Don’t Build Bike Lanes On The Cheap: Reader


Frequent Bulldog contributor Sheridan weighs in on the cycling controversy:

There are benefits to bicycling in large cities. For example, Councillor Jeff Leiper is able to get from his house to Ottawa City Hall faster that if he were to travel via OC Transpo. There are health benefits (aerobic exercise and pollution free), as well as easing the burden of car traffic. So, Leiper should be applauded for choosing this option.

However, the catch comes with designing a system for increased bicycle use when we have roads/bridges that were engineered for cars alone. Sharing some of those roads have become too hazardous for bike commuters, especially as car travel has increased dramatically on those routes, including much larger vehicles, e.g. long haul trucks with huge trailers. Bank Street is a perfect example of one such deadly road for Ottawa cyclists.

The issue that most people (urban taxpayers like myself) have is with the planning and design of these bicycle routes by city council. The easiest changes can be to new public transit routes. For older infrastructure, compromises and sacrifices will have to be made to arrive at a safe objective with limited interference to traffic flow. And regardless of what Mayor Jim Watson says, this will not be a quick or inexpensive enterprise. But that is no reason not to build such a bike route system properly. Doing it on the cheap will be more dangerous (to public safety), less effective and more expensive in the long run.

Just as car parking space is starting to be rationed downtown with newer development plans (i.e. intensification), so too are transportation paradigms shifting.



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