The O’Connor Bikeway: Parking over basketball over safety

The O’Connor bikeway is scheduled to officially open today. Downtown, they’ve been busy painting and putting in lights. In the Glebe, they’ve basically been done for a while…since they didn’t really do very much. They put in some bulbouts that you can ride over (though there’s one you can’t…have fun finding it!), and they’ve painted some bike lanes, or advisory bike lanes, it’s really not clear.

(“Advisory” bike lanes are supposed to be used for narrow streets. O’Connor isn’t narrow, so I’m not sure what’s with all the dashed lines.)

As you may recall, there was supposed to be real bike lanes along O’Connor in the Glebe, but, mysteriously, city planners, the local councillor and other “stakeholders” got most of it axed.

There was lots of talk about the reason, but one big point came from a local pediatrician’s office. They were used to having parking spots along the side of their business on O’Connor street, and it was just too too much to make their clients park anywhere else.

I mean, the city was just going to move those parking spots around the corner on Monkland Street, so they’d actually be right in front of office, but that would be too severe a hardship.

Think of the children!

I’ve been down by there a few times recently, and here’s what I saw in front of the doctor’s office:

img_2815

So I’m left wondering, did we lose the O’Connor bikeway because someone wanted to ensure that they could still play basketball right in front of their house? Did we decide that bicycling (and pedestrian) safety is less important than ensuring a business gets to use public streets for both parking and recreation?

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing kids playing in the streets. I think it should be encouraged! I certainly don’t think that we should get rid of street ball on Monkland for the sake of a bike lane. Of course, that’s not what we’d do. No one is proposing a bike lane on Monkland. No, we seem to be valuing parking over street life, in this case, basketball.

What’s going on here is that three parking spots are considered so important that they have to exist, full stop. Then, it seems to be a question of whether we get basketball on Monkland or safety on O’Connor.

I mean, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it’s awfully convenient that after a long and thoughtful consultation process, one that would bring a safe bike route for adults and kids, alike, we had to kill the bike lane in order for parking that could have easily moved just around the corner. We could never have bikes and basketball. That’s too ridiculous.

Think of the children, indeed.

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