Bank Street Renewal

By Alex Wilcox

In late November, the City of Ottawa held a working group consultation for the preliminary design of the reconstruction of Bank Street from Riverside Drive at the Rideau River in the north, to Ledbury Avenue in the south. This project has been underway for quite some time, Bike Ottawa previously participating in the functional design study for this project in 2016/2017. This stretch of Bank Street is a significant artery in south Ottawa. At the north end of the project limits, the street transitions from an urban main street to a more suburban artery in the south end.

The proposed design includes segregated cycle tracks along the length of the route, which will also provide a buffer for pedestrians, making Bank Street a more attractive choice for people who walk and bike.

All major intersections throughout the project are designed as protected intersections. Many minor intersections also have some protected design features, though not all. While the proposed design does not eliminate the number of travel lanes, they are being narrowed and centre turning lanes better defined, which should help reduce motor vehicle speeds.

A welcome change at intersections is the elimination of all but one right turn channelization or “slip lane” at intersections. This is a significant safety improvement, as vehicles will now make a slower, sharper turn in the intersection where people who are walking or on bikes most visible. As a truck and transit route, corner turn radii remain large. However, corner aprons designed to encourage cars to make a slower, sharper turn are proposed, but will need public support to keep them in the final design.

A significant change since the original functional design is the redevelopment of property between the two Riverside drive intersections. With redevelopment moving forward, the city will be able to acquire a small strip of land and build standard width cycle tracks and wide sidewalks in this busy area.

In order to provide a connection to Billings Bridge Shopping Centre, a bidirectional cycle track is proposed along the west side of Bank Street from Riverside Drive eastbound to the Transitway intersection. From Riverside to the mall entrance this facility is separate from the sidewalk. However, from the mall entrance to the Transitway this facility is proposed to be a shared multi-use path, as the mall parking lot and a retaining wall encroaches on the available space. This is unfortunate as this area has a high pedestrian volume. A number of attendees at the consultation including the area councillor requested that the sidewalk be separated from the cycle track, a position which Bike Ottawa supports.

Proposed design between Riverside EB and Transitway Intersection. Shows constrained MUP along the west side and design at Riverside EB slip lane.

Other space constraints exist at some intersections throughout the project. Where space for pedestrian refuge between the road and the cycle track could not be provided, a new style of protected intersection is being proposed. Rather than keeping the cycle tracks at sidewalk level to the edge of the road, the design proposes that the cycle tracks dip to road level before the intersection. Through the intersection the cycle tracks are then defined by a series of raised curb islands, separate from the sidewalk. This new design raises some questions about how well it will be implemented, and there are concerns about width at some of the tighter corners. There are however some significant benefits for people cycling. Vertical separation from the sidewalk will likely make the delineation between sidewalk and cycle track clearer at intersections, where pedestrians often block the cycle track while waiting to cross. The design also eliminates curbs crossing the cycle track, hopefully creating a smoother ride.

Proposed design at Heron Road. Shows traditional protected intersection design (top right corner), constrained protected intersection design (bottom corners) and mixing zone (top left corner). Also shows elimination of existing slip lanes and inclusion of corner aprons (mustard colour), and bidirectional MUP connection to Anoka Street.

The final space constraint on the corridor is created by the building at the north east corner at Bank and Heron. This small commercial building is very tight to the corner, and the city is proposing to turn the entire corner into a shared pedestrian/cyclist space.

Overall, the proposed design will significantly improve the experience for cyclists on what is now an auto-oriented arterial road. As this will likely be the first major arterial street in Ottawa reconstructed with cycle tracks and protected intersections, this project sets the bar high for future projects, and will be a good example of what the City of Ottawa is capable of when redesigning a street. A public consultation on the new design with opportunity to provide feedback is expected in the coming months.

Budget 2021: Some Progress, But No Bold Moves

Ottawa City Council is expected to pass its 2021 Budget on Wednesday, December 9th. The city will spend approximately $8.9 million (M) on dedicated bike infrastructure – down significantly from the 2015-2018 years when the city was budgeting $20M in “Cycling and Pedestrian Plans.”

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Embracing winter on two wheels

Since the inception of the Ottawa Winter Cycling Network 5 years ago, the number of trips made by bike during winter has roughly doubled (based upon City bike counter data)!

With an increase in ridership comes a more extensive knowledge pool to be shared.  Whether you are thinking about extending your trips by bike into our colder months or have been cycling year-round for a long time, there is a wealth of information in this Winter Cycling Guide from the perspective of one of Bike Ottawa’s members.

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Bike Ottawa: Annual General Meeting!

Join us virtually for our Annual General Meeting!

Date: Wednesday November 18th, 2020

Time: 6:30-9pm

Place: Join us on Zoom!

(Link will be sent via email closer to the date).

This year’s speakers include:

Armi De Francia from Transportation Equity TO & Ajax Active Transportation


Sam Hersh from Horizon Ottawa.

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Our recommendations for Montreal Rd LRT station

Montreal Rd Station

Bike Ottawa’s Advocacy Working Group has recently created a subgroup dedicated to safe cycling issues in the east end of the city. As one of their first projects, they have been looking at cycling connections to future Stage 2 LRT stations. Read on for the letter prepared by volunteer Daniel Domen providing our recommendations for the Montreal Rd station and the response from the Stage 2 Project Team at the city. AWG continues to work with city staff and Councillors Tierney, Dudas, and Luloff to improve cycling and pedestrian safety.

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Our letter calling for temporary infrastructure in response to COVID-19

Montreal temporary cycling infrastructure

Cities across Canada and the world have been implementing temporary measures to enable safe cycling in order to take pressure off of transit systems trying to ensure physical distancing, and to encourage people to visit local businesses. Bike Ottawa wrote to city council to encourage Ottawa to do the same, however the city has decided not to pursue any city-wide measures to enhance active transportation. Read our letter and the response from city staff.

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Our letter in support of safe streets for distancing

Bank Street parking lane demonstration

At a recent council meeting, Mayor Jim Watson introduced a motion which as passed requires 2/3 of businesses to approve temporarily converting street parking space into wider sidewalks. However, people are already walking in the street to avoid crowding. This is an unsafe situation, and Bike Ottawa has written to the mayor to ask that this policy be reversed and that priority be put on the safety of vulnerable road users.

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