The City of Ottawa has unveiled its plan for how a two-kilometre stretch of Scott and Albert streets will look following the expected opening of the east-west Confederation light rail line next summer.
The reconfigured stretch will run from approximately the City Centre building westward to Tunney’s Pasture, and cyclists, pedestrians and drivers will all see major changes to how the roadway operates.
According to the city’s drawings — on display at a public meeting tonight — the number of lanes would be reduced from four to three, with two lanes for westbound traffic but only one heading east toward downtown.
A multi-use pathway that currently exists on the north side of Scott and Albert streets will remain, but will eventually be made off-limits to eastbound cyclists.
Those cyclists will instead use a raised “cycle track” on the opposite side of the streets, the documents show.
Eastbound bus stops will also be placed on platforms that jut out from the curb, allowing cyclists to pass behind them.
“I like that the city is doing something at all. They could’ve just been really cheap and said we’ll wait until Phase 2 of the LRT opens, and then we’ll do things,” said Eric Darwin, who blogs about urban issues in Ottawa at West Side Action.
However, Darwin told CBC Radio’s All in a Day he was concerned the plans don’t do enough to improve the heavily-used Bayview Road intersection, and that the multi-use pathway should remain open in both directions.
“I think [the cycle track] will be appealing to people who want to go quite quickly, like the commuters,” Darwin said. “But the pathway is much more appealing to older people like myself, or people who are recreational cyclists.”
Kitchisippi Coun. Jeff Leiper said Darwin had many legitimate concerns about the plan, but called the separated cycle track — which would be kept clear in the winter — a “huge leap forward” over what the city proposed in the spring.
He also noted this was an “interim step” until Scott and Albert become what’s known as a complete street — a road that’s shared equally by cars, cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.
“There is clearly some latitude to make further improvements,” Leiper told All in a Day. “And I hope…