Follow-Up on the possible Fifth Avenue bike lane

Yesterday (or maybe two days ago…who knows, really?), I noted that there are markings on Fifth Avenue implying a new bike lane is to be implemented. I also noted that the markings aren’t totally clear as to what is being proposed and where.

I paid slightly closer attention, and it appears that there is very little happening.

Okay, first, the good news. It does look like there’s a bike lane coming on the eastbound lane from Bank to the canal (well, it says it ends at O’Connor, but then there’s a bike lane protecting a row of parked cars from O’Connor to canal, so, close enough?).

That bike lane appears to start juuuuuuust west of Bank Street. So, no, this won’t connect any bike routes, other than connecting the canal, O’Connor/Holmwood contraflow lane and the (non-existent) O’Connor “bikeway” with the Bank Street death trap.

You’re not going from Madawaska to the canal, or even Percy to the canal.

Westbound, it appears there will be a bike lane for about four car-lengths approaching Bank Street. That’s it.

This mini-bike lane, along with the little bit of bike lane approaching Bank from the west appear to be ways to keep bikes from getting trapped behind parked cars.

At Bank Street, Fifth Avenue is/was a three-car lane street, with dedicated left turn lanes. With the one-side bike lane, it turns Fifth into a two-car lane (but, technically, a four-lane) street. So straight-through car traffic will have to wait behind turners.

This is good! We shouldn’t be making driving as easy as possible in the Glebe. It’s just fucking stupid.

Bikes are allowed to filter (go up beside cars at stop lights), so the teenie-weenie bike lanes will serve as a filtering lane, essentially, allowing bicyclists to continue on their way (just as pedestrians are allowed to).

Okay, so this makes some sense.

Now, it doesn’t appear there will be a bike box for left-hand turning bicyclists. That’s a disappointment. And we don’t know if the city will paint a solid line or a dashed line for these little bike lanes, or if there will be any sort of protection (bollards, curbs).

This will be important to see. If we put a dashed line, then we’re just inviting cars to bully bicyclists and force their way through the intersection in bike lane (or just sit there and block it).

If we put a solid line, we won’t be inviting such rogue behaviour, but we will be facilitating it.

Really, there will need to be some form of protection, at least in the long term. Maybe it just needs to be one bollard near the curb, cutting off any jerk driving. Or maybe it’ll need an actual curb (which could also have a button to trigger the light and a place to rest your foot).

Oh yeah, also, going west, it looks like the loop detector (those three dots that actually give a bicyclist a light) are right on the line of the bike lane. That’s not really ideal.

Finally, I didn’t notice if there’s a no-right-on-red sign. That, too, will be paramount. Personally, this is where I see a lot of really bad driver behaviour coming from. They want to get through on the red, so they cut off bicyclists, creep into (and block) bike lanes and just really make a mess of things (don’t get me started on how they treat pedestrians).

So TL:DR, this project isn’t quite as promising as it looked, but it is a step forward (though I still think it’s mostly a PR thing for the councillor and the city–both get to claim they’ve put in more bike infrastructure, even though they’re not really improving the situation that much).

There’s no connectivity, and we still have to see if any of the lanes will be protected and if the intersection will be properly managed.


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