Emailed the City about bike lanes on O’Connor in the Glebe

Wrote this letter because Alex said so...

Do you think the City should stick to its plan to build bike lanes on O’Connor? Then you need to write the City right now. I believe we can change their course of cancelling the Glebe parts of the O’Connor bike lanes.

I am very concerned that the long-planned O'Connor bike infrastructure, through the Glebe, has been reduced to nothing at all.

I would like to point out that O'Connor, in its current configuration, is already a "Shared Use" lane, as that is the default for all roads in Ontario. So whatever else comes out of the works, don't pretend you are building bike infrastructure if the end result is still a shared use lane.

Here is the rationale that was provided for clawing back the dedicated biking facilities:

Based on comments from stakeholders and the public as part of the current public consultation program for the O’Connor Street Bikeway study, and in consultation with the Ward Councillor, the recommendations for the Glebe portion of the proposed O’Connor Street Bikeway are being revised. South of Strathcona Avenue, the recommended treatment will be for shared use lanes, which means that all existing on-street parking and curbside access between Strathcona Avenue and Fifth Avenue will be unchanged; dedicated bike lanes will no longer be recommended in this section and the existing on-street parking will no longer be relocated to other local streets. The primary reason for this change is in acknowledgement of the low-speed, low-traffic-volume residential nature of this two-way street coupled with the unique need for at least some on-street parking and curbside access.

I will focus my comments on the "low-speed, low-traffic-volume" assumptions:

  • does it hold for trying to bike with a five-year old? Or were staff assuming all cyclists are adults, 18-60, in good health and who have driver's licenses and understand how to "go with traffic"?
  • does it hold when a lot of traffic on O'Connor will be over-flow traffic that is attempting to leave/enter the Glebe and are diverting around Bank Street?
  • will it hold in 5, 10 or 20 years after more and more intensification? I assume O'Connor will not be revisited for a generation. We need to build today with an eye on tomorrow.

I submit to you that your assumptions do not hold today, and/or will not hold tomorrow.

O'Connor needs dedicated bike infrastructure so that as the Glebe and the surrounding areas intensify, and car congestion continues to grow, there are still safe areas for cycling. Don't we want kids and grown-ups to arrive-alive?

I believe the conditions already warrant segregated cycling facilities on O'Connor. But even if my some internal metric the city has determined that segregated facilities are not warranted right now, surely you recognize that they will be warranted soon, particularly given the traffic challenges the Glebe is already facing.

And remember to factor the age of cyclists into the warrants. Not everyone is a road warrior. My child certainly isn't.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Kevin O'Donnell