Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interprovincial cycling strategy in the works, too

For a while now, the NCC and the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, along with OC Transpo and STO, have been looking into ways to integrate public transit between the regions. Now, the cities and the NCC are also looking at finding ways to map out a 50-year plan to create a vision of cycling in the national capital region.

From the Ottawa Citizen:
NCC chief executive Marie Lemay, Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien and Gatineau Mayor Marc Bureau met Thursday to discuss a plan to improve cycling infrastructure over the next 50 years and to create a safer environment for the region’s cyclists.

“If we do want to increase the percentage of people using their bikes to commute, we have to make the routes safer,” Lemay said. “The reality is, if people don’t feel safe, and if it’s not easy to do, the people that are not avid cyclers … won’t take their bikes.”
It seems sensible to consider cycling when the region's municipalities work to integrate public transit. The two can often work with one another to provide transportation alternatives for residents, but serve more effectively as complements rather than mutually exclusive.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No deal between OC Transpo, union for scheduling amendment

OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa had proposed an amendment to the scheduling agreement reached during their last contract negotiations with the ATU 279 (remember the negotiations that led to a 51-day winter transit strike in 2008-09?), but it was rejected by the union last weekend.

According to a report on 580 CFRA, the proposed amendment would offer operators and eight hours/day minimum (up from the current 7.5 hours/day) as well as six sick days per year (which could be carried forward to a maximumof 12 days in a single year) in exchange for an agreement that scheduling and overtime would not be part of the next round of contract negotiations (which should begin next year).

Both sides, according to quotes in the Ottawa Citizen, are willing to keep communication open and work towards ironing out some issues to get a head-start on the next contract negotiation. Earlier in the week, city council had voted in support of the amendment.

As a transit user, the fact that there seem to be open and reasonable communications between the two sides should be seen as nothing but a positive change. Relations between management and workers came to a head during the winter strike, and haven't seemed to improve much since then. Getting a head start on the next contract, and coming to an agreement on what was the most controversial subject in the last negotiation--namely, scheduling--seems a positive step, and should make users optimistic that a standoff may not be necessary this time around.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Election: Maguire on OC Transpo

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Although a big part of his platform includes an alternative transit solution of Ottawa road congestion, Mike Maguire still feels like OC Transpo will be a part of public transit in Ottawa--but he says it needs some work.
OC Transpo, as a mode of transport, in terms of the municipal service, is very inefficient. The subsidy this year is going to top $140M; well, that’s not sustainable, either. I’ll put it to you this way: Every dollar OC Transpo spends, they lose $0.50. Reducing the amount of participation in OC Transpo is not a bad thing at all, as long as you can make up a different mode of transportation that satisfies the commuting needs, while at the same time—hypothetically—reducing congestion, that’s a win-win. [...] As a corporation, as a service that the municipality owns completely, there’s no possible justification for a $140M-a-year subsidy for OC Transpo.
Maguire's commuter-oriented diesel light-rail system would not be managed by OC Transpo, but would be owned by the city. He suggests establishing some sort of owner-operator or profit-sharing arrangement to make incentives for efficiency--but that's for another post.

Maguire suggested a full-out review of OC Transpo operations, and thinks that privatization of some routes may be necessary to make the service appropriately effective.
Where I differentiate this is the difference between mass transit and public transit. OC Transpo is public transit; whether that bus is empty or full, you still pay for it. Mass transit, for example, is Howard Bus Lines going through North Gower. Or the Laidlaw bus service going through Manotick; the Osgoode Flyer has been going through Manotick for 30 years, it’s cheaper than OC Transpo, and it gets you downtown 20 minutes faster. The big advantage there is if you take the Osgoode Flyer from the Manotick Public School to Parliament Hill, your neighbour doesn’t have to pay a surcharge. And it’s still cheaper. So why wouldn’t you do that, basically, in as many places as you can find a niche to exploit? The purpose of the excercise here is mass transit: We want to get people where they want to go, as efficiently as possible, as inexpensively as possible, and if that means not supporting a billion-dollar corporation like OC Transpo, so be it. OC is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around.

Now THIS is a transit hub

I've talked about the forthcoming transit infrastructure projects in San Francisco a few times in the last few months, but this video animation just takes the cake. An incredible vision of what public transit can become in the 21st century.

Will it happen in Ottawa? Perhaps not. But it's still pretty amazing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Higher fares mean lower ridership, $4.7M revenue shortfall for OC Transpo

OC Transpo's 7.5 per cent fare increase in March 2010, coupled with mild weather and lower gas prices, have resulted in a $4.7M revenue shortfall for the transit utility due to less than anticipated ridership, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen:
OC Transpo saw record ridership in December, when 8.4 million passengers were recorded. But ridership fell below budgeted levels after fares went up 7.5 per cent in March, says a staff report that’s to go to city council’s transit committee on Monday.

This year’s final ridership levels are expected to be down 3.1 per cent from budgeted levels, according to the report. Ridership in the second quarter of the year — 22.7 million passenger trips — was 6.7 per cent lower than budgeted levels, it says.
The good news is that the report also predicts a savings of $4.5M in savings, resulting in an overall operating deficit of around $174k.

The concern for transit advocates lies in the less-than-budgeted ridership levels, as much as it does the lost revenue. Given the other possibly contributing factors (gas prices and mild weather), it could simply be a temporary decrease. But if the ridership dip continues, it could be an indication that the higher-than-inflation transit fare increases have finally caught up to OC Transpo, and that some serious changes are in store.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More off-road bike paths for Ottawa

West Side Action broke news yesterday of Ottawa Transit Transportation (Ed. note: thanks, Charles) Committee approval for a series of new bike paths in Ottawa, including the following routes:
  • The Otrain corridor linking the Ottawa River paths near Bayview Station south to Carling Avenue and Prince of Wales Drive
  • Rideau River western pathway from Belmont to UofO Lees Campus
  • Sawmill Creek, Brookfield to Walkley
  • Hampton Park pathway from Sebring to Island Park/Merivale
  • Aviation Pathway, Innis to Prescott-Russell rail corridor pathway
All said, the cost of the new paths is estimated at $3.2M. Still, although the motion was approved unanimously by the Transit Committee, it still has to go through full council and budgetary deliberation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 Election: Cullen on transit fares

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with mayoral candidates, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Fare hikes are an issue in any major city, but they seem to be especially of concern for Ottawa residents. And for good reason: Besides Gatineau, Ottawa has the highest cash-fare for transit of any major Canadian city. (Gatineau is slightly ahead.) Bringing down fare hikes is certainly an issue for many of Ottawa's transit riders.

However, mayoral candidate Alex Cullen doesn't think that bringing down fare hikes would work in Ottawa's growing transit system--in fact, he's not sure further fare hikes can be avoided.
You can’t avoid fare hikes, unfortunately, but you want to mitigate them. There is a demand curve, and elasticity. We have two clienteles who use the bus: Those who do not have an alternative; they’re low-income, and they don’t have an alternative, so they have to eat the fare increases, even though they have the least capacity. But those who have an alternative tend to be price sensitive, lo and behold. They’ve got cars, they’ve got a means to get about town, they take the bus because it’s convenient, but as soon as that equation shifts, we lose them.
An option that has begun gaining steam in Ottawa is finding a way to make fare increases match inflation--but Cullen isn't even sure that will work for Ottawa, especially given the labour costs at OC Transpo and the city's hesitancy to risk another transit strike.
If you only follow the inflation rate, you only follow inflation. But if you want to expand service, then that’s an additional cost above inflation. We’re going to be stuck with whatever the price of gas is, although, yes, our new buses are far more fuel efficient, and we’re making some savings on that. You want to look at those efficiency factors to mitigate the pressure of inflation.

And the other major component to inflation, of course, is wages. Did I mention ‘strike’? We just went through a difficult strike experience, and I don’t think we want to repeat that again. So we do want to ensure that there is scope to increase transit service.
Still, Cullen doesn't think fare hikes are the only way to offset expansions to Ottawa's transit plans. Although he didn't go into specifics, Cullen suggested that finding room in other parts of the budget to invest into transit could lessen the impact of any fare hikes.
The transit portion of the city’s budget is going to grow. Of course, this doesn’t happen in a vacuum; can we free up some money because of the upload of social services by the province? That gives us some tax room.

Cancelling tunnel would mean cancelling project: Cullen

An artist's rendition of LRT trains emerging from an overpass. © City of Ottawa

The Ontario government accepted the environmental assessment for Ottawa's new light-rail transit plan--downtown tunnel included--so cancelling the tunnel, according to current transit committee chair Alex Cullen, would bring transit planners back to the square one.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

"Bay Councillor Alex Cullen, who is running for mayor, on Wednesday took a shot at anyone questioning the need for a tunnel, saying a significant change to the project would mean redoing the environmental assessment, and more public
consultation and background studies — something that took council four years to complete for its current project.


"Deputy city manager Nancy Schepers, who’s in charge of transit, said cutting the tunnel would mean the city would have “to go back to the drawing board” on its transit plan. Looking at another option, such as surface light-rail, would require figuring out how the system would work with different traffic volumes, Schepers said."
A few of Ottawa's mayoral candidates have talked about cancelling or changing the transit plan. Jim Watson is the only one who seemed interested in trying to cut the tunnel out of the plan, and he hasn't said much about it recently. Mike Maguire and Clive Doucet want completely different plans, so it makes sense that cancelling the tunnel would bring Ottawa back to square one. Charlie Taylor seems resigned to moving forward with the current plan, although he's said he'd have chosen something else if it wouldn't cost the city so much time. Stan Pioro seems interested in cancelling public transit in any measure, aside from buses to Richmond. Both Larry O'Brien and Alex Cullen want to move forward with the plan as it is today.

But for some reason, Metro Ottawa's story on the issue--and Cullen's quote about the tunnel being a 'dead issue'--is titled "Feasibility of tunnel an issue". Go figure.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 Election: Maguire on LRT affordability

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Although Mike Maguire doesn't feel that light-rail transit in itself isn't affordable for Ottawa, he does feel that the current electric light-rail transit plan, including the downtown tunnel, won't work for Ottawa. He's proposed his own alternative: A hypothetically cheaper, commuter-driven diesel light-rail transit system, instead.
We can’t possibly afford the downtown Ottawa tunnel. [...] The downtown Ottawa tunnel and the LRT are proposed at $2.1B, which is a class-D estimate—which is plus or minus 25 per cent; it won’t be minus—so you’re looking at, realistically, it could be as high as $2.6B; if the present estimate of work is very precise and the only variable is cost, you’re looking at $2.6B. And there’s every opportunity for that to go much higher. Certainly, in terms of large infrastructure projects in the City of Ottawa, we would normally say a factor of 40 per cent would be reasonable for cost overruns in Ottawa. Round numbers, though, I don’t want to be too unfair to council, to staff: Let’s say it’s $2.5B, so the city has to borrow $1.3B, after we get $600M from the province, $600M from the federal government, so the difference is $1.3B. So $1.3B is going to be funded through the gas tax rebate.
Above the initial construction cost, though, Maguire has concerns with operating costs. Based on an average annual operating cost at 18 per cent of the purchase price (which Maguire said was a generally accepted principle--I can't really confirm or deny it), Maguire suggested operating costs for the electric LRT system would be in the range of $4-500M per year.
If you look at it operationally; as monumental as the purchase price is, operationally, it will exceed that in seven years. So yes, $2.5B is a whack of money, but within less than a ten-year period, that will be distant cousin to what we’re going to spend operationally. We don’t have that kind of money.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2010 Election: Taylor on cycling

bicycle parking lot in Japan, from Wikipedia

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with mayoral candidates, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

An interesting fact about mayoral candidate Charlie Taylor is that he's made the personal choice to use cycling as his primary form of transportation. Citing the health and environmental benefits, along with the convenience, Taylor's been a cyclist all his life. But he's also got a few changes he'd make to the city's approach to cycling to make it more appealing, if elected mayor.

For one thing, Taylor noted that much of the city's cycling infrastructure is operated by the National Capital Commission, and seems suited more for recreation than function--noting in particular the 220 km of recreational paths collectively referred to as the Capital Pathway network. Of particular note, Taylor wanted the 20 km/h speed limit for cycling on the Capital Pathway taken away, "because it’s not feasible for commuting, going at a fast walking speed."

In terms of encouraging more citizens to take up cycling, Taylor said that finding a way to make people feel safer while on their bikes is a way to get them cycling. (This statement was backed up by an Ottawa Citizen-commissioned poll published just after our interview, in which more than half of all respondents said they'd bike more if they felt safer.) On top of establishing designated cycle lanes on roadways, and even cycling-only streets, Taylor suggested painting cycling lanes a different colour from roadways would make people feel safer.
Designated bicycle lanes, in Europe, they’re a different colour. They’re blue. I’ve biked a lot when cars are taking a corner, and they zip into the bicycle lane because it’s just another white line on the pavement and they don’t really pay attention. If you’ve got a whole different colour, it’s a lot more visible, and people think, “Oh, that’s where the bicycles are. That’s not for me, I’m a car driver; that’s where the bicycles are.” And how much does blue paint cost?
(There are numbers to support Taylor's idea: Spacing Toronto recently wrote about blue bike lanes in Portland, Oregon that made cyclists feel 50 per cent safer, and a Danish study suggested that painted cycle lanes reduced bike-car collisions by 38 per cent.)

Taylor also said that the city needs to find a way to define cyclists: Not quite motorists, and not quite pedestrians, and sharing some rights and responsibilities with both.
"There’s also this myth that bicycles are a motor vehicle, and are treated as such. A bicycle is not a motor vehicle, and they need to be recognized as a distinct form of transportation. I agree that most of the rules of the road should apply to cyclists, like stop signs, stoplights, all that good stuff, absolutely. But there are certain things. If a cyclist wants to make a left-hand turn on Bronson at rush hour, you can’t expect a cyclist to pull into the left-hand lane, sit in traffic with cars going by on both sides, you’d have to have a death wish to feel comfortable doing that."

MP Baird supports LRT tunnel

It's had its fair share of critics since the transit plan was launched, but Ottawa's $735M downtown transit tunnel (DOTT) has received a vote of confidence from one particularly notable politician: Ottawa-West Nepean MP John Baird.

Baird wasn't ready to say it was essential (that would be far too committal for a politician, no?), but he did say that in looking to the future, it seems highly likely that public transit will have to go underground in order to satisfy growing ridership levels.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

"By 2017, there just will not be room for any more buses," he said. "If you're not going to build a tunnel, you have to explain how you get that many buses or rail through the downtown core."


"The city's come forward with a plan," he said. "After the federal announcement, they said they would cut the cost to fit. We've put our money up, and it will be up to them to deliver the project."

He agreed, however, that the light-rail line is a "very, very big project. It's a huge expense."

At the same time, "I don't know what the expense is on gridlock and quality of life if we don't act on public transit," he said.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Technical issues, please stand by...

Photo from OC Transpo LiveJournal user rickyrooster

Tough month so far for OC Transpo.

On August 6, an OC Transpo bus was hit by a cement mixer, resulting in four injuries to bus passengers. The next day, in the midst of an audit on scheduling practices, the Ottawa Citizen printed an article on OC Transpo's "poisoned" working environment, citing several workers' experiences.

Then last week, a bus engine caught fire (see above photo) on Monday. On Wednesday, the utility released their stop-announcement numbers: Still only 77 per cent, nowhere near the 100 per cent demanded to avoid further fines from the Canadian Transportation Administration (CTA) to comply with accessibility regulations. Then on Friday, a collision between a car and a bus left two individuals (the operator and a passenger) with minor injuries. And later on Friday, a second bus caught fire (by all appearances the same bus model: the Orion VI, according to the OC Transpo Livejournal community), bookending a pretty rough week for the corporation.

And on Saturday, more bad press: With unreliable elevators at major transit stations, some riders are faced with time-sucking detours, missing connections and wasting time. It is a serious accessibility problem, and could make OC Transpo vulnerable to more fines if an accessibility complaint is made (similar to that made about the previously-mentioned stop-calling deficiencies, which have cost OC Transpo $5,000 and $12,500 in separate fines).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2010 Election: Cullen on the hub-and-spoke system

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign,
Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Something which all transit planners are concerned with are transfers: The conventional thinking is that more transfers = less riders, because riders don't want to get off one bus and have to wait for the next one. That speaks to the success of OC Transpo's express routes, where many suburbanites can take one bus from just about their front door to their office.

With Ottawa's current light-rail plan, though, that's going to change. Transferring from bus to train will be a reality. But it's a reality already, and mayoral candidate Alex Cullen thinks we're going to see even more of it as our transit system continues to grow.
Our last TransPlan eliminated some express bus routes, and those folks weren’t happy. In one sense, I don’t blame them, because they had a very convenient means of getting to work, but it was not efficient. Certainly from a cost perspective it’s not perspective—efficient for them, but not for the taxpayer. And we’re hitting capacity constraints in the downtown, and can’t take anymore. The city is growing, and we can’t take any more.
Although Cullen understands why the affected riders would be upset, he thinks that the failure has been on the city, and council needs to better communicate why these routes are cut, and why the city needs it.
We have to do a better job of showing people why we have to eliminate that bus route, that express route. [...] What my colleagues need to do is not try to hide from the reaction that we’re going to get, but anticipate it, be up front, and show the benefit of the alternative. This is a process where we need to engage people to help us to the transition to a better system. Once the LRT is in place, once 2017-2018 rolls around, people will be taking the bus to the LRT station and making a transfer. I think it will work, because once they get on the train, they can relax, it’s going to be comfortable, and there shouldn’t be anything slowing down their ability to get from A to B.
In the long-term, Cullen sees a positive example of people making transfers in Toronto.
I look at Toronto and the vast numbers of people that get off the GO-train and get on the subway and take the subway to wherever and then take the bus to their ultimate destination, there are millions of people who do that every day, and it functions very well. And people understand that this is a system that works. We’re getting to that stage.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 Election: Maguire's transit alternative

Mayoral candidate Mike Maguire's alternative transit plan, in green, compared to the city's official transit plan, in red.

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Of the many candidates running for mayor in Ottawa's 2010 municipal election, perhaps none have come up with as radical a transit alternative for Ottawa as Mike Maguire. His proposition, in essence, boils down to scrapping the current electric light-rail plan, and instead focusing on commuter-oriented diesel light-rail along existing rail routes from Ottawa's biggest suburbs. The grand total would be 60 km of track, which Maguire claims can be had for $215M.

Given the significant difference between Maguire's number and that we typically hear for rail-based transit plans, I was (perhaps understandably) sceptical when I spoke with him to discuss his transit plan. But Maguire maintained that his numbers are industry standard, and are based on the advice of local transportation--and particularly rail--experts:
The [financial] numbers that you see come from, in many cases, individuals who advise CN and CP on rail replacement and things of that nature. The operational costs come from comparing the model I’m using, which is based exactly on GO Transit in Toronto—which is why I’m calling it “GO Ottawa”—so their exact model, with parallel services and parallel numbers. [...] So I had managed to boil this down over four months, and we ended up with a number, very ballpark-ish, what I thought was reasonable, and then I added that huge contingency. Just in case I’m wrong, I don’t say double it, but almost add half again and say no matter what it is, it will be less than this.
The low price, according to Maguire, comes from the fact that diesel light-rail is not as costly as other forms, and the use of existing rail rights-of-way:
The advantage of diesel light-rail is that it’s extremely affordable. And we have a surprising network of rail rights-of-way all around the city. It’s really interesting to see where rail used to run, and the rail rights of way are still there.
The plan (which you can see in the image at the top [click to enlarge], in green, compared to the city's current electric light-rail plan, in red) includes rail lines from Kanata, Orleans, Barrhaven, and Osgoode/Riverside South into Bayview or downtown along the Nicholas Transitway. His plan would have little in the way of rail for downtown, and those within the Greenbelt would continue to use buses for public transit. The diesel light-rail trains, in Maguire's plan, would be commuter lines that run Monday to Friday at morning and evening peak periods.

The emphasis on suburban commuters, for Maguire, came from his observations of congestion; namely, that the majority of it is on the Queensway and arterial roads, so that is where the city should focus on addressing first.

Maguire's plan would be to implement the system in phases, and believes it could be completed within one term of council--in other words, by sometime in 2014.

Friday, August 6, 2010

China to build buses that drive over cars

Well, this is an interesting story that's come out over the last few days: To try and combat congestion along roadways, Chinese transportation planners have developed a bus which is able to straddle cars and drive over them.

It's an intriguing system: Stations are actually on top of the straddle-buses, and doors open to reveal a staircase riders will descend to get into the bus. It runs along tracks, never switching lanes, and there seems to be some sort of warning system for cars driving underneath the bus. The video embedded below explains it a little better (although it is narrated in Chinese, it's still easy to see the idea behind it).

This is something I've dreamed about being able to do, while stuck in traffic: Having my wheels extend from the chassis of my car, and let me drive over the cars holding me back. (In fact, I think it's something Inspector Gadget was able to do with his vehicle.) But I'm not sure if it's really something that would work for Ottawa, or any Canadian city; construction of this system is going to begin in Beijing, a hugely dense city with a population almost two-thirds that of Canada. Still, an ingenuitive solution to a difficult problem. It will be interesting to see how well it works out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emergency exit only

I love this. A photo printed in the Ottawa Citizen last week, a few riders bailing out in the midst of insane traffic- and construction-related slowdowns. Obviously a little undesirable from an operator perspective, but I certainly can't blame any of these riders for making their own exit. I guess, depending how loosely you define it, this could be seen as a emergency...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2010 Election: Cullen on walking and cycling

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Walking, to most, is a natural extension of public transit: Although a bus or train can get you from near point A to near point B, you still walk a short distance (commonly referred to in the industry as the "last mile") to complete the route. Cullen sees that as an organic transition, and feels that by encouraging development around the transit system, walking becomes a
Walking ties in very nicely with the rapid transit plan, because we're encouraging more intensification along the rapid-transit route so people can walk to the LRT station, take the train, and walk to their place of work. We do have a pedestrian master plan to assist with that. One of our challenges, of course, is the weather: winter really interferes with pedestrian safety. We have more freeze-thaw cycles today than we did 20 years ago, because of the change in climate--Kingston's weather has now moved up here--so that's a challenge. But I see a symbiotic relationship between transit and walking.
Cycling, on the other hand, can take one of two roles in public transit: Either as start-to-finish transit form on its own, or as a complement to the bus- and train-based system. While serving as a city councillor, Cullen worked on a few different cycling projects, and he plans to continue working on them if elected mayor.
We have a cycling plan, which I had a hand in crafting, with $20M that we need to spend on this. I expect to see a pilot project for a winter-cleared lane, just to see how many cyclists we attract. Is that a good idea? You don't really know until you've tried it, but I think doing it as a pilot project, an east-west corridor ploughed in the winter, and if we have the takeup, we know it's a good idea; if we don't have the takeup, okay. We're back to what Montreal does: Montreal has dedicated cycling lanes with poles that they put in to demarcate the lane from the road, and then when the winter comes they take out the poles and use it for snow storage. And Montreal has much the same snow as we do, so that may be an option.
Whatever the city is able to do to promote (or even simply enable) cycling, Cullen sees that the growing popularity of the transportation method will lead to a change in the way the city manages roadways.
There is going to be competition for space. Obviously, you don't want cyclists' lanes to interfere with bus lanes, but you can't fit everybody on the same road. So some cars are going to have to cede space, either parking space or travel space, to permit dedicated bike lanes--whether it's on Somerset, or some other street. That's going to be a big cultural adjustment; the car has been king for so long. We do like to consider ourselves as a pro-cycling town, but we still have yards to go. The good news is that we are beginning to talk about dedicated cyclist lanes, whether it's Gladstone or Somerset or Wellington.

The status quo is going to change on cycling, and it's going to move towards providing more facilities. And it's the car that's going to have to make the concession.