Montreal Road Next Target For Myopic Cycling Planning

On Tuesday, there was a shocking sighting on Ottawa’s first complete street Churchill Avenue … a cyclist.

Despite remarkably good weather recently, Churchill, another of Ottawa’s symbols of horrible planning coming in a $21.4 million, is amazingly short of cyclists. Your agent is up and down that street often but it is barren of cyclists.

This even in good biking weather, which in Ottawa is less than one-third of the year.

As I have said numerous times and the bike zealots refuse to hear, cycling is great for the short period of time it is used as mode of commuting.

But laying out tens of millions of dollars, hard-earned tax dollars, on cycling (unless it is recreation paths and the like) is a gigantic waste of tax money for their limited use. Furthermore, this antiquated mode of travel and cars have co-habitated on streets for about a century without paths. No doubt they can continue to.

Were this New York or Washington or Richmond, Virginia, this would be different. They all have longer cycling seasons than Ottawa has. But only a few zealots are out there in January in the nation’s capital and Ottawa should not be building tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure for a snobby elite of self-righteous lobbyists.

Aren’t the developers enough lobbyists?

Alain Gonthier, director of infrastructure and the city’s war on cars, says that Ottawa needs to build bike lanes the same way it builds roads and sidewalks (that would mean with lots of potholes and cracking pavement, no doubt).

“It’s not an either or. What we’re trying to do is improve the overall cycling network, which includes multiple corridors, especially in an east-west direction.” For whom? You? A small group of noisy lobbyists.

Only a city bureaucrat would be pumping a mode of transportation that works for less than a third of the year. Light-rail runs all year (though the city is mightily screwing that up). Roads run all year. People use them. Cyclists aren’t using your $21.4 million complete street in good weather. What next Mr. Gonthier from your one-centered, high-minded, myopic and wrong view?

Gonthier’s next target is Montreal Road for his one-third of a commuter mode. Local people have reservations. Business-people who pay Gonthier’s reliable weekly paycheque say it will cost them business because parking disappears. But what of that, Mr. Gonthier. Business-schmizness, we’re building ineffective bike lanes and the hell with local business. They’re just a bunch of complainers (and property-taxpayers).

But a solution is out there to Gonthier’s limited view. Get rid of him. Get someone in the job who builds bike lanes for a city with less than a third of a year of cycling weather. Major ice storm in April, Mr. Gonthier. Buses were running … bikes were not.

We don’t need anymore Churchill Avenue white elephants. Listen to local business people before you destroy their businesses.

If you want to know what is best for a community, ask the community. The community is speaking to you and you are not listening to anyone but a bunch of lobbyists.


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9 thoughts on “Montreal Road Next Target For Myopic Cycling Planning

    1. David, I don’t think you understand the concept of open discourse.
      Lots of us on The Bulldog disagree with Ken and with each other – that’s the whole point of having these discussions. It doesn’t mean any of us are right or wrong or hold the essential Truth. We each put forward our point of view and it gets responded to. The next step is the important one – we then consider the other’s information and take it into account when further developing our thoughts and opinions. It doesn’t mean we necessarily change our position, just that we are better informed when making it. And we learn and grow rather than remaining stagnant.


      1. Oh, I understand open discourse – but it certainly doesn’t start with such hostility as labeling those who disagree with you as zealots or lobbyists. That would be considered an ad hominem attack.

        Open discourse would show that the claim that cyclists can only bike a third of the year to be straight up absurd. Sure, there is a small minority that cycle year round, but The Bulldog claims that rain is going to put off most cyclists. Clearly he’s never cycled in Victoria or Vancouver or Seattle or Portland then. Easily 8-9 months of the year are quite bikeable in Ottawa – because unlike Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland we actually get winter and snow.


        1. And that is why I call biking zealots myopic.

          David, not everyone is like you. Most people don’t bike in snow, rain, extreme heat or high winds.

          Deal with reality, not just your biases and you’ll get a good listen here.




        2. One further comment, David. I am an avid cyclist and I also drive a car. In order to obtain my driver’s licence I had to take driving lessons then pass a written and a behind-the-wheel test. Anyone can hop on a bicycle without lessons and drive it wherever they like, eg. busy city streets. What do you propose to prepare cyclists for the perils that await them when they hop on the seat?


    2. David,
      It is not quite that simple.

      As an example, Mr. Gray is not dead-set against bike lanes. His previous editorials might question some aspects of all out support for bike lanes without tempering in some restraint.

      Things have been questioned such as looking for better routes, putting down a painted line as a barrier, finding solutions that are actually providing safe bike lanes rather than political expedience that provides lanes that have only the illusion of safety.

      There have been questions about cost versus usage.

      I believe that only commenters that support the bike lanes 100 percent, without question, are the ones that get the gnome label.



    3. David. I have not checked in on any discussions concerning cyclists – whether they’re zealots, lobbyists, die-hards, or whatever you choose to call them.
      I am an avid cyclist and have been riding on city streets, back roads, small highways, etc for many years. Cyclists have to remember a couple of things if they choose to ride. 1) They are riding a vehicle and hence must follow the rules of the road, eg. no biking on the sidewalk, 2) drive defensively, eg watch for car doors opening, wear a helmet, use a rearview mirror, and 3) cycling is dangerous because bicycles don’t have much shielding to protect the rider if they get hit by something like a car, get chased into the ditch by a dog, etc. Before anyone steps onto a bicycle they must realize they are taking a risk and have to accept that. If they aren’t then they should find another mode of transportation.


  1. There’s plenty of room on most of Montreal Road for bike lanes or tracks. The cycle-fascists have their knickers in a knot that the city proposed a very elegant solution for the narrow section between the River and the Parkway because waah waaah waaaah they don’t get dedicated lanes for those three blocks.

    What’s really problematic though is how the city is screwing Vanier on transit. When the old route 2 was split, service on the 12 along Montreal Road was slashed, and has never recovered. Vanier was in line for a preliminary study on surface LRT, which the conservative O’Brien council killed and the equally conservative Watson council has never revived. The 2013 Watson “affordable” transit plan called for dedicated bus lanes the length of Montreal Road, but those have been killed in favour of … bike lanes.

    The position of the bike lanes and tracks makes it “necessary”, supposedly, to remove a whole bunch of bus stops, including the very small number which have bus shelters. The city hasn’t committed to replacing sheltered bus stops with sheltered bus stops, let alone actually increasing the number of sheltered stops available. (The only shelter for Vanier is the Sally Ann, thanks, Jim) And the position of the cycle track means that bus passengers on Montreal will disembark right into the paths of cyclists, which is going to get someone injured or worse – probably a child or an elderly person.

    The hostility that the city of Ottawa has towards Vanier and its residents continues.


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