Cycling growth minimized for LRT, says advocate

The growth of cycling in Ottawa is being underestimated by LRT planners, says the president of Citizens for Safe Cycling.

“It’s a lot more than you realize,” said Hans Moor.

Roughly 300 bike parking spots for 13 light rail stations along Confederation Line are slated for opening day in 2018, 80% of which will be covered.

“Mobility experts agree that a true transportation vision includes connecting different types of transportation, including walking and cycling,” said Moor.

“Ideally, you have people walk and cycle to an LRT station as it saves a lot of real estate for parking cars.”

Station plaza areas have been planned so cycling facilities can be expanded cost-effectively as demand increases, reads a city report, and bike parking will be located in visible, prominent areas near entrances.

The trains will be able to move 10,700 riders per hour in each direction at its opening day peak.

During off-peak hours, bikes can be taken onto trains.

Moor calls that stipulation “unfortunate,” since rush hour is “when people will want to use it most,” he said.

“I think it is important to set a bit of space aside in a train to accommodate the cyclists during rush hour too,” said Moor.

The city is looking at areas for expansion; bike parking could be as popular as suburban Park & Ride lots for bus passengers, which are often filled to capacity.

Moor references downtown streets with consistently overflowing bike racks.

“The bottom line is that it is all about time and economics,” he said.

“If people figure out that a safe, free bike ride to the station, free bike parking and rapid (transit) is more economical than driving and parking a car into downtown, you’ll see the environment around stations changing rapidly.”

Moor said he was pleasantly surprised by Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder asking questions about the growth of cycling at the Dec. 12 council meeting.

“Councillor Harder understands that and stressed that cycling will increase, so we have to anticipate this growth now,” he said.

Moor was hesitant to put a number on the exact amount of bike parking he’d like to see, but said integrating the popular BIXI bike-share at each LRT station is a “great idea.”

Currently, there are 250 BIXI bikes at 25 self-service stations in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau.

Council is voting on LRT plans Wednesday.

 Services for cycling riders

Train features for cyclists:

  • Provide bicycle storage onboard during off-peak periods.
  • Offer level boarding at platforms and ample available space to board, manoeuvre and store bicycles for the duration of a rider’s trip.

Cycling features within stations:

  • Double elevators serving each station offer higher levels of service and shorter wait times.
  • The addition of bicycle staircase ramps to the main stairs provides an alternate means for cyclists to access station platforms.

Source: City of Ottawa

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/12/15/cycling-growth-minimized-for-lrt-says-advocate

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