Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BikeWest - part iii - from Booth to Bayview

Above: looking west from Preston, approaches to the Bayview Station area

From Booth, the BikeWest bike road would continue as a two-way road separated from the car traffic by a curb and possibly a boulevard, and coloured pavement, with a raised sidewalk to the side of the bike road, all the way west to Bayview Station. Note that the City already owns the right of way along the side of Albert to Bayview, it is where they buried a high-pressure water pipe and where a vague multipurpose paved path was installed two years ago. The path will pass between the existing Dalhousie neighborhood (which includes the first 600 houses built in the 1980's as LeBreton Flats phase 1) and the new proposed higher density mixed-use Flats project currently underway (slowly).

The bicycle road would be adjacent the (north) side vehicle lane of Albert to facilitate snow plowing, but the sidewalk, already raised slightly higher than the new bike road, would be separated from the roads by a boulevard of trees and grass.

Above: the current ill-designed multi-purpose path would be replaced with bi-directional BikeWest lanes along Albert with a new pedestrian sidewalk set back behind a landscaped buffer of trees and grass. Not quite the Champs Elysees, but that’s the inspiration…

At Bayview, Albert crosses the OTrain tracks and joins Scott. The intersection with Bayview Ave is unlikely to change from an at-grade signalized intersection, which would be treated the same way as other signalized intersections as described previously, to provide safe intersections for cyclists without frustrating delays.

The connection at Bayview of the north-south transit line with the east-west LRT line is not finalized. It will most likely involve a station just east (towards the downtown) of the current Bayview transitway station, and will be a major transfer point from the east-west service to north-south service, including service to Gatineau on the existing-but-unused Prince of Wales railway Bridge. As part of this transit interchange, the City may have to widen the Scott Street road bridge or the transitway bridge over the OTrain, in order to improve alignments and handle the number of lanes/tracks required. It would therefore be economical to widen either structure at the same time to accommodate a two-way BikeWest project. Suitable side access to the Bayview station and other routes (such as the NCC Ottawa River bike paths, and the southwest path along the OTrain right of way) should be incorporated into the Bayview area design.

Click to enlarge: BikeWest route on north side of Albert

After leaving the Bayview Station area and crossing Bayswater Road at grade, BikeWest would continue west using the greenspace along the north side of Scott Street, where an existing multipurpose path would be rebuilt as separate landscaped BikeWest and pedestrian paths. Whether the path is located adjacent the north road curb or set back in greenspace is subject to discussion and refinement, but either can work with the BikeWest concept.

Note that a key to the success of the BikeWest concept is that commuter cyclists have direct dedicated path westward. This will remove many of them from the meandering NCC riverside paths, thus obviating the demand to build separate pedestrian and cycling paths along the waterfront.

At every major intersection, BikeWest users would have the same length of green lights as would car traffic, ie not be second class to car commuters. The bike road will not be successful if users are frustrated by car-priority signaling at intersections or unpredictable, potentially fatal cross-traffic. Thus the emphasis that BikeWest users have the same green lights for through traffic as cars do. (Recall that traffic turning across the BikeWest route does so only on right turn/left turn arrows, from separate stacking lanes (most of which are already there) so car traffic does not cross the bike route when cyclists are proceeding through the intersections. Like all signalized intersections, obeying the signals promotes everyone’s safety.

BikeWest is not just for commuter cyclists though, which is why connections to other City bike routes and the NCC recreational paths are necessary to help construct a web of safe cycling routes in the city.

Next: segment 3, from Bayview to Dominion.


  1. Leaving aside my reservations for this kind of thing (one of them being that I doubt there is anyone at City Hall capable of getting the signaling and intersections right given their deplorable track record everywhere else paths and roads meet), I would place the sidewalk between the road and the cycleway and not north of them both as you have.

    For one, this avoids a conflict at bus stops between pedestrians and cyclists - we already have problems in shared bus-bike lanes so we need not add to overall level of conflicts by adding pedestrians into the mix.

    For another, it avoids (or at least lessens) the wrong-way cycling issue. With a path next to or very close to the road, eastbound cyclists will effectively be cycling against traffic. By separating them by a few metres, this issue can be avoided or lessened, especially if the separation includes trees and shrubs.

    The more distance there is between the cycleway and the parallel road, the more likely it is that someone will spot conflicting movements before it is too late.

    I realize that facilitating snowplowing was a concern and rationale for placing the cycleway beside the road, but my response to that is that a cycleway right next to the road is going to become an interim snow dump while the road is cleared, no matter how much we might wish it otherwise and no matter what policies are enacted. To deal with snowclearing, I would make sure that the cycleway is wide enough to be cleared by a plow-equipped pick-up truck, which are very common, rather than relying on the much rarer sidewalk plows.

  2. I like it. When will it open?

  3. David: I like your logic. It makes sense.

    However, sidewalks are also used to access the buildings along the roadway. When apts and condos are built all along Albert from Bronson to Bayview, ped.access to each building would require crossing the cycle path. This would thwart the 'through traffic' feature of BikeWest.

    If the sidewalk is along the outside of the bike path, pedestrians could cross the cycle path and street at intersections and have uninterruped access to buildings.

    Note too that the buildings proposed in the City's Escarpment Plan for Albert from Bronson to Empress all have vehicle access not from Albert but from a new road built where old Wellington now is.

    For the segment from Bayview to Dominion along Scott, the transitway is the north edge of the boulevard so the issues of building access are rarer. Instead we get the transit stations...

    Which configuration is better? I dont know. It might need be different for each route segment.