M E M O   / N O T E   D E   S E R V I C E





To / Destinataire

Chair and Members of Transportation Committee/

Présidente et membres du Comité des transports

File/N° de fichier: 



From / Expéditeur

John L. Moser, General Manager/

Directeur général,

Planning and Growth Management/ Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance

Contact/Personne ressource : Mona Abouhenidy, Program Manager/ Gestionnaire de programme, Transportation Strategic Planning/ Planification stratégique  des transports, Planning and Growth Management/ Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance

(613) 580-2424 x 26936, Mona.Abouhenidy@ottawa.ca

Subject / Objet

East-West Segregated Bike Lane

Pilot Project Update/Le point sur le Projet pilote de voies cyclables séparées est-ouest

Date : July 22, 2010

            Le 22 juillet 2010


The purpose of this memorandum is to provide an update on the East-West Segregated Bike Lane Pilot Project and to highlight the next steps for this project. 




As per Council’s direction, a planning and feasibility study has been initiated for an East-West Downtown Segregated Bike Lane Pilot Project.  A segregated bike lane is a designated on-street bicycle lane that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic through the use of curbs, planter boxes, parked cars, delineators, and/or other buffer treatments.  These types of facilities are popular in cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, Portland, Copenhagen, and New York because they provide numerous benefits, such as:



The planning work for the pilot project commenced in January 2010 with the identification of 33 possible east-west routes within the area bounded by Elgin Street, Preston Street, Wellington Street and the Queensway.  A two-stage technical evaluation process was then applied to identify a technically preferred corridor.  The first stage of the technical evaluation included four main screening criteria (Ottawa Cycling Plan, Route Continuity, East-West Connections, Traffic Signals at Major Intersections) that short-listed the possible corridors to the 12 potential routes shown in Figure 1.  These 12 routes were then carried forward for further analysis in the second stage of the technical evaluation process.  The second stage evaluation process used various criteria to assess cyclists’ preferences for routes (i.e. key destinations, route continuity) as well as the impacts to safety, vehicle flows, businesses, pedestrians, transit operations and relative cost implications.   


Figure 1: Potential East-West Downtown Segregated Bike Lane Routes


1 bike lane corridorsJun7.jpg




Four public open houses were held in early June in various locations throughout the Centertown area to solicit feedback from the general public.  The open houses were well attended with approximately 170 people in total participating.   The format included display board information and a presentation followed by a question and answer session and group discussions.  In total, 271 comment sheets were collected through the open house sessions, project webpage and email submissions.  A Public Advisory Committee was also established with representatives from various community associations, BIAs, cycling community groups, City of Ottawa Advisory Committees, religious institutions and residents-at-large.  The project team also presented the project to all of the community associations and BIAs within the study area as well as the City’s Parking Consultation Stakeholders Group.  The project webpage includes the consultation presentation material and an online version of the comment sheet (www.ottawa.ca/bikelane).


Preliminary Findings


Somerset Street, Gladstone and Laurier Avenues were the top three streets identified as preferred east-west segregated routes through the consultation process.  Somerset Street received the most support (155 of 271 written comments), mainly because it is the most direct cross-town route with good connections to other cycling routes and key destinations. However, BIA representatives are very concerned that there will be negative impacts to businesses if on-street parking spaces were removed. Gladstone Avenue (41 of 271 written comments) and Laurier Avenue (26 of 271 written comments) received modest support with less opposition from BIA representatives.  Other comments suggested that using two separate streets would be suitable if they were paired no more than two blocks apart.


Main Issues


The most significant issue identified through the consultation process was the potential loss of customers to local shops along the selected corridor if on-street parking spaces were removed.  While this impact could be minimized through using two one-way residential streets, few people preferred this option (10 of 271 written comments).  Other issues included the need for additional bicycle parking; improvements to connecting north-south bicycle routes and a communication, education and monitoring strategy.  While most people favour maintaining segregated bike lanes through the winter season, several people indicated that snow and ice will be an issue unless enhanced winter maintenance operations are undertaken.  Several people also questioned the need for segregated facilities on residential streets that have low traffic volumes and speeds as they are perceived as being already safe for cycling. 


Next Steps


The next steps for this project will include a peer review by Vélo Quebec, a leading bicycle association with expertise in developing segregated bike lane facilities.  A peer review is being pursued because this pilot project would be the City’s first segregated bike lane initiative and there are different opinions between the public and BIAs with respect to the preferred route and the impacts of the project.  Vélo Quebec will also work with the project team to develop preliminary block-by-block designs for the top preferred east-west routes as determined through the consultation and technical processes.  The preliminary designs will be prepared and presented to the Public Advisory Committee.  A final report that includes a detailed summary of the consultation process, design work, costing and implementation recommendations will be submitted to Transportation Committee by end of this year, with a view to implement the pilot project in 2011.


Original signed by


John L. Moser


cc:        Executive Committee

Nancy Schepers, Deputy City Manager, Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability

Vivi Chi, Manager, Transportation Planning

Mona Abouhenidy, Program Manager, Transportation Strategic Planning

Rosemary Nelson, Transportation Committee Co-ordinator