The Laurier Ave. bike lanes need to be removed next year once the pilot project is over, says a Centretown community group.
Residents are furious about the lack of parking and they’ve got 2,064 signatures — from visitors, neighbours, businesses, and their customers — backing them.
“We are not against cycling or cyclists,” said Janine Hutt, chairwoman of the Bay/Bronson Residents’ Action Group for Fair Access to the Road (BBRAGFAR).
“We are against the foolishness that the city has put forward in installing segregated bike lanes on one of the busiest streets in Ottawa, and on both sides, for that matter. It just does not make sense.”
BBRAGFAR held a news conference at Presse Cafe, at the corner of Laurier Ave. W. and O’Connor St. on Wednesday afternoon, denouncing the lanes, which opened last July.
Residents call the street a logistical nightmare.
“It’s particularly (problematic) for people in our building who have elderly parents who come and visit, elderly relatives, who can no longer park within a block, or even near the front door,” said Lucile McGregor, who’s been living on Laurier Ave. since 1999.
“So we’ve all felt the crush of this. And for those of us that live here 24/7, it’s been difficult.”
The lanes are creating headaches for businesses, too, the group said.
BBRAGFAR went to “every single building, every single residence, condominium, to seek support for our goal to have the bike lanes at least removed partially, and we know that we didn’t get refused by anybody, and often, petitions were left with the owners, who then left them out for their customers to sign,” said McGregor.
A nearby convenience store has shut down since the bike lanes opened, “cause he couldn’t have deliveries on Laurier, and he couldn’t have deliveries on Lyon,” McGregor said.
Hutt said they’ve offered two compromises to Mayor Jim Watson, involving the removal of concrete barriers, replacing them with sharrows.
Hutt said it was shot down by the Mayor, who couldn’t be reached for comment.
But more than 30 changes have been made to the Laurier project in response to public feedback, including concerns raised about accessibility, according to a statement released by the city Wednesday.
“ParaTranspo and taxi pickup/dropoff spots, as well as loading zones, were added, and this week, planning committee approved a plan to add 10 new metered parking spots at the former Ottawa Technical High School to be accessed from Laurier between Bay and Percy,” reads the statement.
That’s not enough for Hutt.
“The city receives from us a minimum of $5 million a year in property taxes and this is the kind of reception we get for it,” she said.
A one-year update on the pilot project is slated for presentation to the transportation committee on Nov. 7.