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.