Churchill reconstruction to include raised bike lane

For some time, the City has been planning the reconstruction of Churchill from Byron southwards.

It includes a number of the increasingly “typical’ Ottawa features of reconstructed streets:

  • recessed parking bays (I don’t know if they’ll be brick or asphalt, I prefer the texture difference of brick since it helps make the travelled portion on the road seem narrower)
  • occasional tree planting, where utilities haven’t already grabbed the prime space (in Ottawa, trees get leftover space, utilities get first dibs on all public space, and little or no effort is made to identify and protect a tree planting corridor along the right of way where a continuous band of topsoil could be installed.
  • varying textures and patterns of sidewalk paving

But the newest innovation is a protected cycling lane. This lane goes between the parked cars and the sidewalk, rather than between the parked cars and the motor vehicle traffic. Here’s a functioning example from Cambridge MA:

The Cambridge path is flush with the sidewalk, permitting cyclists and peds easy crossover or sharing of the surface. This bothers Ottawans, of course, who in best bureaucratic fashion worry about cyclists on the sidewalk, or peds on the path, and yearn for complicated rule sets, so I expect to see a 2″ or so mini-curb creating a three-tier street: sidewalk, cycling track, road. This is what the NCC did for the Confederation boulevard cycle track near the Portage and Alexandra bridges.


Apparently, the city is considering the same layout for the reconstruction of Albert Street from Bayview Avenue to Empress (through the Flats), although that will not appear until 2018. The Churchill design takes a lot of available right of way width which is not so readily available along Albert, which also has some high volume turn movements at major intersections.

In the meantime, we’ll just have to head over to Churchill in 2013 to try it out.

I give top points to Ottawa for trying out new lane, track, and path designs.

You can go to this link to see a l-o-n-g map of the Churchill project. Once at the link, use the magnifying glass to enlarge the map and then your scroll bar or arrow keys to move. There is an open house on Tuesday evening from 7 to 9, McKellar Field House (539 Wavell Ave). This is also the same evening as the CFSC agm being held at Tom Brown arena.


About westsideaction

Eric Darwin is a community activist involved in planning, transportation, streetscaping, and cycling issues in Ottawa, Canada.
This entry was posted in cycling in Ottawa. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Churchill reconstruction to include raised bike lane

  1. dfg says:

    Wouldn’t this have the same problem as cycling on the sidewalk? If I was a cyclist I would be slowing down to walking speed at each of those intersections to make sure I wasn’t popping from behind the trees and parked cars into an oncoming car. How does this work in Cambridge?

    • In Cambridge, the boulevard between the road and cycle track ends a few car lengths from the intersection. The cycle track is flat to the intersection at the intersection, whereas the sidewalk stays raised. Sometimes the ex-boulevard space is employed as a turn or queueing lane. The boulevard of trees usually stops well short of any intersection anyway, to open up sight lines and make way for signals and other infrastructure.

  2. David says:

    Well it’s not just Ottawa where the concept of a three-tier street exists. Plenty of the cycle tracks in Copenhagen are this way as well. The Dutch too place cycle tracks at a different height than pedestrians, sometimes at the same level as the roads and sometimes between. So it’s not just an Ottawa bureaucratic thing, for once. Mixing pedestrians with vehicles (of any kind) really doesn’t work too well, as the perennial letters-to-the-editor every spring about pedestrian and cyclist interactions on the NCC’s pathways make all too clear.


    We really don’t know what the arrangements will be like at intersections yet. It was still up in the air at the first open house.

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