Pop-up bike lanes installed on Moodie Drive

Residents in Bells Corners installed makeshift bike lanes out of pylons Sunday to show the need for safer cycling infrastructure and lower speeds on roads in their community.

Councillor says Sunday event shows drivers, cyclists can get along

Cyclists make their way down a pop-up bike lane installed July 22, 2018, on Moodie Drive in Bells Corners. (Radio-Canada)

Residents in Bells Corners installed makeshift bike lanes out of pylons Sunday to demand safer cycling infrastructure and lower speeds on roads in their community.

Cyclists and pedestrians say they're frustrated with the conditions on Moodie Drive south of Robertson Road and north of Seyton Drive, which is where the pop-up lanes went up Sunday morning. 

"With regards to cycling infrastructure, it's one of the worst areas in the city," said Trevor Haché, vice-president of the Healthy Transportation Coalition.

"We are dealing with, in total, probably close to two-and-a-half to three kilometres of fairly busy road, four lanes — two in each direction — [and a] 60 kilometre-per-hour speed limit."

Trevor Haché is on the board of the Healthy Transportation Coalition. He worked with Bells Corners residents to set Sunday's pop-up bike lanes. (Laura Osman/ CBC)

'Make the neighbourhood a bit better'

Two of the four northbound and southbound driving lanes on Moodie Drive were expected to be blocked off Sunday using traffic barrels and pylons.

The plan also involved setting up signs asking vehicles to yield to cyclists and reducing the speed on Moodie Drive to 50 km/h for the day.

This is a start to make the neighbourhood a bit better.- John  Netto , cyclist and Bells Corners resident

The pop-up bike lanes were scheduled to be in place until 4 p.m.

"I think for the average person, it's a very difficult process, because as you come south of Robertson Road on Moodie Drive the lane is narrow and speed limit is 60 right now," said John Netto, an avid cyclist in the community.

Netto told CBC Radio's All In A Day before Sunday's event that many cyclists choose to ride their bikes on sidewalks or take long alternate routes to avoid the speeding traffic. 

"This is a start to make the neighbourhood a bit better, a bit more easier to walk around in or take the bus or take the bike," Netto said.

Not asking for lane closures 

Residents are specifically calling for both speed reductions and an elevated cycle track between the road and the sidewalk.

They are not asking for lane closures, Haché said. 

More than 450 Bells Corners residents have signed a petition, addressed to the city, calling for these changes. They have shared it with College ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli, who is expected to pass it on to city council.

You can serve both [drivers and cyclists] without causing hardship, difficulty or annoyance to anyone.- Coun . Rick Chiarelli

"It requires persistence, it requires community support, it requires a support of a councillor," Haché told All In A Day

"And with all those things ... we can get the city to reprioritize." 

Chiarelli attended Sunday's event and said better cycling infrastructure would be necessary once Ottawa's light rail line is eventually extended west to Moodie Drive.

He said the pop-up lanes showed that bike riders and drivers could co-exist on Moodie Drive without any lane reductions.

"We're still going to have 65 per cent of people driving. And those people need to be served too," he said.

"So I think this demonstrates that you can serve both people without causing hardship, difficulty or annoyance to anyone."

With files from CBC Radio's All In A Day and Radio-Canada