Lots of love for downtown bike lane: City

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/09/28/lots-of-love-for-downtown-bike-lane-city

Residents adore the segregated Laurier Ave. bike lanes, outnumbering those who hate them, according to the city’s tally.

Since the lanes opened on July 10, 2011, residents have been phoning 311 and voicing their opinion online.

The removal of on-street parking is a major concern.

“I understand that it is a pilot project and the city wants to look good, but what about drivers and workers? Where are we supposed to park now? This project is simply ridiculous,” said a ticked off federal public servant.

A self-proclaimed taxpayer felt otherwise, saying “I fully, 100% support the bike lanes, and find this one of the few instances in which I can warmly congratulate the city for being remarkably progressive and leading the charge on something important.”

Hundreds of responses have been sent to city staff regarding the two-year $1.3-million pilot project, the Sun has learned through an Access to Information request.

The Sun received copies of roughly 265 comments: 175 compliments, 90 complaints after the city declined disclosing its records.

The dedicated lanes run between Bronson Ave. and Elgin St.; issues repeatedly raised include accessibility and snow removal.

Some residents were challenging the bike counter, while others suggested relocating the lanes to Sparks St.

That’s just not feasible, said transportation committee chairwoman Marianne Wilkinson.

“It’s got a lot of things in it. You’d have to really wind them around. Talk about conflict with pedestrians,” she said.

In May, the Bay/Bronson Residents’ Action Group for Fair Access to the Road sent the city a petition with 2,064 signatures from visitors, neighbours, businesses, and their customers.

“I would hope that those 2,000 signatures would count as 2,000 complaints,” said BBRAGFAR chairwoman Janine Hutt.

The petition is calling for specific changes to the design.

“There’s been no progress,” said Hutt.

Wilkinson maintained revisions have been made since the lanes were installed.

“We’ve added places where people can be dropped off, we’ve added places for ParaTranspo to pick people up,” said Wilkinson.

“We’ve even added some additional parking spots. There’s only so much you can do.”

Feedback consistently trickles into Wilkinson’s office.

“The people who live there would rather have parking on the street — there’s no question about that,” said Wilkinson.

“The people who are biking love them. And we’ve had absolutely great comments from the people who are visitors to the city of Ottawa.”

An interim report on the lanes should be submitted at the Nov. 7 transportation committee meeting.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche 

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