I feel that I have it pretty cushy in Kanata. I live in Beaverbrook, almost one of those “Garden Cities” championed by urban planners in the 60’s. I can get to many places easily by bike without touching too many major roads (though, this has become less true over the years as the Beaverbrook mall lost most of its tenants, including a grocery store and bookshop. Boo.) and I’m not too far from the Watt’s Creek path, the mile 0 of the Bicycle Superhighway, as Dan likes to refer to the Watt’s Creek/SJAM paths into town.
It’s far from perfect though, and while I can handle biking down a road with cars whizzing by 30 km/h over the speed limit, with the bike lane appearing and disappearing all willy-nilly, not everyone can (Campeau, I’m looking at you). I’m not even going to mention (oh, wait, I guess I am!) the new outlet mall which is a mere 20 minute ride from my house (or so Google Maps claims… I could probably do it faster). That’s great, but for the last 3 km of the ride on narrow, soft-shouldered roads that are posted at 70 to 80 km/h. You’d have to take the lane the entire way, and that’s just asking for someone to ruin your day. Sadly, they broke the bridge coming from the south side of Kanata (claim: we’re increasing safety by removing the shoulder! reality: we don’t want people parking at the outlet and walking to the arena!), so again it’s a pain.
Anyway, as I type this, My Sweet sits beside me, inputting data into her North Kanata Cycling Problems spreadsheet. She’s working with the TACK (which I presume means the Transport Advisory Committee of Kanata) to make this place easier to get around in, with safer streets for everybody. I think that’s awesome, and I’m hoping the OCP2013 will not only actually be actioned in Kanata, but they’ll also take into account the changes the committee have been flagging, no matter who gets voted in at the end of the month (I’m looking at you Mr. Let’s-Licence-Cyclists).
One thing actually came up as an election promise from Marianne Wilkinson. She claims: In 2015 I will build an off-road cycling path on Campeau that would separate pedestrians & cyclists, and keep everyone safe #Kanata #ottvote . That’s actually quite awesome, because Campeau, as I implied earlier, can be a massive pain in the butt. It’s not enough that ass-hats constantly mistake the 6 for a 9 on the speed limit signs, but the bike lanes play peek-a-boo the whole way down. A high school at the top of the street sends kids home at the end of the day on their bikes (yes it’s true, folks: kids can and do bike to school), but they usually use the sidewalk. Not an issue until you get to the retirement home area. There it evidently becomes utter chaos, if you can believe the signs posted every 3 feet. Wilkinson came into a TACK meeting wondering why the heck the kids wouldn’t just ride the bike lanes, and left (OK, OK, maybe a few meetings later) with the plan for the MUP. Good on ya, TACK!
As an aside, the whole family was out in the Berry Bus today, on Stittsville related errands. We’d been talking about the eventual building of the Campeau bridge, and we decided to swing by on our way to see what kind of progress had been made on it. The answer is not much, though the “road” (single track gravel) does go all the way to the Carp River now(last time I biked over, it only went maybe 50 metres past Didsbury), and they’ve put in water infrastructure, so maybe soon? That’s when I’m going to bike to the outlet, when that bridge is built. The place’ll practically be in a straight line. But I digress. We turned around after taking in the view, and there was maybe a dozen or so cars coming up this single track. One pulled up beside me and asked if they could get to the mall this way. My Sweet, ever the snappy answerer, said, “Sure, you’ll just have to wait a year or two.” Then she explained about the lack of bridge, and gave her directions. If only there were a simpler way to get there, eh?