rollerbladers, skateboarders, parents with strollers, mopeds, and pedestrians were spotted between Bronson Ave. and Elgin St.

The city couldn’t say for sure if they were allowed there.

“That’s very clear, it’s a bike lane … however I’m not sure who would be enforcing that at this point,” a 311 operator told the Sun.

Ontario’s first segregated downtown bike lane opened to much fanfare, plus a handful of opponents from nearby condominiums.

“We cannot stop in front of our building, we cannot drop anybody off or be picked up,” said Janine Hutt, who lives on Laurier Ave. W. near Bronson Ave.

“What we’re concerned about is that the needs of the cyclists in this case, especially in the west side of the street, have trumped the needs of residents.”

Hutt — a recreational cyclist who rode to the event — says accessibility at the front entrance of their building is the main issue. She said the group has contacted city officials, councillors, and the mayor, to address their issues.

‘We pay taxes’

“We’re not renters, we’re owners. We pay taxes on an annual basis, and they are very expensive because we are in Centretown.”

Hutt and a handful of residents silently made their presence felt at the launch by holding up signs.

Among them was Bob Kraft, 43, who’s a dialysis patient.

“I go to Riverside Hospital three times a week using Para Transpo,” he said.

But with the new traffic rules, the driver ends up blocking the building’s parking garage to help Kraft into the vehicle at Percy St.

Neighbour Lucile McGregor said what bothers her most is Kraft has to suffer and no one seems to care.

“He is exhausted when he comes back … and he has to walk back up the hill,” she said.

Cyclists Peter and Cindy Chaloner said they’re glad people are speaking up about their issues.

“Hopefully, we can come up with a solution at the end of two years that’s going to work,” said Peter Chaloner.

Hutt agrees. “We’re not about destroying the bike lanes, not at all.”

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/07/10/segregated-bike-lane-invaded-by-all-sorts

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