Archive for the ‘Wm Bennett Bridge’ Category

Guest Post re: new William Bennett Bridge

April 29, 2008


I was recently in Ottawa/Gatineau and had the pleasure of walking across the Alexandra Bridge twice a day for 5 days. I think the bike/walking lane of this bridge will be somewhat similar to the planned 3 metre space for the William Bennett Bridge in Kelowna.

The Alexandra Bridge spans the Ottawa River and links major roads as well as the beautiful bike/walking paths of both shores of the river. There are major and multiple attractions immediately on both sides of the bridge (parliament buildings, multiple museums, shopping complexes, daily farmers/craft market, big workforce, Rideau canal paths, university only about 4? km away, etc). With unseasonably warm temperatures in mid-April, tourists, walkers, runners, and self-powered commuters were everywhere.

Here is a picture (above) of their pedestrian/bike lanes. As with the Billy Bridge, the walking/cycling traffic for both directions is oriented on only one side of the bridge. This view is taken from the Ottawa side, heading to Gatineau, with traffic flow similar to going from Kelowna to the Westside.

The pedestrians walk in both directions in a single lane on the water side indicated by the white line (you can see in the picture that one pedestrian has wandered into the bike lane). The bike lane is divided and marked for 2 directions of cycling traffic with a clear barrier between road traffic and cycling.

I wish I had a tape measure, but I estimated that the 2 bike lanes were about 1 metre or slightly less each, and the walking lane was just short of 2 metres, for a total of what I think was 3.5 – 4 metres. All the lanes were well-used, never empty, and traffic flowed well. Bike bells were occasionally used to warn the many pedestrians that had wandered into the bike lane.

At just 3 metres, the Billy Bridge walking/bike lanes will fall slightly short of the Alexandra Bridge design (if I am correct that it was close to 4 metres), but considering that our pedestrian/biking traffic is relatively very low, and that we have minimal attractions on the immediate Westside, and only moderate attractions on the immediate eastside compared to Ottawa/Gatineau, I think the 3 metres for Kelowna might actually work well if lanes are clearly delineated and signed. Fingers crossed.