Alex Bikes

Ottawa bike politics.

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Ideas on how to allocate space on Bronson to protect cyclists

On October 18th, a cyclist died in a collision with a car on Bronson Ave in Ottawa. The police said she was going the wrong way on Bronson, which is probably true. David Reevely described some of the problems better than I could have. Really, it’s a shitty place to have to bike.

I have some suggestions to make it better:

  • Move the pinchpoint south by 375m, so that the transition from 2×3 lanes to 2×2 lanes is where the Carleton path meets Bronson
  • Use the available space to put a multi-direction mutli-use path on the west side Bronson from the Carleton path to Holmwood
  • Make the Holmwood crossing navigable by bike
  • Get Carleton University to pave the crushed gravel path they have now

Here’s a diagram of the current lane arrangement:

This diagram shows the number of lanes on Bronson between Campus Ave. and Holmwood. The current situation, the pinchpoint is at Bronson and Findlay.

Here’s a diagram that shows how I’d reconfigure the existing space:

This is the new lane arrangement I’d suggest. It still requires a transition from 2×3 down to 2×2 lanes, it just happens further south. This leaves room for a new ped/cycle path.

The sacrifice here is that the on- and offramps to Colonel By Dr. would be shorter. That might mean that traffic would back up during the congestion. But I wonder how often that really happens.

Another downside is that in some parts (particularly between Findlay and Holmwood), the median might have to be moved to make room for a new path. A median is intended to reduce the chance of head-on collisions. But I’d argue that allocating all the space to motor vehicles puts vulnerable road users at risk. And why should drivers be protected, but cyclists not?

These stories normally get a lot of media attention. What’s different is that city appears to be having an immediate reaction to it. I’ve never seen that before. Citizens for Safe Cycling will be at the Carleton Graduate Student Association (GSA) town hall on Nov. 6. Councillor David Chernushenko’s also putting a committee together to talk about this?

It is good that the city’s looking at this. But does this mean there’ll be a change to address this? Not soon, anyway. And then it’ll inconvenience drivers, which is very rare for the city.