Tonight, Tuesday, March 15, 2010, is the monthly meeting of the Centretown Citizens Community Association. (I am the CCCA's Corporate Secretary)
While the agenda is not out yet, there will be a presentation by City of Ottawa transportation planner Joel Mulligan on the City's pilot study on an East-West segregated bike lane through Somerset Ward. He made a similar presentation at tonight's meeting of the City's Roads and Cycling Advisory Committee (on which I do not sit), which is summarized in this Ottawa Sun article (note: despite what the Sun article says, lanes would only be added on one street, or one lane in each direction on two parallel streets).
This feasability study/pilot project was directed in conjunction with the approval of the Cycling Plan in 2008, in the form of a motion by Capital Ward Councillor Clive Doucet to explore an east-west segregated bike lane through downtown. The study is studying east-west roads between Wellington to the North and Catherine to the South, between roughly Preston and Elgin, though they are also looking at connections to the pathway network along the Rideau Canal.
The idea is that this would be installed within existing curb allowances for one summer as a pilot study to see how it works, then evaluated. This will give an idea of how a segregated bike lane would work in Ottawa (instead of relying on how it works in other cities, when there are so many extraneous variables to deal with).
I'm hoping they'll put it on Somerset, if only so that they can fix the signal coordination of the lights: going West on Somserset through Centretown, it's impossible to ride legally without arriving at every traffic light right as it turns red! Not much better going East. A pity because of the natural connection to the Corktown Footbridge and the direct line across town.
The timing of the study has a lot of consultation going ahead, but it likely won't get to Transportation Committee until May or June, meaning that by the time it gets Council approval and goes out to tender, it probably won't be installed until the 2011 season. There are certainly a lot of obstacles to go through.
The project website--still rather bare in the early consultation phase--is www.ottawa.ca/bikelane
So if you want to hear more on this and other Centretown issues, come out to the CCCA meeting tonight!