At first glance, Laurier Ave in Ottawa might come across as a concrete jungle-like street with uninspiring buildings. But in the end, it’s the people who ‘make’ a street: there are a number of coffee places and restaurants with outdoor terraces. I went out at lunch time and found 12 places with a terrace to watch the world go by and see cyclists in particular.
Watching the world go by
It is quite fun to see that virtually every few minutes someone cycles by, usually very calmly. Added bonus, you can keep an eye on your bike if you are sitting outside. The last one on the (geographical east to west) list, “Quick Check” at Laurier and Lyon, offers 10% discount on a number of items: I strongly recommend the samosas. Obviously, there are more food and beverage places but they don’t have outdoor places. The Dutch have a neat word for the food and beverage industry: “Horeca” (from hotels, restaurants and cafes). It is such a common word, that many don’t even know it is an abbreviation of three words.
I sat outside at Manhattans (200 Laurier) the other day and quite enjoyed it. My bike parked within feet of me. I would not have stopped here without the bike lane. As you pointed out, it’s fun to sit and watch the many cyclists go by.
I really enjoyed looking at how liveable Laurier has become; your pictures really show that. When I was downtown last week I couldn’t get over how many bikes were parked. And today, on the radio, I heard something about the inadequacy of bike-racks. We have come a long way. Can you imagine having that kind of discussion 5 years ago in Ottawa?
Actually, Citizens for Safe Cycling saw this trend coming. Taking bike racks away while the number of cyclists is growing was a concern that was shared with city staff. City staff said last year, that they will increase the number of racks if needed. On Laurier there is hardly a bike post or tree that has not two or three bikes attached currently. And all signs are pointing towards a further increase of cyclists. Energy prices up, number of bikes up, it is basically a given.