So we’re getting more and more reports about the development of a bi-directional cycletrack* on O’Connor (we’re also getting a report of some sort of bike infrastructure on Wellington…someday). There’s even an open house on Thursday. This is a pretty great development (especially if it really is going to be a cycletrack, rather than just a bike lane). There are some concerns about building a two-way track on a one-way road**, but more bike infrastructure is really needed.
But I’m also a little worried. O’Connor is not the street we should be working on right now. We should be building bike lanes on Bank Street. This is the main street. This is the street with shops and restaurants. This is the street that is the heart of Centretown and the Glebe. This is where cyclists–where people–need to be. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that when the issue of bike (and pedestrian) safety on Bank Street is raised in the future, there will be a chorus of “use the O’Connor cycletrack”.
Shuffling residents and patrons off the main streets is not how we should be building our city. We should want people out on these main streets. We should want urban life. We should encourage people to engage with Bank Street, and we should protect them when they do. Making more room for bikes (and pedestrians) just makes sense.
*The Citizen referred to it as a cycletrack, but city diagrams show either a segregated lane or a painted lane, depending on the location.
**I’m agnostic in this debate, leaning to being in favour of contraflow lanes. The issue, of course, is O’Connor is a dangerous speed, with lots of speeding cars with drivers who probably aren’t really paying attention. O’Connor shouldn’t really be a one-way street, and we should, of course, tear up the Queensway. If we did these two things, we wouldn’t really have to worry about the issue.