Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thoughts on Bike Lanes:: The Path in Montréal Along Blvd. de Maisonneuve

image:: Boulevard de Maisonneuve O. at Rue City Councillors

This past weekend, I was in Québec, visiting Montréal and the Eastern Townships {Sutton and St. Armand/Pigeon Hill}. I had a chance to see The Claire Morrissette bike path, the dedicated two-way bike lane along Blvd. de Maisonneuve in Montréal {3.4 km from Atwater to Berri} and extends into Westmount. I thought it was an interesting approach, given Toronto's recent decommissioning of the switchable centre lane on Jarvis for cars in order to create bike lanes. The Path isn't perfect, as evident in this Gazette article, but the idea of creating a physical barrier {curb} between cars and cyclists is an idea with merit. The author of the article cites his issues with The Path, as he cycles from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce to The Gazette offices on Peel::
"...Pedestrians moving at one speed, cyclists at another and cars at still another, and each of the performers moving to a different set of rules and in different directions.
Not that I didn't enjoy some of the thrill. But sometimes I just want to get from Point A to Point B without the high drama. That means without riding on the de Maisonneuve bike path downtown. One of my colleagues was hit by a car last year while cycling on The Path. The inherent danger, or inherent extra danger, on The Path is that the two cycling lanes in the centre of the city are headed in opposite directions, she pointed out. So a driver turning left from de Maisonneuve has to watch out for cyclists coming from the west and from the east. And watch out for pedestrians, of course, and other cars."
I was also heartened to read that Westmount is keeping its portion of the bike lane open this winter, albeit on a trial basis, forgoing $70,000 in parking fees.

I've blogged about Berkeley's "bicycle boulevards" earlier in the year and I'm still thinking that a network of dedicated bike lanes/routes off of arterial streets is a good idea.

Twitterversion:: [blog] Thoughts on bike lanes after seeing The Path on Blvd. de Maisonneuve in Montreal @Prof_K


Officer Mazaltoff said...

Out here in Vancouver, we are getting our 2nd dedicated bike lane that will run north-south through downtown. While the Vision city council claims it is a "trial", seems odd to make cement barriers, which seem more permanent, for a trial run.

This lane, the Hornby lane, will also connect to the recently added "trial" Dunsmuir lane. While cycling to work this summer, the Dunsmuir bike lane was a treat to take and got me from home to work in less time than a bus and about the same if I were to drive.

While the Hornby lane does me no good, hopefully it encourages more folks to get out of their cars and on bikes.

Also, with this new lane, Vision council is wanting to sell shirts that read "Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby". Lone NPA member Susan Anton did not find this funny.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

On my more recent trip to Montréal, I saw more dedicated two-way bike lanes in the on Rue de Brébeuf and another on Rue Rachel. What I like about these lanes is that it signals to pedestrians and drivers that bikes are a presence in the city to be heeded.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

Susan just doesn't get Hornsby, I suppose.

Fredrik said...

Hi Kenneth,

I agree. I also think it is essential to keep bike and car lanes/traffic separated. In Stockholm, we share the same problem and unfortunately some accidents do occur here as well.