The City of Ottawa, Canada’s capital, wanted to improve cycling conditions on Main Street and its side street Lees Avenue. As Ottawa holds innovative Dutch design high, it had asked Delcan and Mobycon to come up with preliminary designs.


Our role was that of an expert reviewer. Mobycon reviewed the roadway from Colonel By Drive at the north end down to the George McIlgraith Bridge at the south end. We modified the design according to Canadian complete street concepts, updated by high standing Dutch traffic safety principles.

This included handling of bike racks, cycle tracks, right of way for cyclists at side streets, continuity of the cycling route and providing enough space for pedestrians and options for green boulevards.

Mobycon looked into traffic light controlled intersections, the removal of slip lanes and safe roundabout design forms. We reviewed the preliminary design made by the main contractor in several stages, from more abstract to concrete street details.

wider side walks at the retail area
Wider side walks at the retail area

In designing for cycling, it is important to look to logical routes or desire lines. Cyclists tend to use the most direct route, therefore an indirect route could lead to unexpected crossing locations of cyclists. With this in mind, we looked at the proposed plan, cross-section, and alternative intersection treatments.

Modified intersection with former slip lanes removed
Modified intersection with former slip lanes removed (the tire tracks belong to the contractor)

At intersections, we proposed the common Dutch solution to lead cyclists off the road to a separated cycle track, crossing with a dedicated cycle crossing in the same phase as when pedestrians cross the road. This leads to a higher quality design than regular complete street or NACTO designs.

Bike box for left turning cycling traffic and clear green cross rides
Bike box for left turning cycling traffic and clear green cross rides. Note the bike path runs in front of the bus stop

The result of our input and cooperation with the main contractor is an innovative, high quality transport route for cars, cyclists and pedestrians which draws kudos from across Canada.