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Cycling in Hintonburg

Cycling, whether for recreation or as a way to commute, has become easier in many ways since the reconstruction of Wellington Street. While Wellington was almost impassable for many years due to its condition, and the new street is much smoother. Due to its narrowing, traffic has been slowed considerably, and we hear anecdotally that cyclists are taking greater advantage of it as part of their route to work. We believe that the draft Community Design Plan estimation of 3% bike commuters in Hintonburg is drastically understated.

The Ottawa Cycling Map however, lists just two commuting routes from Hintonburg to downtown. Wellington is a suggested, but unsigned route, and the NCC's Ottawa River path can also serve as a commuting route. The City has now also turned its attention to using Armstrong as an alternative to Wellington for slower cyclists, and has described plans to create a "contra-flow" lane on Garland to assist riders get from Armstrong to Somerset as part of their commute from the core.

On May 16, the Hintonburg Community Association hosted a cycling summit with school and City officials, along with cycling advocates and police. Among other topics, we heard from City cycling facilities director Robin Bennett that the City is considering suitable locations in the city to test "sharrows". Sharrows - lane markings that help cyclists understand where they should ride for greatest safety, and to alert drivers to these patterns - have benefits. But, if cyclists don't use them properly, drivers will not become accustomed to the need to share lanes, and the harm could potentially be greater than the benefit. The City has also directed a trial implementation of "bike boxes" - advanced stop lines that give cyclists priority for making turns and proceeding through intersections in either Kitchissippi or Somerset wards (likely to be at the northbound Bay/Wellingtion intersection). And, the city is eyeing a "contraflow" lane on Garland that would allow southbound traffic for bikes only to ease the transition from the calmer Armstrong/Spencer route to Somerset to cross the O-Train bridge.

Finally the City is eyeing modifications (over many months) to the Ottawa Cycling Map that would indicate Scott as a signed route with bike lanes, Holland as a signed route, and Wellington/Somerset as a signed route with bike lanes where those exist.

Councillor Leadman at our Cycling Summit described that the City's priority for boosting cycling commuting is in communities within 5km of the core. We have the opportunity here to ensure everything that can be done to make cycling safer is being done. The new road configuration appears to have had the effect of making lane-sharing practical without additional measures, but we - and the City - would like to hear more about what you think needs to be done in our community.

Are there intersections or stretches of road in Hintonburg that are particularly problematic? Do you consider that bike boxes and sharrows would be a helpful addition to our streets? How can cycling, for recreation or commuting, be made safer and more attractive. Please let us know!

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