Preston “extension” bike path going, going … gone

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The Preston Extension (shown above),  the leftover bit of pavement that runs north from the Preston-Albert intersection, that takes cyclists out to the Aqueduct bike path (now remediated into a pit) and eventually the  Sir John A Mcdonald (JAM?)  Path, is due to be closed this spring.

It won’t reopen in a hurry. The surrounding brownfields will be remediated. For a clue as to what that will look like, examine the Damascas-like terrain out by the War Museum. Then the Confederation Line LRT track will replace the transitway. It will be bordered on both sides with six-foot chain link fences. No overpasses.

There might be a two year respite in the middle, though, if the LRT contractor decides to use the Preston Extension as a detour route around the Booth-LeBreton construction site. But that detour won’t include an overpass, and is “throw away” infrastructure to be removed once Booth reopens.

This week, the NCC closed the section of the bike path running north from the transitway:

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Here’s the sign:

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And bizarrely, there is a City sign advising people to use the OTrain multi-user path that runs between Bayview Station and the Parkway near the Prince of Wales railway bridge. Unfortunately, that path isn’t yet open. And the sign faces the wrong way, and is located at the Preston-transitway closure point rather than well before cyclists and peds get halfway across the Flats:

feb-march 2013 041I think that wavey thingy below the Ottawa wordmark is supposed to be transportation infrastructure, but it always makes me wonder what obscure third-world country’s flag it might be.

All is not lost, though, as the OTrain MUP opens May 8th . Cyclists are a tough lot, and many are using the OTrain MUP pathway now.  Never let a few concrete barricades or high fences get in the way of cyclists, pedestrians, or dog walkers. Others are getting around the NCC closure of the Preston extension by deking around the west side of the fence:

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Maybe, if we are lucky, the city will move their sign to a more useful location for the opening of the pathway.


3 thoughts on “Preston “extension” bike path going, going … gone

  1. Is it official that the LRT will have 6ft chain link fence on either side? When they were talking about putting the LRT on the parkway they always said it didn’t mean there was going to be a chain link fence blocking the neighbourhood from the river.

  2. the folks planning the ORP section was Delcan, they of the no-fence-required school. The downtown section is planned by someone else, they of the of-course-it-will-be-fenced-for-your-safety school. Most recently, I heard that the section east of Tunney’s will be fenced because it has so much more traffic than the section west of Tunney’s (many trains from the east will stop at Tunney’s and return east…). Being an optimist, I think it best to whine and carp about the worst case scenario, since that is what we are likely to get.

    1. Preston is supposed to go over the Confed Line eventually (the line drops really fast from Bayview), so the path system would be replaced with streets anyway. But yes, in the “interim” (which could be a decade or more depending on how and when the Preston extension is built), pedestrian and cyclist mobility will be impaired in this area.

      I very much doubt that there will be much, if any, difference in train numbers east and west of Tunney’s once the line is extended to Lincoln Fields and Baseline. The projected ridership numbers I’ve seen have ridership either side of downtown being fairly similar. What actually messes things up is bringing people from Riverside South into downtown via the O-Train corridor rather than via Hurdman by the Southeast Transitway. If there is an imbalance in trains east and west of Tunney’s, that will be the likely cause, but that won’t be the case for quite some time until Riverside South builds out and the City extends some kind of rail service to it.

      The only other wrinkle is how interprovincial transit is eventually handled. The NCC looks to be leaning towards establishing a second rail corridor through downtown Ottawa, possibly even on the surface (gee, if we had done our planning we could have built that first for the Ottawa system and then tunnelled later once ridership grew enough, then turn the surface system over to serving Gatineau and possibly the Carling line…). But since the powers-that-be ‘à l’autre bord’ have decided on repeating Ottawa’s mistakes from thirty years ago, we’ll probably not “need” additional rail capacity in downtown Ottawa for a few decades – instead we’ll just continue to get bus jams that are blue and white instead of red and white.

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