I do occasionally get out of my WestSide stomping grounds. A recent trip took me to the near East Side where I had the opportunity to use the new Coventry bridge for people who walk and people who cycle, over the Queensway. It’s also useful to look at it in light of the similar proposed Queensview bridge.
I took the transitway to the Tremblay Station (in the hole in front of VIA Rail Station). The formerly landscaped slopes around it have been clearcut for construction starting later this year of the realigned roadbed and new Confederation LRT Line station location a bit further west than the current station.
Coming up the stairs to ground level OC Transpo had one of those useful detailed local area maps that shows what is nearby. Alas, the Coventry Bridge is not shown. But the OC Transpo Trip Planner did show it open, so we went looking for it.
First, I headed north, across the transitway via the red ped bridge. Alas, on the north side there is only access down to the westbound platforms … even though a 100 feet beyond the glass pane was the start of the Coventry Bridge. You can’t get there from here.
Trudge back across the red bridge, step out onto the sidewalk in front of the VIA Station, which has a very Big City look and feel, what with all those lanes of traffic (more than at the airport?) bringing in passengers (we hope).
I elected to follow the sidewalk to my right (there was no sign) which seemed promising but after about 60′ it suddenly dies, no curb cut, no crosswalk, nothing, just jump down off the curb onto the curved road and wind through the lineup of taxis. But the bridge was in sight !
Climbing the steps, looking back, this is the view:
There was a lengthy paperclip ramp off to the right.
The bridge itself was wonderful. Glass walls block out Queensway noise and fumes.There is a roof to keep one dry from precipitation and the wall of spray that defines the freeway. It is a huge improvement over walking over the Queensway on those 1960-era road overpasses.
Not that the freeway was very free that early Saturday evening:
At the derrière-end of the baseball stadium, there is another set of stairs and a paper clip ramp. One definitely felt a sense of arriving at the back door, the service entrance, the bleak side of the building. It was more than slightly foreboding.
Looking back towards the ramp from the parking lot that serves as the back of the Marriott Hotel and front of the baseball stadium:
The arrival point was definitely underwhelming. I know it was desolate April with no vegetation, and the area isn’t finished, but but but …
It was not apparent which way one was to go, so I headed diagonally off towards the Marriott convention centre or whatever it is. Don’t look back:
Indeed, don’t look forward, because the Marriott has a very unfriendly back side – no doors, no trees, no landscaping, no sidewalk, no nothing, ‘cept asphalt:
So, perhaps it is unfair to complain about what it looks like today, given that it is all very brand new, and the landscaping isn’t finished, and there is no signage, and it isn’t readily apparent which way one should go or would want to go.
So let’s look at the plans for … the world tomorrow.