The City deserves congratulations and praise for its construction of the OTrain MUP running from the Ottawa River to Bayview Station to Somerset Street to Gladstone to Young. The path is wide and straight and well-landscaped. Alas, it may be months more before it is opened.
At its south end, Young Street, the new OTrain multi-user path joins the 1963 stone dust path that runs to Carling and then to the Prince of Wales. Here’s the joining point, looking from Young Street southwards:
Until a few years ago the stonedust pathway was very usable, and attractive in the summer:
But the last few years have seen lots of City work crews using the path as a service road, a sort of Dark-inspired mews. The result is it is now a muddy mess:
above: some damp zones are generously sized. The house on the left is boarded up. Taggart wants to build a 18 storey apartment building there; the City is considering nine stories, the neighbours of course want four or five.
above: walking on the grass to skirt wet spots
above: not quite the same standards as the new MUP
I listened carefully at the recent Citizens for Safe Cycling spring event for the NCC (who may own this section of right of way) to anounce they would rebuild the path to match the city’s section, but they didn’t. Nor did they promise any gravel or to top up the stonedust.
Inquiries to the city yield conflicting replies as to who owns the path, the City or the NCC. I do hope one of them can spot a few truck loads of stonedust to make the path a usable surface again. Hopefully without a few hundred thousand dollars of consulting reports beforehand, you know, to identify the problem, scope it out, consider alternatives, and recommend a course of action (which will include more consulting, of course).
The stonedust path also crosses Beech Street in a most unfortunate alignment. There is of course no curb cut, why on earth would cyclists want one of those? Surely they would be overjoyed to hop off their bikes, carry them over the curb, walk across the street, lift over the curb, and cycle blissfully onwards? And detouring east on the sidewalk to the next curb cut dumps the cyclist on the road surface without a corresponding curb cut on the other side. Recipe for disaster.
Making a curb cut here should be an easy fix. But it isn’t. This is Ottawa. Apparently it is bad planning practice to “end” a MUP at a road without some sort of traffic control device. Has one been selected yet? Or budgeted for? Maybe a traffic signal for fifty or a hundred thou? After a needs study, of course. Until then, we can look forward to a sign advising cyclists to dismount and carry their steeds across the street. Or am I too pessimistic?
There are some other issues on this section of path. A short section is paved with a narrow asphalt footpath accessing the Carling OTrain Station. Oh oh: conflict ! There is no curb cut(s) or signals to cross Carling to get to the Prince of Wales. And no signal there either.
Somehow bike paths are becoming huge projects with road-like budgets. But not yet built to road-like standards, since the new MUP is designed to have water drain over the top of the pathway rather than away from the path. Should be fun for fall-winter-spring cyclists.