Navigating Albert-Scott (westbound)

People who drive westwards from the downtown using Albert and then Scott have big flashing traffic signs, painted arrows, and scrupulously scraped bare pavement. While the lane markings are new, the learning curve should be short. My only bugbear on this so far is the sudden merge of the two westbound traffic lanes around Brickhill Street (just before Good Companions).

People who cycle and people who walk face some more challenges. To RTG’s credit a few small ped directional signs have appeared near Bayview Station.

So maybe it is worthwhile to follow the route for people who walk or cycle westward. (Later, we’ll follow the route for those going eastwards to the downtown).

The tour de detour begins right by the RTG buildings on the Flats, immediately west of Bronson. As the picture below shows, the new ped and cycling connection from Laurier (a most useful connecting path, one that actually short cuts the road grid) joins us here:


At Brickhill Street, now cunningly disguised as a truck entrance to the Confederation Line tunnel dig site, we can see fresh landscaping along the curb. Fortunately, global warming may give the grass seed some time to start before Santa gets here:


I do notice with regret that the powers that be manage to repair the landscaping along the roads here, and on the Preston Extension, even if it is temporary, but not by the townhouses at the City Centre intersection. Landscaping where people actually live is being pushed out to fall 2016   fall 2017  fall 2018 because we are cheap  avoiding future landscape disturbances in subsequent phases. I’m sure it has nothing to do with catering to motorists whilst giving the finger to residents who still sport those “No Way” signs. City Hall does not have a tin ear, no sir.

As Albert nears Empress Avenue, we pass the transitway entrance, now in its dying days, due to be decommissioned and bulldozed starting January 19.

Past Empress, we can see the New Albert in all its multi-lane glory. And a short section without those fences ! Quelles horreurs ! (more on those, anon). For people who cycle or walk, the route is freshly paved, with crisp new yellow centre line, and little red stakes to guide the snowplowettes. Grass seed not included here, must be too close to where people live.


There is a muddy stretch at the intersection of Booth, and then another clean stretch to Preston Extension. It remains slightly hazardous to cross this intersection, once you beg for and get your walk light. Traffic moves fast, turns faster, and people who drive all look a bit startled when a ped appears in their way (ie, on the big honkin’ yet invisible crosswalk).

The multi-user pathway continues to City Centre Avenue, where a spanking new signalized intersection awaits. Alas, the light installation is temporary, but one can always hope it may become permanent in 2018.


Going up the hill towards the Bayview Station bus stops, the wide pathway now continues, rather than shrinking to a mini-sidewalk or dumping people who cycle in front of people who drive [too fast]. This picture is from a while back, when the pathway continuation wasn’t fully paved. Surely it is by now …


From the Bayview Station entrance pathway, the Albert MUP now follows the old walkway down towards the [old] OTrain platforms. Presumably it is OK to ride one’s bike down the slope:


At the bottom of the slope, head left to the new OTrain platforms and the Trillium pathway…


or head right along the pathway a hundred metres or so…


to find the new pathway that runs across Bayview Yards towards Merkley and Bayview Avenue. It’s been sitting out there fully paved and lit for a while now, but someday soon those construction gates will disappear.



I wonder if, late at night, one will hear whines and whimpers of the dogs formerly incarcerated at the spay neuter clinic that operated here for so many years.


above: view from Albert Street of the new path running parallel to the roads

At the Bayview road end of the path, it has a scenic curve in it, a feature of all the new pathway segments in this area, designed to slow down people who cycle, lest they careen wildly into people who walk, or dogs who walk their attendants. I can hear the whining now.


Amazing how concerned we are that people who cycle not cycle fast, because it is for their own safety, but people who speed waaaaaay too fast on Albert or Scott get flater, straighter, wider streets. For their own safety, of course.

At the Bayview end of the new path, I am disappointed to see we couldn’t afford the final 50′ of asphalt to connect to the pre-paved-in-brick area behind the sidewalk…


or out to the Bayview-Albert-Scott intersection…


Alas, grass seed was affordable, but not safety. Mustn’t take advantage of a spare lane in the underpass, even if the most expensive part of a separated path was in place we simply can’t find some spare asphalt for this, amongst the hundreds of truckloads etc etc.

That little bit of asphalt would have kept cyclists off the road, off the sidewalk, and not jumping the curb. But a dollar saved is another cyclist killed, and we will worry about time limits on the ghost bike later.

From that intersection, the newly repaved and modestly realigned Scott MUP continues westward. The new and improved path enjoys such features as the new speed-reducing-curves (for your safety !) and best-features-kept-from-before contorted approaches and street crossings in Mechanicsville and at Parkdale…


Better intersections were beyond this project’s budget, and better intersections won’t be in future budgets because then the pathway will be too new to change.

At Tunney’s Station, the former separated cycling zone (asphalt) and ped zone (concrete) and well marked crossing points (done in concrete) appear to be giving way to shared space, and I expect it will only be a matter of short time before “walk your bikes” signs appear, to be rigorously enforced at 8am on summer Sunday mornings when there are no sleepy civil servants zomby-ing around the platforms.

Overall, the new pathway connections for west bound people on foot or bike is an almost-continuous, almost-always dry, almost-straight pathway from downtown to Tunney’s. Eeek, almost like the much-disparaged BikeWest concept.

Except for the jog by the old OTrain platforms, the route is intuitive and easy to follow. Best of all, it totally eliminates the need to ride on Albert where it goes up and over the OTrain tracks at Bayview Station. Traffic there continues to be horribly fast, the curbside space too small for even the most dedicated gutter bunnies, and soon to be much much more dangerous with the introduction of 2500 buses a day.

All segments of the above described paths will be plowed and lit at night, and kept open during Bayview Station construction starting in spring, 2016 and running through to fall 2017.

Tomorrow: going my way, ie east