Readers may recall the brief brou-ha-ha in late June and early July, when the gate at the north end of Preston street was unexpectedly closed and locked. You can read about it here: http://westsideaction.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/popular-bike-and-ped-route-locked-shut/#comments (when you get to the link, scroll up a bit to read the post, and down a bit to see the commentary). See also http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Shortcut+river+locked/5038541/story.html
To recap, there is a paved bit of ‘closed’ road running north from Preston and Albert to a legal crossing of the transitway and then connections to the Ottawa River pathway network. It is popular with people walking to work, cycling, walking dogs, etc. Alternative connections to the riverfront lands are much lengthier and unfriendly to cyclists or pedestrians.
Here is what the gate looks like today:
The cyclist in the background has just crossed the transitway at the legal crossing, and ridden up to the Albert Bikewest path at Preston only to discover the gate is closed and locked, and he must return and recross the transitway.
Here’s what the NCC had to say a little while ago about the route:
Cc: “Lemay, Marie” email@example.com>
This message is sent on behalf of Jean-François Trépanier, Executive
Vice-President, Operations, of the National Capital Commission.
Dear [local resident who complained]
Thank you for your e-mail of July 4, 2011, addressed to Marie Lemay,
Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission (NCC),
regarding the temporary closure of an informal path leading north from
I am pleased to inform you that the informal path has since then been
reopened for access by pedestrians and cyclists. The informal path was
temporarily closed for 24 hours due to recent illegal motor vehicle
access. Barricades currently remain in place to ensure that there is
no access for motor vehicle traffic. As well, during Bluesfest, a
National Capital Commission (NCC) Conservation vehicle remained onsite
to further discourage illegal parking.
Bluesfest organizers also contributed to safe pedestrian crossing
during Bluesfest hours by installing temporary tower lights at the OC
Transpo crossing and staff were on hand to assist users.
Once again, thank you for sharing your concerns wit the NCC.
Michelle Comeau, B.Sc., B.ED.
Senior Vice-President / Vice-présidente principale
Environment, Capital Lands and Parks Branch /
Direction de l’Environnement, des terrains et parcs de la capitale
Now that letter doesn’t actually contain the words “we promise to keep the route open”, but it does allay our protests by calling the previous closure temporary, and saying it has been reopened for pedestrians and cyclists.
But, alas, it seems it was only open long enough to fabricate a large metal box, now welded to the frame of the gate, enclosing the lock and chain, so that it can’t be cut off by irate citizens:
Irritated users of this popular path, which has no record of safety issues, might wish to let their wishes be known to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personally, I don’t know if this is just a case of a lawyer off the leash who thinks that anything that isn’t officially open must be locked up; or if it is a plot between OCTranspo and the NCC to cut off the route. Choose your villains, there’s plenty of villainy to go around. Ironically, the city put up signs this week making the path along Albert (from where these pictures were taken) a signed city bike route.