Cyclopiste de Preston (i): Cycle Path along the Otrain Corridor

The Carling-Bayview community design plan calls for a bike path along the Otrain corridor. So does the City’s official cycling plan.

Parts of the path were built in the early 1960’s when the NCC removed the street-level railway tracks and consolidated them into the new “cut” dug from Carleton U to Bayview, where the Otrain now runs, and the furture southwest LRT lines will run. The path has trees on both sides (moreso on the rail cut side) and a variety of views into back yards and small industries along the Preston side of the path. These walking and cycling path sections are remarkably nice, and largely unknown:

                            Existing cycle path; Otrain cut is to the right, Carling in the distance.

The corridor ends at Young Street, even though there is a right of way under the Qway to Gladstone. But the big impediment to continuing the path north of Gladstone to Albert Street, Bayview station, and the Ottawa River pathways, has been how to get by Somerset Street, which is high up on an earthen embankment called the Viaduct.

As part of the Somerset reconstruction process, road works are supposed to be implemented to permit other bits of the official plan to go ahead. In this case, there should be an underpass put under Somerset during the reconstruction of Somerset process to permit the cycling and walking path to be completed

The new cycling underpass would be separate, to the left of the Otrain underpass. This view from the upper (west) deck of the City Centre complex

. The project engineers (Delcan) have confirmed there is room for an underpass similar to this one under the Champlain Bridge (although it would be under a higher road than shown):

The reconstruction of Somerset having been in the works for years … and the sections connecting to West Wellie largely completed after two years of digging …   the city realized that the Otrain underpass was coming up. So now, with road construction starting next month, the City is dealing with the cycling issue. Apparently, the city has extended the Delcan contract, so they are doing the detailed feasibility study for the underpass, how to access it, and bike route location on either side of the underpass.
If the city build the ped-cycling path behind the City Centre complex, it would probably come out at the intersection of Albert/City Centre Dr (shown) until the LRT Bayview Station is completed in 2018 and then it could be extended to join BikeWest along Albert/Scott, and  the Ottawa River pathways.
The city has not committed to actually installing the underpass in 2010-11 during the Somerset reconstruction process. Next time you see your councilor,
tell him/her you want the Somerset underpass built now, not in some far off future date when we are all dead. Or email your councilor.