● New buffered bike lanes on Slater and Albert Streets in the next three years.

The city intends to refurbish Slater and Albert streets in downtown Ottawa after the new Light Rail Train (LRT) system becomes operational later this year, and plans call for new bike lanes and more space for pedestrians.

For years, these two streets were use as part of Ottawa’s old Transitway system, and they were usually jam-packed with buses. The opening of the LRT system means that most of these buses will be coming off Slater and Albert, which will free up a lot of space for other uses.

As it now stand, refurbishment plans would see a bike lane installed on the right side of each street through the downtown core, and these bike lanes will be buffered from traffic by curbs or planters. At the west end, there will be some construction work to simplify the intersection where Bronson, Slater, and Albert meet. There will be a raised cycling track in this area. At the east end, buffered bike lanes will be added to the Mackenzie King Bridge where it passes over the canal.

Work on redoing these two roadways will begin in 2019, and will be completed over the next three years. Total cost of the project will be $32 million.

The new cycling infrastructure on Slater and Albert will be in addition to the existing Laurier Avenue bike lane, and it will provide handy new routes for cyclists to get across downtown Ottawa.

It is interesting to note that during the discussion about the proposed cycling facilities for Slater and Albert Streets, one city councillor saw an opportunity to suggest that the Laurier Avenue bike lane be scrapped. It’s strange that after seven years, some people are still looking for ways to get rid of Ottawa’s first protected bike lane. Fortunately, it appears that the idea of doing away with this bike lane received little support. Councillor Catherine McKenney, who represents the downtown area, said the objective was to add capacity for cycling, not to reduce it.

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