Cycling Advocacy at Work: The Ramps are a Go!

In The Hague in the Netherlands, four troughs are built to get to the second floor of the bike storage on the left, built over a taxi stand next to Central Train Station.
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Bike troughs in Ottawa’s Light Rail Stations will be permitted

In The Hague in the Netherlands, four troughs are built to get to the second floor of the bike storage on the left, built over a taxi stand next to Central Train Station.

Often in advocacy, you wonder why you spend all that precious private time meeting, explaining, presenting, convincing why a certain idea you have will benefit the citizens of Ottawa. You need to get to understand how the City works, in order to not to talk to the wrong people and wasting your time. Of course, you have to meet during working hours with professionals, which happens to be your working time too.

You have to find allies, you have to defend yourself against those who haven’t seen the light yet, you have to make sure that the media quote you properly and you have to study your topic better than anyone else. (I wonder if road builders go through the same).


But than there is all of a sudden a success. You may remember my post on ramps in the new Light Rail Stations of April 4, in which I showed a whole series of pictures of ramps in other countries, after the Road and Cycling Advisory Committee had received an answer to their request to study the option for ramps in our yet to be build stations. That post is in the top ten of most visited pages of my blog, so clearly a hot topic.

The building code consultant from the OLRT preliminary engineering team, in consultation with staff of the City’s Building Services Branch, have previously reviewed the potential to add bike ramps integrated with stairs and have advised that the design of a bike ramp integrated with a stair will not conform to the dimensional, guard and/or handrail requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

Ramps already exist in Ottawa

It is the type of construction challenge you want to decide in advance and build something beautiful, so you won’t get some ugly post-install three years after the stations open and the complaints are piling up. In the comment section of my blog posting, people pointed out the NCC ramps that where already installed, while the provincial Ontario Building code (The NCC is federal for those who live outside of Ottawa)  does NOT allow them. So in short, the Feds thinks they are OK, the Province thought they weren’t. (This is the bureaucratic reality of life in Canada, where Texans until recently could take wine home from Ontario, but Quebecers couldn’t).

A woman bringing her bike down from the third floor to the second floor of the multi storey bike storage in the Hague.

Good news from the Light Rail Team

Well, yesterday, RCAC received an email with the good news:

This message is further to the motion from the March 19, 2012, Roads and Cycling Advisory Committee (RCAC) meeting requesting that troughs or ramps be provided alongside the OLRT station stairs to accommodate bicycles. The Light Rail Team provided an initial response to you on April 2, 2012, indicating that the preliminary engineering team was contacting the Toronto Transit Commission regarding a bicycle wheel trough pilot project. The response also advised that the preliminary engineering team would review the conformity of bicycle wheel troughs with the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

Please be advised that the preliminary engineering team has confirmed that bicycle wheel troughs can be provided alongside stairs in compliance with the Ontario Building Code. The OLRT project specifications have been amended to require all public stairs, interior and exterior, at the OLRT stations to include a bicycle wheel trough on one side of each flight of stairs. For new construction, the bicycle wheel trough shall be integral with the stair construction. For existing stair construction, the trough is permitted to be surface applied, provided the trough, fasteners and accessories do not reduce the required egress width. All bicycle wheel troughs are required to include textured, non-slip surfaces to provide traction for bicycle wheels.

We trust that this is satisfactory to address the RCAC motion.

Thank you,

The Light Rail Team

Another success for cycling in Ottawa

After the Green Bike Box, about which I wrote last week, this is yet another move towards better cycling facilities in Ottawa. That is why we have organisations like RCAC and Citizens for Safe Cycling. They are bringing forward the wishes of you, the cyclist. That ramp/trough at the Hartwell locks is coming soon too. Although incremental, these changes show that more and more City staff are wrapping their head around the fact that cycling will be here to stay.

This bike parking is built over a taxi waiting area. There is an elevator on the far left. The (temporary) bike high rise has space for 2750 bikes. 42% of the train travellers arrives by bike at the station.

Read the April 4 post on the ramps here: Ramping up the ramps

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