Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Scott Street / cycling changes post-LRT open house Dec. 11

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There will be an open house on December 11 at Tom Brown arena (141 Bayview) from 6-8:30 to look at the proposed changes to Scott Street when the buses come off the detour. Unfortunately, City staff are still modifying the diagrams, but I'm told they will be up in time for the event.

There is a lot more information here, but in the meantime I can describe the broad strokes. It's important to note that the proposed new configuration is an interim one until such time as the street is re-built. When that happens, it will be turned properly into a complete street, with cycle tracks replacing the lane, and with protected intersections along the full stretch.

From Holland to Bayview eastbound on the south side of Scott, there is propsed to be a new, wider, winter-maintained bike lane in the newly-configured three-lane-Scott plan. It will be segregated from the rest of Scott either by pin curbs or newly-built parking bays. This is a major improvement over the existing bike lane that exists just as paint with flexi-sticks during the fair weather months.

The Holland intersection itself will be re-built as a "protected" intersection to provide a safer crossing for bikes and pedestrians with separate crossings and signals. I'm very much looking forward to that.

However, it has been proposed that the multi-use path on the north side of Scott will remain as is, but become a westbound-only path for bikes from Holland east. The City would like to "reduce the opportunity for conflicts with pedestrians."

This is a key drawback to the overall plan. There are many riders who would prefer, even with the proper new eastbound bike lane, to use the multi-use path as a more relaxed route. I cycle through the Bayview/Scott intersection virtually every day, and my perception (at least) is that in fair weather around half of eastbound riders on Scott arrive via the path, with the other half using the painted bike lane. During the winter months, when winter clearing on Scott is dicier, it's more who arrive via the path.

Many of those riders currently using the path will likely feel very comfortable on Ottawa's newest winter-cleared segregated bike lane, and the protected intersection - if they're arriving from further west - will provide safe access to that. However, some won't. Riders using the path eastbound won't have a dedicated signal to continue using the path. If a rider continues on the path eastbound, they'll technically be mis-using the path.

Ideally, the City would recognize that, and remove the westbound-only designation from the path from Holland to Bayview. People will be doing it anyways, as they have largely without issue since the path was built.

I want to acknowledge that staff have been very good at listening and responding to my concerns from the initial proposals for post-LRT Scott that I was presented this summer. The creation of a fully-segregated, winter-cleared lane on the south side of Scott is a leap forward. With the community's help, I hope we can bring this over the finish line with what should be a simple acknowledgement of how riders will actually behave.

I'm looking forward to seeing you on the 11th!

Posted December 3, 2017