It doesn’t have the glam or excitement of the big river crossings of the Somerset-Donald connection through Strathcona Park; nor the curvilinear crossing of the Canal at Fifth near Lansdowne Park. But for West Side residents and cycle commuters, news of the Hickory Street bridge is very welcome.
It goes to Transportation Committee on Tuesday for approval; but it probably was already included in the 2013 budget approved last week. The Hickory Street bridge goes over the OTrain cut just north of Carling Avenue. It connects the next-to-be-reconstructed-by-the-NCC multi-user path (MUP) on the east side of the cut, with the coming-in-2014 MUP on the west side of the cut, which will be provided by the condo developers. These paths are continuations of the OTrain path now nearing completion, that runs from the Ottawa River to Young Street (by the Queensway).
And the condo developers nearby are not innocent bystanders. They are being dinged assessments to “contribute” to the Hickory Bridge cost. They have already paid $102,000 of an expected $700,000 contribution. This has made them interested parties in the bridge, plus they eagerly want the bridge to flaunt in their condo brochures since it connects the Champagne Avenue condomania land with the coveted Preston main street vibe.
Today, the Hickory Bridge is pretty much a string of happy news stories. The department has come up with a really nice recommended design.
You may recall that the previous design was an econobox, similar in scale and width to the existing other MUP bridge at Young Street. The econobox was to cost between 1/2 and 1 million dollars. But it was narrow, too narrow for the variety and volume of expected users. It probably would have had chain link sides. Neither the residential community, the cyclist community, the Preston BIA, nor the developers was thrilled. That was way back in October.
What a difference a month makes. The new design is very appealing:
The previous designs were for a roughly 3m wide travelling surface. The community asked for 7m, similar to the Corkstown Bridge. The City has come back with a 5m wide path on a structure that is 6m wide in total.
The new design also makes it easier to integrate the safety railings and mesh on the sides into the structure.
In a major surprise, the bridge construction has been brought forward to 2013, to coincide with the OTrain shutdown from March to September, when portions of the line are to be double-tracked, and six new train sets arrive, in order to offer 8 minute service instead of the current 15 minute frequency.
The new bridge design comes at a higher cost:
but with the OTrain closed down, the flagging cost should be reduced.
Here is a birds-eye view of where the bridge is to be located:
Notice the number of condo projects proposed: on the west side, four buildings at 853 Carling; two at 125 Hickory (construction has begun); 2 at 101 Champagne; nearing completion at 100 Champagne; and two office towers and two condo towers (all occupied) just to the west of 855 Carling.
On the east side of the tracks, are 500 Preston (Soho Italia) and 505 is Claridge Icon at 40+ stories. Right at the end of the fat green arrow, at 95 Norman, is another condo tower currently subject of some controversy. And there are more sites in play every day.
Here’s an overhead view of the bridge, which when built spans one OTrain track but which is designed to span both tracks when the OTrain is double tracked in this area.
As part of the on-going Bayview-Carling CDP, Adeline Street might see its commercial importance upgraded due to the expected heavy pedestrian and cyclist volumes expected and the difficulty in introducing storefronts along Carling.
Overall, the Hickory-Adeline bridge seems to be a good news story for west side residents, employees at CMPA and NRCan, and cyclists.