‘Ottawa’ New Bike Lanes Coming to Vanier’s McArthur Avenue
Vanier’s McArthur Avenue is poised to get new bike lanes this year intended to make it easier for cyclists to travel between downtown and points east.
At an open house next week, the city will unveil plans for a functional redesign of McArthur between North River Road and St. Laurent Boulevard.
The city plans to use paint, signs and large concrete planter boxes to reconfigure the road and travel lanes, in part as a response to concerns about excessive speeding on a street with two elementary schools.
Vehicle traffic would be reduced to two lanes for much of McArthur, but some left-turn lanes and on-street parking spaces would remain.
Donald Street, located south of and running parallel to McArthur, was initially slated to get painted-on sharrows to advise drivers to share the roadway with cyclists, but the idea wasn’t warmly received, said transportation planner Zlatko Krstulic.
McArthur offered a better opportunity for actual bike lanes because it’s wider, he said. It’s also the closest east-west cycling corridor in the vicinity of Montreal Road and offers better connections to neighbourhoods east of St. Laurent and the Aviation Parkway multi-use pathway.
“We thought it was a positive move to make that substitution,” he said.
Switching from Donald to McArthur won’t cost more and the project has already been approved for matching federal funds, Krstulic said.
The upside of Donald Street, however, is its direct connection to the Adàwe crossing over the Rideau River, which is hugely popular with cyclists. Getting to McArthur will mean cyclists have to do a short jog north along the Rideau River pathway and then cross North River Road to reach the new McArthur bike lanes.
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury doesn’t think it’s a problem.
“If the facilities are there and they’re safe, they’ll be used,” he said.
Drawings show the new McArthur painted bike lanes running in some stretches between the traffic lanes and parked cars, similar to bike lanes recently installed on Beechwood Avenue.
Fleury said he’d prefer to see the bike lanes located next to the curb, so parked cars could provide a buffer between cyclists and motorists, but the province won’t allow it. Parked cars must be beside a curb, which is the case on the Laurier and O’Connor segregated bike lanes.
“We’d love to do it,” Fleury said, adding he’d like the province to change the rules so cities could configure streets differently.
He’s aware of examples from Toronto that suggest city planners there have disregarded the province’s rules, but says Ottawa’s traffic and legal departments have advised that the city must respect the rules.
The McArthur bike lanes open house is on March 8 in the cafeteria of Ottawa Technical Secondary School (485 Donald St.), from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The next night, March 9, a separate open house will be held for the Montreal Road revitalization project. Vanier’s main commercial artery is slated for a reconstruction starting in 2018 to replace a major water main and sanitary sewer.
At the open house, the public can view the proposed functional design of the road corridor between North River Road and St. Laurent Boulevard, which includes the addition of cycling facilities.
The March 9 open house is at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health (299 Montreal Rd.), from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.