The City has pronounced itself regarding the replacement of the Queensway overpass at the OTrain / Trillium corridor.
The existing east side pathway will get an underpass for people who walk or cycle. As for the west side, the City says:
It is deemed to be a longer-term project (post 2031) and therefore is not included in the City’s current affordable plan. It should be noted that this west-side MUP could provide localized circulation benefits even if there were not to be a direct connection beneath the Queensway bridge. Communities on the west side can still conveniently access the east-side MUP at several crossings of the O-Train corridor such as Gladstone, Young (footbridge), Beech, and Hickory (new footbridge under construction).
You may recall that the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) proposes rebuilding the Qway bridge over the OTrain corridor to be like this:
Apparently, the “ballpark” cost of extending the bridge over a path on the west side side would be 2 to 3 million dollars. (A more accurate costing is apparently in the works). The City doesn’t want to pay for that. So it will go for no underpass now, and reassess the situation in 2031.
Will anyone be surprised if it costs much more tunnel under an existing Qway embankment at that time? So much more that it will cost-prohibitive?
There is no word on whether the City would be interested in a cheaper box tunnel on the west side, similar to the Somerset underpass. Such a structure would allow people who use the path to decide which route to take, depending on their circumstances and bravery.
That the City could propose missing this opportunity isn’t shocking. Disappointing, but not shocking. After all, the previous east-side path was started in 1962, and despite three completed underpasses (at Qway, Albert, and Ottawa River Parkway) couldn’t muster the effort to fix the “missing link” at Somerset for 42 years, despite several cycles of rebuilding the Somerset viaduct (in the 1960’s, 1980’s, and 2010’s).
Similarly, where Carling overpasses the OTrain, the bridges will someday have to be replaced in order to double-track the OTrain. I repeatedly asked that the Carling plans, the Preston-Carling CDP and Secondary Plan, The City Cycling plan, et al, include a “future link” path through the underpass for people who walk and people who cycle and people accessing the Carling OTrain station, and it was consistently turned down. One commonly cited reason is that the cycling plan doesn’t call for an underpass. It doesn’t call for an underpass … because there is no short term plan to replace the bridges. And the bridges cannot be designed to include a path unless the need is identified. Circular thinking at its best. Note, however, the City could and did include an “conceptual” extension of Sherwood through the Federal Lands to connect to Prince of Wales to better direct car traffic to the Qway at Holland. Apparently some conceptual links are easier to conceive of than others.
Back when the first phase of the Otrain / Trillium pathway was being designed (from Ottawa River to Young) I suggested to the City that they dump five truckloads of stonedust on the west side of the OTrain cut, and the community would spread the stuff to make a cinder path under the Queensway. A de facto path, if not quite de jure.
The City couldn’t afford the stonedust.
In related matters, the City is holding an open house on this Saturday, between 3.30 and 5pm, at the Plant Rec Centre, to unveil its design for the pathway from Young to Carling. Apparently, the asphalt surfacing is gone (stonedust only) except for the already-paved little bit from Hickory to Carling (right at the Carling OTrain Station). It will be interesting to find out why the budget, which just last fall included asphalt, can no longer afford pavement.
And the summer completion date is being pushed back.