Connecting key to better Ottawa cycling, annual report states

Bicycle culture is rapidly growing in the nation’s capital, according to the second annual report from Citizens for Safe Cycling.

And connectivity remains key, said CFSC president Hans Moor.

“We always keep saying we have a lot of infrastructure here in Ottawa already for cyclists — hasn’t cost us too much, yet. But what we really have to do now is making sure that we connect what we have, and that remains an issue,” said Moor.

A main concern involves suburban stretches with high speed limits, such as Hunt Club Rd. between Riverside Dr. and Canadair Pvt., Prince of Wales Dr. between Fallowfield Rd. and Crestway Dr., and Old Richmond Rd. between W. Hunt Club Rd. and Seyton Dr.

“This is very important if you want to develop bicycle culture outside of downtown,” said Moor.

“Often, there is some kind of shoulder but not enough, or there’s no shoulder at all. And then you share the road with traffic that goes 80, 90 kms an hour and that’s not a pleasant bike ride.”

Neither is dodging cars at the Hwy. 416 and Hwy. 417 ramps.

“In some locations, there is a bike lane for straight-through traffic,” reads the report.

“It rides between the lane to/from the ramp and straight-through traffic, so cyclists ride between two lanes of fast moving motor vehicles.”

Some of the challenges outlined in the document require simple changes while others need major overhaul.

Bank St. near Billings Bridge, for example, remains challenging.

“This area has a high number of bike-car collisions, probably because the lack of continuous cycling facilities makes it unclear to drivers that cyclists are nearby,” reads the report.

“The City has committed to making the outside lanes of the bridge ‘no passing lanes’ and painting sharrows on them…”

Southbound Bank St. in front of the mall though, with several intersections and turning lanes, makes it a “difficult area for cyclists to negotiate.”

As far as helping commuters, the National Capital Commission’s Park-and-Cycle lots remain effective.

The program lets cyclists park vehicles for free, from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., then cycle downtown.

Lots usually have a four-hour time limit, however, 10 lots were exempted in 2012.

Plans for 2013 will see that number increase to 15 lots, according to the report.

Ottawa and Gatineau boast 15 locations with 585 parking spots.

Visit safecycling.ca for details.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/05/23/connecting-key-to-better-ottawa-cycling-annual-reports-states

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