Vanier Community Association asks for bike safety on St. Patrick

Vanier Community Association is asking the city for improved safety for cycling residents to Byward Market, downtown and Gatineau. City says no to complete street, can’t chip off 20 cm from car lane, and offers sharrows instead.

Here is the letter:

Mayor Jim Watson
Councillor Mathieu Fleury

Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Ave W
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1J1

May 18, 2014

Re: Opportunity for a Complete Street for St. Patrick Street

Dear Mayor Watson and Councillor Fleury,

I am writing on behalf of Vanier residents to express our desire to have a bicycle lane installed the length of St. Patrick Street as part of the resurfacing project this summer. At this time, the City has planned a bicycle lane for only on a portion of this street.

St. Patrick Street is the main link for residents of Vanier (and our neighbours in New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, Manor Park and Rockliffe) to access the ByWard Market, Centretown, Gatineau (via the Alexandria Bridge) and neighbourhoods in the west of Ottawa. It is located within the inner urban area of Ottawa, which in the Ottawa Cycling Plan, is targeted for the greatest cycling modal share increase.

The Vanier Community Association has been advocating for a bicycle lane along this street for some time. In March, a city planner attended the Vanier Community Association’s monthly meeting and presented the plan for St. Patrick Street, which is to install a bicycle lane along a portion of St. Patrick Street, and sharrows on the rest.

Following our disappointment with this plan, Councillor Fleury organized a meeting between us, the Beechwood Village Alliance, the Quartier Vanier BIA, city staff (cycling staff, project managers, road planners), Councillor Fleury, and Councillor Clark’s staff. We were again presented with the same plan. City planners insist there is “no space” for bicycle lanes. We note that the road is currently 7.65 m on each side. City planners insist that a bicycle lane must be 1.5 m wide. This would be possible if the vehicular lanes were 3.0 m wide, a situation currently found on the Cummings Bridge. We had suggested that the bicycle lane be 1.15 m wide, with 3.25 m vehicular lanes, as a compromise.

You may be aware that the City of Ottawa sought funding from the province for separated bicycle lanes (cycle tracks) along St. Patrick Street. The VCA was informed that the province denied the City’s funding request. Despite this setback, we do not accept this should prevent bicycle lanes from being constructed on St. Patrick Street. Although the funding would have allowed the City to build cycle tracks, the best option for travel by bike, repaving St. Patrick Street still offers the opportunity to install bicycle lanes.

City staff have told us that St. Patrick Street will be completely redone in five to ten years, and we should wait until that time for real infrastructure. For a street that links neighbourhoods in the urban core, this is unacceptable as a solution.

Vanier is a thriving, diverse community situated in close proximity to downtown. For commuters, it represents an ideal location to travel to work by bicycle. The Ottawa Cycling Plan acknowledges that high levels of traffic stress requires cycling infrastructure to promote this active mode of transportation. This Plan also notes that two-thirds of all bike trips are shorter than 4 km, which is longer than the distance from Vanier to downtown. Building safe cycling infrastructure is the key to achieving the City of Ottawa’s goals of increasing cycling modal share and to demonstrate its commitment to its Complete Streets policy.

We are seeking your support to ensure bicycle lanes are installed the length of St. Patrick Street as part of the resurfacing project this summer.

We look forward to your assistance in this important project for our community,

Sarah S. Partridge
Board Member
Vanier Community Association

Cc :
Councillor Peter Clark
Steven Courtland, Prg Mgr Municipal Design & Construction, City of Ottawa
Philip Edens, Senior Specialist Traffic Assessment, City of Ottawa
Kent Kirkpatrick, City Manager
Zlatko Krstulic, Transportation Planner Cycling, City of Ottawa
Philippe Landry, Manager of Traffic Services, City of Ottawa
Lynda Moore, Councillor’s Assistant
Tobi Nussbaum, Beechwood Village Alliance
Nancy Shepers, Deputy City Manager
Chris Swail, Manager, Deputy City Manager’s Office, City of Ottawa
Suzanne Valiquet, Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Area
Josée Vallée, Senior Engineer Infrastructure Projects, City of Ottawa