Scrap Laurier bike lane for safer route, councillor suggests

Construction of new separated cycling lanes along Slater, Albert streets to start in 2019

Laura Osman · CBC News · Posted: Apr 04, 2018 3:16 PM ET | Last Updated: April 4

Between their opening and October 2017, there were more than 220 collisions along the Laurier Avenue bike lanes. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC Ottawa)

An Ottawa city councillor is suggesting scrapping the Laurier Avenue bike lanes once a new cycling corridor is built nearby. 

On Wednesday the city's transportation committee approved a new design for Slater and Albert streets that would largely replace existing bus lanes with separated cycling lanes.

Construction along the corridor is set to begin in 2019.

"Knowing that buses are coming off these roads, are these safer routes?" Coun. Scott Moffatt asked during Wednesday's meeting.

If cyclists flock to the new lanes along Slater and Albert, council should consider removing the Laurier bike lanes, Moffatt suggested.

Nusrat Jahan, 23, was killed while riding on the Laurier bike lane in 2016, raising concerns about the safety of the route.

Some residents have also complained about the the loss of on-street parking, as well as other difficulties.

 

Moffatt told the committee Wednesday council failed to pick the right design for the Laurier bike lane in 2011.

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'We don't remove bike lanes'

He said if the Slater and Albert lanes prove to be safer for cyclists, it might make sense to remove the Laurier lanes.

That idea didin't fly with Coun. Catherine McKenney, who represents the area.

"As a growing city, a modern city, we don't remove bike lanes," McKenney said.

A single route for cyclists through downtown is not enough, and the Laurier lanes are already clogged some days, she said.

Since Jahan's death, the city has made safety improvements to the Laurier lanes.

McKenney said the street is now much safer for everyone.

"The number of collisions have been reduced for every user," she said. "Cyclists are much much safer on Laurier today."

Catherine McKenney