Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Outremont, why don't you love bikes?

We've said it before and we'll say it again, Outremont hates bikes.

Outremont is in the news because the Mayor of Outremont is opposed to adding a bike path on rue Laurier street (a street about to get "rebuilt"). What hurts most is that she is actually blocking the completion of the existing bike path on rue Laurier. 3/4 of the bike path is already built, only the Outremont section remains to be completed.

Rue Laurier is a primary east-west corridor for bike travel in the Plateau and between the Plateau and Mile-end to the chemin-de-la-cote-Sainte-Catherine bike path.

How popular is the existing rue Laurier bike path? Over 692,824 users in the last 14 months.

Laurier is an extra-wide street with an unused middle lane (used mainly for delivery parking) so there is plenty of space, and the fact that the street is five lanes wide (two parking lanes, two traffic lanes, and one un-used middle lane) so there is plenty of space for the traffic to be pushed into two middle lanes with bike lanes on the outside of each traffic lane.

I suggest everyone go and take a look at how poorly (i.e. non-existently) the piste cyclable cote-ste-catherine is integrated with the two rebuilt-at-the-same-time and as-part-of-the-same-project intersections of Laurier and Villeneuve. It is pretty obvious that Outremont does not competently integrate bicycle transportation into its street design. These two intersections are complete fails. The bike path was added to Cote-Ste-Catherine as sort of a cut-and-paste on the blueprints, but the bike path was not integrated into the road design. Sorry! However, the Laurier street rebuild is a chance to fix these problems and complete the rue Laurier bike path project. A project that is a jewel of the Montreal bike path network.

read the article here: The mayor of Outremont is opposed to a bike path on Rue Laurier street rebuilding project.

You should not be surprised.  Outremont just doesn't care about bikes.

Outremont is also fighting the construction of the bike path connection to TMR/Ville-Saint-Laurent.

Outremont is blocking the construction of a bike path to eliminate one of the biggest gaps in the Montreal bike path network: Rockland and Davaar/MacEacran between the piste cyclable Cote-Ste-Catherine and VMR/TMR's Graham boulevard to ville St-Laurent and places to the west).  This is a primary Montreal bicycle transportation corridor between downtown to Ville St-Laurent and points west. It is a huge gap in the bike path network and to safe cycling in Montreal. 

During the election the mayor explained to me that it was impossible to extend the cote-ste-catherine bike path east the final two blocks to Mont Royal avenue. Impossible!

Outremont public bike racks are the outdated and ineffective front wheel only bike rack style.

Existing Outremont bike path projects outside of cote ste-catherine are basically useless side-street bike share-the-road symbols painted on the street that do not push the envelope at all. In fact they seem to say that bikes are second class road users and should be forced to use side streets and not be permitted on major arterial roads or other main streets.  It is easy to believe that in the Montreal road-planning department, there are people who think this is the way things should be. 

Outremont bans and actively gives out fine's for the crime of riding a bicycle in any park in Outremont. (I will note that sometimes this makes sense, as it prioritizes pedestrian safety).  But at the same time the city does nothing about runners on the Cote-Sainte-Catherine bike path, where runners have been the cause of serious accidents.

Outremont has a very active cut-off-the-lock and confiscate-the-bike to any bike not locked to one of Outremonts useless and shitty and very few public bike racks.

Outremont! Shame on you!

The mayor's party Conservons Outremont's recent election platform indicated it was pro street safety and sustainable development. Was it all just typical politicians' lies? We would have been much better off with Projet Montreal.

Integrating bicycles into the urban transportation network is a quality of life issue. Cyclists have a right to safe streets. When streets are redesigned they have to be built with the safety of cyclists in mind.  This is 2014, not 1954.


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