Residents might get reprieve from bike lanes

On-street visitor parking could be reinstated along a strip of Laurier Ave. W. once the segregated bike lane pilot project wraps up next summer.

“It’s being looked into seriously,” said Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson, chair of the transportation committee.

That’s good news for members of a Centretown community group, who are optimistic after a productive meeting with the city.

“Residents are quite pleased, cautiously pleased,” said Janine Hutt, chairwoman of the Bay/Bronson Residents’ Action Group for Fair Access to the Road.

“We’ll continue to work with the city until this is resolved once and for all.”

Hutt and co-chair Richard Asselin were contacted “out of the blue” by the city’s senior project manager, Colin Simpson, and met last week to discuss options for restoring parking to at least one side of Laurier between Bay St. and Bronson Ave.

“I think it’s the honourable thing to do … We’re very positive about it,” said Hutt, adding the group isn’t expecting instant changes.

BBRAGFAR has been fighting the city ever since the downtown segregated bike lanes opened July 10, 2011.

The dedicated lanes on Laurier Ave. between Bronson Ave. and Elgin St. have created accessibility nightmares for some condo owners, many elderly, and their caregivers.

Residents have indoor parking but deliveries are a disaster and the same goes for visitors.

“They whine and complain everytime, ‘oh you guys, there’s no place to stop and when I do stop, everybody’s on my back,’” said Hutt.

Parking was relocated to side streets but now, residents are “happy that the city is willing to do something,” she said.

Laurier Ave. W. is one of Ottawa’s busiest streets with 15,000 pedestrians and 10,000 vehicles each day at Laurier and Bank St., according to the city’s media relations department.

Hutt said she hopes the debacle serves as a lesson to city officials when making major changes in the design of streets, parks or neighbourhoods.

“People need to be contacted directly, not through (skewed) little open houses where mostly attendants are lobbyists for the cause,” she said.

“We’ve been around long enough to know that when you make unilateral decisions, it’s going to backfire.”

The group is meeting with Simpson in early spring to discuss options and bring recommendations to the July transportation committee meeting.

“I think there’s a very good chance that there’s going to be some parking but until we finalize the report and see what the recommendation is, it’s not for sure,” said Wilkinson.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

BBRAGFAR’s ideas for Laurier Ave. West:

  • Raise bike lanes (for all of Laurier) to sidewalk level, remove the current concrete barriers and slightly reduce the width of the bike lanes to allow parking on one side of the street.
  • Relocate the lane from the south side of Laurier to Gloucester between Bronson and Bay.
  • Remove the barriers and paint sharrows (on both sides?) between Bronson and Bay, allowing parking outside rush hour.
  • Convert Laurier between Bronson and Bay into a one-way street going east, leave lanes as they currently are and add parking on one side of the street.
  • Raise bike lanes, convert Laurier, between Bronson and Bay, to a one-way street with possibility of parking on both sides of the street.
  • Acquire access to OCDSB property to implement a multi-purpose path between Laurier and Slater at Bronson and modify the north bike lane on Laurier to a bi-directional lane between the path and Bay. This option is dependent on negotiations with the OCDSB and is not for the immediate future.

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