Alex Bikes

Ottawa bike politics.

An intro to bike facilities at Lansdowne

Why biking’s important to Lansdowne

I’m fervently in favour of making the best Lansdowne Park we can make. This means making the facilities enjoyable for everyone, as well as an economic success for businesses and taxpayers.  Now, with that out of the way…

If it is difficult to get to the site, people won’t go. The businesses at the site are expecting a lot of people to go through their doors. They should be motivated to get as many customers there as possible.  Transportation’s important for businesses.

You can get an awful lot more people into a site by bicycle. The plans acknowledge that cycling is important this way; it just doesn’t do very much to ensure that that happens. If we don’t address this, we won’t get the people onto the site we need to make this successful.

What cyclists are getting

Understanding what we’re getting requires a bit of research.

First, MCR only deals with the site itself, not with any other location.  Here’s the best diagram that explains what facilities we can expect on the site. I know it is fuzzy, it is all we have.

It shows:

  • Paths: There’s various links through the park. The solid lines are ‘shared bicycle route’, the dotted ones are ‘optional bicycle route’. I’m not sure what optional means here. The inner loop is shared with motor vehicles.
  • Parking: Racks are spotted around the site, the plan says in clumps of about 10 each. There’s no indication that they’re covered, let’s assume no. There’s no indication that these have any security cameras and no indication that these would be placed in visible areas to reduce theft. The good news is that there’s parking everywhere; the bad news is that you might have to hunt for a rack, and it might be in a desolate part. There’s about 300 spots available to the public.

There’s two other local developments:

  • Fifth/Clegg Bridge:  It isn’t a done deal, but significant addition to local cycling facilities is the link between Clegg and Fifth Ave. In some ways, the parking plan of Lansdowne depends on it, as it owes up all the parking in Old Ottawa East. This certainly makes it easier for cycling in the area.
  • Bike lane in front of Lansdowne: CfSC’s lobbied for bike lanes during the Bank St. reconstruction, and managed to squeeze one in northbound on Bank St. from the Bank St. Bridge to Holmwood.

What we’re not getting

What’s missing is actually more important.

There’s nothing about missing links to get from the site to local bicycle routes.

The most important missing link is from the park to the NCC Rideau Canal Pathway. Along Queen Elizabeth Drive, there’s an eastern and western multipurpose path. The western one really goes nowhere; it connects nicely to the park, but then ends up at one end at Ralph, and at the other end at Fifth. In both cases, it ends somewhere you probably don’t want to go. The real gem is getting to the eastern side.

Right now, the crossing looks like this:

There’s no reasonable way to cross in heavy traffic.

I don’t know what changed; it used to be on the list of things to do, on page 2 from Transportation Impact and Assessment Study and Transportation Demand Planning, which says “Safe linkages across and along Queen Elizabeth Driveway”. And the Terms of References refers to it four separate times.

We’ve heard nothing from the NCC. And there’s no mention of it in any of the more recent material from September.

There’s also nothing in the plan about fixing up existing bike routes. The Glebe has a lot of stop signs, which are irritating for cyclists, and of questionable value. Using these residential streets is normally pretty good, but will be very busy when there are events. Riding between parked cars and motor vehicles is quite difficult. Overall, these just aren’t great routes.

And there’s also a set of just really bad intersections. The Bank St. Bridge’s problems are severe: it is too narrow to add lanes, and the sidewalks are heavily used. We’ve talked endlessly with staff about Bank and Wilton. We’ve heard nothing about these developments, and there’s been nothing in the drafts of the 2012 budget.


Finding all these documents can be hard, so here they are.

“Transportation Impact and Assessment Study and Transportation Demand Management Plan Technical Report “, dated June 2010.  Weighing in at 195 pages, it tries to show that the use of this site is possible with the infrastructure available.

“Traffic and Parking Management Plan DRAFT Final Report”, dated September 2011. 50 pages of recent info.

“Transportation Demand Management Plan Final Report” , dated September 2011. Provides some ideas on what bike parking looks like.

Tomorrow: comparing cycling facilities from elsewhere.

3 responses to “An intro to bike facilities at Lansdowne

  1. ottawa-cycle-chic November 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

    As you say, not much for cyclists. Given how small the park is it’s a shame it has to have roads at all in the interior.

  2. Pingback: Biking to Lansdowne | Ottawa Citizen

  3. Risa November 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Really shocking that they would require such high bike ridership to make their plan work, and then fail to provide any infrastructure!

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