Bikes and parking spaces set to co-exist on Laurier Avenue

As the Laurier segregated bike lanes become a permanent fixture downtown, on-street parking can’t come soon enough for nearby residents and their visitors.

Nearly two dozen parking spots are slated for return “hopefully before the fall, but definitely before the winter,” said Janine Hutt of the Bay/Bronson Residents’ Action Group for Fair Access to the Road.

Hutt and her group have been working with the city to compromise; 22 or 23 parking spots will be reinstated on Laurier Ave. W. near Bronson Ave.

“I think that the city has made a number of changes that were helpful and this one is probably a major change, especially for residents in this area, as we do have thousands of residents living in these two blocks,” said Hutt.

The lanes between Bronson Ave. and Elgin St. have been a source of contention among condo owners, merchants, and residents since the pilot began in July 10, 2011.

The group has been fighting the lack of parking spaces and drop-off locations.

Changes are coming in three phases, and parking falls under the “immediate” heading.

Short term-recommendations include the creation of a raised cycle track on the north side of Laurier Ave. in 2014, running between Bronson Ave. and Bay St.

Long-term, the city is looking at converting the rest of the lanes to a raised track after the Confederation LRT line is running.

Hutt said a motion was put forward at transportation committee asking for public consultation before any finalization is made, since “we believe there will be many, many, changes over the next five years.”

The motion was added to the recommendation in the report, “so we’re pretty pleased with that,” said Hutt.

Despite initial concerns about the implementation of the Laurier bike lanes “it was new for Ottawa, but all stakeholders got together and figured out a way to make it work,” said Citizens for Safe Cycling president Hans Moor.

The city’s transportation committee voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping of the lanes last week.

“I guess we know that when it comes to municipalities, ‘pilot’ is always code for ‘permanent,’ so we’re not all that surprised,” said Hutt.

Moor said this shows council believes in a better balance for all modes of transportation.

“Cycling infrastructure takes little space and you can move a lot of people,” said Moor.

The decision goes to council July 17.


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