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.

4 thoughts on “Cyclopiste de Preston (i): Cycle Path along the Otrain Corridor

  1. Emailed councillor – thanks for the heads up on this. I live near Merivale and work downtown and would love a better cycle route!

  2. They (the city?) just cut down many of the trees on the right hand side of your first photo. Maybe they thought the trees could break and fall onto the otrain track? The roots were no doubt what was holding the soil on the steep slope from falling down there, though.If Somerset is a problem for a few years, why not extend the path to Gladstone, in the meantime? That would be a lot more useful than having it end at Young. I'd really like to see the whole thing done though!

  3. Thanks for the information. I've always been put out when I follow that path to find that it ends at Young. I just emailed this to my Coucilor:Dear Diane Holmes,I am a resident of the Somerset Ward. I am emailing to ask that during the reconstruction of the Somerset Bridge, an underpass be built for cyclists. Not only would such an underpass be excellent to promote cycling down to Little Italy for a gelato or to enjoy a restaurant patio, but it would also encourage residents and workers in the area to use a 'Rack and Roll' connection with the Transitway. I have commuted out to Kanata in the past this way, but always found cycling down Preston to Bayview to be a little unnerving.Thank you for your attention,Megan H.

  4. Hey Eric – just wanted to say thanks for the post on your blog on this… I emailed my councillor and she sounds positive (see below)Great blog by the way… Always good stuff. Keep it up. Scott(from letter to Councillor McRae: I understand that the City hasn't yet committed to putting in cycle/pedestrian underpasses along the O-train corridor as part of the Somerset reconstruction.The City's official biking plan calls for a bike path along the O-train corridor. Part of it is in place, but it's kind of a road to nowhere – it dead ends mostly because there is no pedestrian/cycle underpass under Somerset. There is space for the path, as confirmed by the project engineers, and road works are supposed to permit other parts of the official plan to go ahead as part of the Somerset reconstruction process.I live in River ward and work downtown – I would greatly support an improved north/south cycling route towards downtown. We are very lucky in Ottawa to have some great cycling routes, but we're lacking a good north/south route on the west end of downtown.We have a good opportunity to get this underpass in while Somerset is being reconstructed, instead of trying to figure it out how to do it after the fact. Please support this. ThanksScott(her reply:) Thank you for your e-mail. I have made an inquiry with staff and will get back to you when I have more info. Your comments make sense – let's see what staff have to say.With regards,

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