Leiper Gets A Cycling Challenge


Frequent Bulldog contributor Ron Benn has some advice for Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper:

The bicycle lanes issue on Spencer Avenue presents Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper with a dilemma.

Leiper is a cycling enthusiast, a word that sounds less judgmental than zealot. Is he able to he park his obvious prejudices in neutral territory while listening, as contrasted with the standard Laurier Avenue consultation, to his constituents? How does he score the input he gets?

Do the concerns expressed by the residents of Spencer Avenue get more weight than the support provided by geographically more distant cycling enthusiasts?

Whatever recommendation he makes to staff, he had better be able to support it with tangible results of his consultations, such as a table that shows support for and against, by geography, and the reasoning behind his choice of variables. This would be noteworthy, and in direct contrast to what we get for most of the decisions made by staff and council.

What say ye Councillor Leiper? Challenge accepted?



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15 thoughts on “Leiper Gets A Cycling Challenge

  1. Ron Benn:

    You are a trusting soul if you think any councilor would present facts and figures that are wholly accurate and derived from scientific measurements. Not in the recent history of the City of Ottawa has this happened. Just look at public consultations and the bent results which always seem to favour a) developers and b) city-elected officialdom.


    1. Bruce Webster:

      Trust has nothing to do with it. Councillor Leiper holds himself out as someone who represents his community far better than his predecessor and, quite frankly, many of his colleagues around the council chamber. I am challenging him to demonstrate that he is indeed as open, transparent and accountable he claims to be. I am challenging him to set a standard that his colleagues will either match, or be subject to questions by the residents of their wards as to why they will not rise to a higher level.

      My expectations are that Councillor Leiper will not rise to the occasion, for once a higher standard is set, he must continue to meet it. It is up to Councillor Leiper to put this member emeritus of the cynics club in his place.

      So, Councillor Leiper, I repeat the question. Challenge accepted?


      1. Ron:

        Yes it will be interesting to see if Leiper will continue to support his absurd idea of putting bike lanes down Spencer Avenue when a multi-purpose path is one block north of Spencer. Meanwhile on Wellington one block south, cyclists are allowed to take up the two lanes available as are cars which causes the road to slow to a crawl.

        Leiper’s constituents don’t like the Spencer idea … particularly along Spencer and this hare-brained scheme will cost us all money. I don’t remember any demands for bike lanes on Spencer during the last campaign and I wonder what will happen to the kids’ basketball and hockey games on the street when the bikes come.

        Merchants in Wellington Village have already lost parking spots on Wellington and a new bylaw that allows patios to set up on parking spots will further curb them. The bike lanes will take even more parking spots from merchants.

        All this because Leiper is a biking enthusiast.

        He should keep his hobbies to himself and not impinge the economic and lifestyle vitality of this neighbourhood.

        And where was he when another giant home was being infilled on Spencer?

        The second coming of Katherine Hobbs.

        He’s not a man of the people as he would have us believe but a man of HIS people.




        1. “Meanwhile on Wellington one block south, cyclists are allowed to take up the two lanes available as are cars which causes the road to slow to a crawl.”

          I’m not sure the last time you drove down Wellington, but traffic is usually a crawl, cyclists or not. I wouldn’t blame cyclists taking the lane for that.

          “I wonder what will happen to the kids’ basketball and hockey games on the street when the bikes come.”

          Probably the same thing that happens when a car comes. Surely you’ve heard “car!” being yelled in the middle of a street-hockey game before.

          “The bike lanes will take even more parking spots from merchants.”

          The city’s surveys are fairly clear that this parking is barely used. There aren’t many merchants on Spencer, and most people aren’t parking on Spencer and then walking up to Wellington.


          1. Steve:

            I drove down Wellington this morning and the bikes contribute to the crawl.

            As for the kids’ basketball and hockey, if there is a phalanx of bikes as there is on Laurier Avenue, the games will halt permanently. If no one is using the lanes, the games will continue but then if no one is using the lanes why have them.

            I’ve seen a snoot full of city surveys and they are often extremely questionable.

            I don’t know Steve whether or not you operate a private business but time is at a premium. Business people are not about to spend time complaining about something unless there is a very good reason. Time is money.

            So if the merchants are complaining, there’s probably very good reason. And a bit of a secret revealed here … people who live and work in neighbourhoods know much more about their communities than do the tall foreheaded planners at city hall and people with agendas that clash with what the neighbourhood wants.

            If you want to see a stupid city report, go take a look at the reasoning behind the city not choosing Carling Avenue for light rail. One reason was the city staff maintained that there would not be very much economic uplift from rail along Carling. I wonder how much economic uplift will result in a line along the Macdonald Parkway where no one lives. To help some of the slow minds at city hall, the answer is dust, zippo and nada.

            So the city put the line along the parkway. Good grief. On top of that, it is being tunnelled there. One of the reasons the city didn’t want the line on Carling is that it would cause some tunnelling. Now they’re tunnelling on a park where no one lives.

            Defence rests.




          2. While this ill-considered adventure seems to have come to a close, to the satisfaction of some and the disappointment of others, I remain perplexed at the lack of thought put in to creating a more comprehensive solution by city hall, both from traffic management and Councillor Leiper.

            Something that has been ignored throughout this debate is where the caregivers and visitors to the residents of Spencer Street were supposed to park if all parking spots were replaced with bicycle lanes. The province is encouraging seniors to stay in their homes longer by making use of caregivers to assist them through regularly scheduled visits. A municipal initiative that removes parking from both sides of the street is at odds with this provincial health care initiative, as it makes it far more difficult for the caregivers to serve their customers/patients. This is just another example of the silo mentality that is so pervasive at city hall. They don’t think outside of their little areas of expertise or interest, and are dismayed or down-right angry when obvious inconsistencies are pointed out.

            Was one bike lane going in one direction down Spencer Street, with a second bike lane, pointed in the opposite direction on a parallel side street ever considered? That is a common feature in central (Bloomsbury, Russell Square, West End) London, England. I trust that the Bulldog would agree that two way cycling lanes are a recipe for disaster (O’Connor cough cough). This would retain some parking spaces on each the side street while shifting cyclists off of the higher vehicle volume roadways. Higher volume roadways represent a higher risk to cyclists due to more interactions with vehicles. The outcome would be lower risk cycling routes, parking remaining available for caregivers serving seniors in their own homes, and perhaps less congestion on Richmond Road. Win, win, win. Sadly, too many people who report to work on Laurier Avenue cannot fathom a win unless the other side loses.


            1. Ron,
              Silo mentality and/or binary thinking really mean just not thinking. Too much information, too many facts. Work, work, work, work; my head hurts.


  2. Also included should be a list of the alternatives that have been considered with the reasons they aren’t viable.

    For example, there is a multi-purpose east/west pathway that runs along between the Transitway and Scott Street which is a block north of Spencer and has the bikes separated from vehicles entirely. It’s connected to the network of cycle paths that weave through the city. Is a Spencer bike lane needed because that path is disappearing?


    1. The Voter:

      It’s not because that pathway is too crowded.

      And on that subject, perhaps Mr. Leiper when he has his can of white paint out could find a way to separate pedestrians from cyclists on that multi-purpose pathway.

      Good grief. Why is Leiper talking about putting a bike path down Spencer Avenue when one already exists one block north has existed for decades.

      Has the councillor bumped his head?




  3. Ron,
    I think you might be smokin’ some of that thar mary-jane stuff.

    Decisions are made by flipping a coin and then looking at his lairdship to see if he wanted that side. Keep flipping until the boss smiles.



    1. Chaz, I am not inclined to make use of with what one of my staff refers to as “the Devil’s lettuce”, notwithstanding the variety of aches and pains that are catching up with me. Having said that, I have no illusions that an evidence based decision will be arrived at.


      1. That is a new one on me , “the Devil’s lettuce”.
        That is a new one on some decision-makers, “evidence-based decision”.


  4. I actually wrote into Councillor Jeff Leiper about the Spencer Avenue parking issue.

    The corner of Holland and Spencer has two buildings with 273 apartments with many seniors and disabled living there. (More buildings to come).

    No visitor parking for these two buildings and none for the buildings to come. As I frequently visit these buildings, I can foresee a major problem. With Scott Street becoming such a mess Spencer Avenue would become a natural cut-through for cars to avoid Scott and Wellington.

    Leiper has put the bike lanes on the back-burner. Hopefully he will stick to it.


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