Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seeing green (#ottbike box Bay/Wellington)

Sorry for the lack of blog posts; I've been spending all my time and energy on the Bluesfest bike parking, which is Citizens for Safe Cycling's biggest fundraiser of the year. (By the way, we have not filled up yet, and the 'lineups' at the end of the night are rare, five minutes tops, so ride your bike and leave it securely with us!)

On my way back last night from the Blesfest office at 2:30am, I saw the City crews installing the thermoplastic green coating for the bike box at Bay and Wellington. This helps cyclists turn left, and avoids cyclists getting the 'right hook' from right-turning motorists. The thick plastic surface—the same stuff used in the intersections along the Laurier bike lanes—is melted on with torches and is pretty resilient. You can seee the workers melting on the final touches at the far end of the lane here, just in time for the one-year anniversary of the Laurier Segregated Bicycle Lane!

I chatted with the guy who was responsible for finalizing the design of the bike box. He also worked on the Laurier bike lanes and is working on the lane configuration for Rideau Street.

The bike box is to connect to the new segregated bicycle lane along Wellington street, which in turn connets to the pre-existing segregated bike lane on the NCC's Portage Bridge.

That whole intersection was completely redone in the last couple of months, adding crosswalks and bike lanes to the previously pedestrian-free intersection (pedestrians and bikes were expected to navigate a confusing route of paths and tunnels under the various corners of Wellington Street).

When you get to the Wellington/Portage intersection westbound, there's another new road device: since cyclists coming from Hull/Gatineau off the Portage bridge are on the wrong side of the street, they'll have to get to the south side of Wellington. This little drop-off area lets them pull away from the northbound cyclists and dismount to cross the intersection. Northbound cyclists (in the direction from which this photo was taken) can also dismount:

Dismounting is required because the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (rightly) prohibits cycling in the crosswalk. The City's cycling department wanted to install a "cross-ride" here—essentially a channel alongside the crosswalk in which you can cycle—but since the provincial law doesn't have provisions for such a facility, they couldn't. (psst: Ottawa—Centre's MPP is Yasir Naqvi, I'm sure he'll love to hear from you!)

Until it is, you'll have to get off your bike and walk. The paths and tunnels that weave under the intersection are unchanged, and still very much useable if you'd rather stay out of the intersection.

The next "missing link" in the cycling network on the City's list is the jog in the east-west Byron-Gladstone cycling route at Tyndall between Parkdale and Holland. Not in Centretown, or even in Somerset ward, but you're probably interested nonetheless.

Alright, back to Bluesfest for me! Once the festival's over, I'll have to get back through my considerable backlog in sorting my photos! Blogging will continue to be sporadic until the end of the month.

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