Bike Infrastructure at LRT East End Stage 2 looks promising but more needs to be done

Montreal Rd

Last week, I joined a Zoom meeting with Bike Ottawa’s advocacy group. Clearly, we can’t meet in person, unless we would be able to find four adjacent driveways. The zoom meeting went actually very well, with one of us sipping wine and others showing their collection of clothes in the background. I was very pleased that Tim Tierney, our new transportation chair, joined our meeting. We also had in the meeting Alison Lynch – LRT Stage 2 Stakeholder Relations and Richard Holder – P. Eng. Manager, Rail Infrastructure.

LRT East End Stage 2

We spent 2 hours going over the LRT East End Stage 2 bike infrastructure around the five to be built train stations. In Stage 1, there were a few surprise additions to the bicycle network for me, one of them being the stretch along the tracks from Laurier Ave, passing UOttawa and Lees station to Hurdman and ViaRail, effectively creating a very nice bike route from downtown to VIARail on Tremblay and beyond to the Baseball stadium.

I have to admit that I am not very familiar with the east end situation. I have little reason to go out there (I think) and cycling out and back is just a bit too much for what I find is a pleasant distance. Home and back to Petrie Island on a nice route would be 65 km. One day. I promise.

Lots of goodies in LRT East End Stage 2

I can tell that we were generally pleased with the suggestions we saw. Some on-ramps will be modified, new raised multi use pathways (MUPs) will be added, raised ‘intersections’ are mentioned at some of the on-ramps. How much raised is the question though; sometimes you don’t even have to take the pedal of the metal to cross them as a driver. There are covered bike parking and cross rides suggested. We discussed wayfinding and signage, and lights along the darker pathways.

Concerns

We still have a number of concerns such as the design of some of the on-ramps and the place where one is supposed to cross. A protected intersection at the new intersection at Trim station would be good, and the bike situation at Orleans station raised some questions and concerns. Some of the detailed designs have not been filled in yet so expect changes.

Implementing LRT East End Stage 2 bike infra

Bike Ottawa made suggestions (in red) for improvements as you can see in the images below and sent a letter to the city with the request to look into the suggested modifications. I should note too, that these are designs (as are the city’s artist impressions), but I have no reason to believe that these still very modest and overall cost effective designs can’t be implemented.

I think with a few tweaks here and there this could move from ‘OK bike infrastructure’ to ‘pretty good bike infrastructure’. It won’t cost much to further improve on it.

1. Montreal Rd station

Montreal Rd station looking west

Montreal Rd is not a pleasant place to bike on I was told. There are several different speed limits and ideally that would be standardised to 50 km/h, (other than school zones), which will still average around 60 km/h I suspect. A raised bike lane helps a lot, but only when adjacent traffic lowers its speed too. Think how scary the bike lane on Portage was before the new barrier. Ideally there is a bit of space between the raised bike lanes and the road.

Montreal Road station and Bike Ottawa suggested improvements (shaded green is road surface to be removed)

2. Jeanne d’Arc station

The bike parking is in an odd place. I would not feel comfortable leaving my bike there

3. Orleans Boulevard station

Orleans Blvd station looking east. On the left on top, you can see one of the bike shelters. That would be the south east corner
Bike parking in a somewhat odd place. The one way bike path between the two bike shelters sparked some discussion. What will be people do? Follow the rules or take the shortest, logical route. Note though, that the route to the bike shelters is bidirectional and one can assume that people come and go to/from the same shelter

4. Place d’Orleans station

Place d’Orleans in 2020: the joy of shopping: “Gezellig” it isn’t
Place d’Orleans station: artist impression: the Champlain st bridge on the right can be seen below with some bike infra
It looks like the slip lane bottom left is removed in the drawings. The bike parking is only a suggestion here, not carved in stone. I am not entirely sure how planners visualise the bike routing here if you come from the bottom left and want to go to bottom right: one would have to cross the Champlain st bridge towards the station, follow the path, cross the on ramp, cross a road and then cross Champlain St again.

Trim station

In the top right, you can see that Trim is being rerouted further east to a new intersection
Current situation with rudimentary drawings of Trim being removed and where the station goes
Bike infra winds around the parking lot, but it is hard to see here
Red shows new road surface

As you can see, lots of improvements for cycling, which is encouraging. However, to make it even safer, a few more modifications would be welcome. The East end LRT will be built in the medium of the 174 which makes it much harder to build surrounding amenities. Unlike say Pimisi and Bayview, there is virtually no room to make the stations’ environment more pleasant, which is unfortunate. It will be a harsh, metal, concrete and asphalt atmosphere with the noise of the highway, with cars zipping by on both sides, somewhat similar to UOttawa station’s east bound platform.

More on the City of Ottawa website: Stage 2 LRT. You might also want to take a look at the Maitland Overpass issues here. You can see the connectivity study here: Connectivity Enhancement Study east end Stage 2 LRT

Many thanks for Daniel Domen for organising this. Images from City of Ottawa and Google.

3 Comments

  1. Bike Ottawa improvements seem very reasonable, with little to no increased costs. I agree that the proposed bike parking facilities are in very strange spots. We need to take a page (several pages really) from Vancouver and provide locked, fully enclosed bike parking, accessible using your Compass (in Ottawa’s case Presto) card, attached to the stations.

  2. I am disappointed that there are still so many “slip lanes”. The very term “slip” implies gentle slow turns when in fact they are the application of freeway thinking with high[er] speed don’t bother to slow down merge lanes designed to keep cars moving at the expense of all other safety considerations. Surely there is a more accurate, less complimentary term we can use to label these? Words matter.

    It is also distressing to see money proposed on ineffective or useless cycling infra just so someone can claim there is cycling infra and the plan is “complete”. Low value infra wont be used, to tbe frustration of everyone, and will discredit subsequent proposals for cycling facilities if cyclists dont use the dumb or inconvenient stuff installed earlier. Bikewashing at its worst.

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  1. 3 examples of poor bike infrastructure design | Hans on the Bike

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