● The trials and tribulations of using Ottawa’s cycling network.

CBC has a good report on many of the gaps, missing links, and pinch points in Ottawa’s cycling network, including some very interesting videos of what cyclists actually see in these problem areas. In addition to showing the various bike lanes that suddenly dump cyclists into heavy traffic, there’s one video about the crazy and tormented route people have to take just to get on the relatively new bike lane that runs next to the American Embassy.

In the CBC report, Heather Shearer, president of the advocacy organization Bike Ottawa, says she has heard from people who would like to commute to work by bike, but don’t trust the unpredictable nature of the cycling network. She makes the point that “The infrastructure is only as good as its weakest link.”

Kornel Mucsi, the city’s program manager, admits there are problems with the current situation, but argues that it takes time to develop a bike friendly infrastructure. He suggests it could take another “decade or two” to deal with some of these problem areas.

The CBC report deals mainly with problems in the city’s core and surrounding area. The situation becomes even more frustrating when you consider that there are just as many problems in the suburbs, such as where the bike lane on Hunt Club Road comes to an abrupt end near the airport, and the potentially deadly funnel point in the west end of Carling Avenue where the road passes under a railway bridge.

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2 Comments on ● The trials and tribulations of using Ottawa’s cycling network.

  1. Thank you for your blog updates, much appreciated. I think the city is doing a good job and am also pleased that the gaps are being noted and, one hopes, addressed as time goes on in a priority fashion. I have found the “funnelling” to non-existent bike safe areas a challenge and have seen some improvements here and there. One thing we all need to remember is that we are not racing on he roads but moving – slower than a car and faster than a pedestrian. Taking some time here and there to assess danger and move cautiously is generally good advice on the bike paths. Since these new paths have appeared I find myself much more often confronted with other cyclists who are usually quite collaborative but there are the impatient ones as well. We need to support the city efforts and recognize the challenge while demanding improvements. The roads in general really are the biggest challenge I find.

  2. of course, building after the fact. We built this city on horse and buggy then came the street way rail lines then came the good ol automobile. Everyone wants in on that game – putting themselves into 3000lbs of metal to haul their carcus around. I was in central america this year, panama is just a concrete sht hole – cars everywhere and there is no infrastructure for people nor bikes. Yet, it could be an independent place not reliant on the good ol vehicle for the most part its fairly flat. Same goes for many of the carribean islands where the traffic is just ridiculous. Then came Guatemala – many bike, but the mass population sits their lazy ass in a vehicle.

    these are interesting programs:
    google don’t drive here Philippins
    google don’t drive here india
    google don’t drive here peru

    Those are older countries that can handle vehicles nor bikes. Luckily we are a younger country, but making the same mistakes others have made in the past.

    One really has to look at why other empires have fallen such as:
    why the rome empire fell: (lessons learnt the hard way)
    google don’t drive here 8-reasons-why-rome-fell
    Invasions by Barbarian tribes
    Economic troubles and over reliance on slave labor
    The rise of the Eastern Empire
    Over expansion and military overspending **
    Government corruption and political instability **
    migration of the Barbarian tribes
    Christianity and the loss of traditional values
    Weakening of the Roman legions

    So, what does this have to do with biking?
    well, if people can’t get around independently then what’s the use of having a concrete city ?

    there’s going to come a time when we have to rethink our ways of doing things, for there will come a time when supply and demand of oil will change – when demand exceeds supply esp when all 7 billion people want to drive. Yah, can’t create oil over night… yet, many think otherwise blaming and shaming everyone but themselves.
    google List_of_countries_by_oil_production
    google List_of_countries_by_oil_consumption

    The curves are getting tighter and tighter (supply vs demand). As this happens, oil will most likely increase in price which will impact everything from the production of goods (inc food) to the transportation of goods (we don’t get more stupid than we are today by shipping most of our stuff overseas, yet if cheap labor ever diminishes or oil increases in price this will change).

    With this, we’ll have to rethink the way we transport human flesh. That 9-5 job will probably change if oil ever goes up in price, just a matter of time. As we’ll have to drastically change the way we do things.
    Thus, cycling will be one option, but will we have the infrastructure to accommodate the masses?
    An after thought cycling infrastructure is.
    People (masses) don’t change unless their is a fire under their rear end (pain > fear). So, I don’t expect things to change any time soon.
    The good ol automobile will be the economic driver for now (along with housing -that’s another huge issue that will bite us soon, and the cost of education – next generation born into debt google List_of_countries_by_external_debt )

    So, will suburbia change? ( google peak oil and suburbia )
    maybe, time will tell. Oil will be the dictating factor.

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