Shaping the future Ottawa: Open House Jan 29

If you’re interested in city and community planning, the City of Ottawa has an open house and presentation in the evening on Tuesday January 29 for its Building a Liveable Ottawa Plan. This is the start of their strategic review of planning, development, and transportation policies and priorities. Straight from their website, the city has identified 12 planning issues:

  1. Intensification: smart development
  2. Urban Land Issues: building in or building out
  3. Rural Components: protecting and preserving Ottawa’s countryside – most of the city of Ottawa is actual rural land use
  4. Urban Design: creating people-friendly environments
  5. Transit Oriented Development: living and working around transit stations
  6. Employment Land Review: protecting and diversifying the economy
  7. Infrastructure Needs: providing the services required for growth
  8. Public Transit: moving people when and where they need to go
  9. Complete Streets: making room for all transportation choices
  10. Active Transportation: promoting healthy lifestyles
  11. Sustainable Transportation: developing travel options to reduce car dependency
  12. Affordability: realizing development within our financial means

I like what I’m seeing so far, with a decreasing emphasis on cars and more thought being put to how to make it easier for people on foot, bikes, and public transportation to get from point A to B in an efficient, safe manner. So far, so good.

Bike lane experimentation in Vancouver

This is a video on the segregated bike lane that was installed on Dunsmuir Street in downtown Vancouver. They’re trying a few different options for vehicle/bicycle barriers and they’ve also had to integrate the bus system/bus stops into the design.

Compare to Ottawa’s video on their new segregated bike lane on Laurier Avenue West in downtown, which opened in July 2011 as part of a two-year pilot project. Apparently this is the first set of segregated bike lanes in the province! How unbelievable is that!?

The bike lane in Ottawa has been somewhat controversial as everyone adjusts to the changes; importantly, the design has been tweaked over time to accommodate neighbourhood needs. Vancouver has done a great job with creating bike lanes all over the city (and to municipalities beyond), making cycling a more accessible mode of transportation. Ottawa has bike lanes that start and end out of nowhere but the infrastructure is slowly improving.