Bike Lane at US Embassy Open 2/2: Photos

The Mackenzie bike lane seen from north towards south in front of hte US Embassy
The Mackenzie bike lane seen from north towards south in front of the US Embassy

As you read in the previous post earlier today, the Mackenzie bike lane was opened today. The stretch in front of the embassy was an eye sore after a lane was blocked off by concrete barriers. Mayor Watson called it something else, but I forgot what he called the barriers. (Update, Mathieu Fleury wrote they are called Jersey barriers) The mayor mentioned former ambassador Bruce Heyman and thanked him for his initiative. Dr. Kristmanson said a few words, mentioning the closing of the ceremonial boulevard this Sunday morning for Bike Sunday (“The first time ever that the boulevard is closed in its entirely”) There were more speakers, but I must admit I forgot who they were and what they said (a case for short speeches). Than there were the photo opps and the press who asked us to bike on the lane for cutesy pics. I can’t wait for the comments in the newspaper ….Get you bike bingo cards out: www.bikebingo.com

LED lights

But back to the bike lane. A little nugget I didn’t know is that the bollards have LED lights built in, powered by solar panels in the bollards. I thought that is a very neat gesture. You don’t have to go there at night to see the lights though. Simply put a sweater or a spare pair of spandex shorts on the solar panels, wait for a few seconds and the lights come on (they will be faint during the day).

Solar panels in some of the bollards
Solar panels in some of the bollards

The LED lights along the bike lane are visible but obviously better visable at night.
The LED lights along the bike lane are visible but obviously better visible at night.

North end of the bike lane

The approach to the bike lane (the lane is behind me) from Sussex Drive.
The approach to the bike lane (the lane is behind me) from Sussex Drive.
The north end is interesting and not fully developed. Of course there is (soon was) that pole in the middle of the bike lane, but you will also notice that people (neither cyclists nor pedestrians) stick to their dedicated lines and boxes.

The now infamous pole that made me trending on Twitter on Friday. It will be removed.
The now infamous pole that made me trending on Twitter on Friday. It will be removed. The guys in the background are part of the team who were at the opening, not some lingering German tourists admiring the solid work.
I think it would have been much easier to build a larger shared space there instead of trying to herd everyone in a dedicated, but largely ignored, space.

Basically everything goes wrong here: peds in bike lane, cyclist avoiding ped, taking wrong lane, unclear cross walk on the left not being used.
Basically everything goes wrong here: peds in bike lane, cyclist avoiding peds, forced in wrong lane, unclear cross walk on the left not being used. Photo: Hansonthebike
I don’t think there will be too many people cycling northbound as getting on the lane from Rideau doesn’t make much sense and it is complicated: you’d probably take Sussex and turn into the Market soon. We observed lots of cyclists taking the sidewalk on the north side (the short end of the embassy near the peacekeepers monument) of the embassy towards the market. That could perhaps be turned into a MUP. This was suggested a few years ago and should be followed up soon. There was some fear expressed about the downhill slope, but we noticed people aren’t going very fast here generally.

Southbound Bike Lane

There is a weird little design in the bike lane to create a stop spot. I am guessing it is for the diplomatic service security folks to wait for guests to leave.
There is a weird little design in the bike lane to create a stop spot. I am guessing it is for the diplomatic service security folks to wait for guests to leave in a motorcade.

Past the US Embassy, the bollard stop and a nice median continues, with very granite (?)pavers.
Past the US Embassy, the bollards stop and a nice median continues, with granite (?) pavers. It is also fairly sign free, which I appreciate.

The bike counter loops near Milestone's. don't cycle too close together else you will be counted as one bike.
The bike counter loops near Milestone’s. Don’t cycle too close together else you will be counted as one bike
Southbound is more attractive: you cycle in a protected lane and at the end you get a green light for bikes towards the Rideau Canal. The nice thing here is that it is not an advanced 8 second green. Only when the bike light is red again, cars get their green light. The right turning lanes have their own light cycle.

The yellow dots in the pavement trigger your light. Stay there, else they revert back to red without giving you a chance to cross. If you want to turn right, turn left (!) and wait in the bike box on Rideau st
The yellow dots in the pavement trigger your light. Stay there, else they revert back to red without giving you a chance to cross. If you want to turn right, turn left (!) and wait in the bike box on Rideau st

A series of sharrows indicate your path across.
A series of sharrows indicate your path across.
There are half a dozen sharrows stamped in the intersection. Heading west towards the Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill is very confusing. You are expected to line up in the green box on Rideau and wait for the east bound light towards Wellington. It is doable, but very counter intuitive. Something that I think the city should put serious effort in in explaining. I foresee most cyclists will bike in the east west cross walk instead. I would too. Sorry Zlatko.

The new bike box on Rideau St.
The new bike box on Rideau St.
In future designs this connection will be better (remember that the NCC will build a bike lane on Wellington and the O’Connor bike lane will eventually extend all the way to Parliament Hill connecting to the Wellington bikeway).

I was caught on camera (once I put my helmet on):

Hans on the Bike
Hans on the Bike. Thanks for the shout out Mayor Watson.
And the opening even made me trending on Twitter in Ottawa (likely because it is a PD day and no one else follows Twitter).

Trending on Twitter
Trending on Twitter
Read how the lane was built with reinforced bollards in the previous post.

5 Comments

  1. I bike to work from Hull, crossing the Alexandra Bridge, going south along Mackenzie and then turn west at Chateau Laurier towards Parliament Hill. I find this bike lane very confusing especially at the corner of Mackenzie and Wellington. I ended up sticking to my usual habit: biking on the wide sidewalk west of the bike lane on Mackenzie.

    • Especially when you go west on Wellington, having to cross Mackenzie twice is not appealing when you are in your morning commute southbound. It might be attractive for the flow: Gatineau-Mackenzie southbound- Colonel By. I wouldn’t be surprised when more people would continue to bike the way you do. Out of interest, may I ask why you cycle on the sidewalk?

      • I have to get to Queen and O’Connor so I usually cross Wellington at the light in front of Chateau Laurier, bike through the War Monument (sidewalk again) and get to Queen at the corner of Elgin (back on the street). The sidewalk avoids having to turn left on Wellington/Elgin or Wellington/O’Connor through several lanes of busy car traffic.

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