Signs of cycling

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The new OTrain public pathway is open for cycling, with the added challenge of dodging leftover construction vehicles.

The path, even unfinished, is wonderful. And I am absolutely delighted to see the signage along the path. There are signs directing people towards the path, such as the one pictured above, on the Somerset Viaduct.

There are signs giving directions, so you know which way you are going:

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I do have one quibble, and feel guilty for saying it, instead of just being thankful we got the path. These signs are made using street name sign blanks. But they are rather crudely bolted onto a utility post. The backs are especially … utilitarian. Motorists get signs mounted on round poles. The NCC uses round poles for cycling signage:



Picky picky, I know, and I sort of regret biting the hand that is getting us such nice infrastructure. Things are improving. Cyclists will be accorded motorist-class treatment when paths are accorded the same quality standards as road signs.

GPS systems are the foundation of ever-more modern tools. They help us in wayfinding, they locate us for help when calling 9-1-1, they suggest where we can stop for coffee, icecream, or a pit stop when on the road. But public pathways are removed from this system.

If each of the lighting poles along the path was given a stick-on number, which could be logged as an address, then 9-1-1 geolocating would work, and your GPS could direct you to your destination the same way as it does for motorists. I suspect it will take some sort of “can’t find” public safety incident before that gets implemented.

On a more cheerful note, I also noticed the “yield” signs and directional signage are mounted at cyclist and pedestrian heights, easily visible. Too often, signs are mounted too high, designed to be seen from a greater distance by motorists and thus missed by those employing active transportation means.

Here is a snap from yesterday of a hybrid cyclist, riding on the sidewalk, balanced with a sack of groceries on each arm, leaving the Westboro Loblaws. Very brave. And a bit of what makes living on the west side so interesting.

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6 thoughts on “Signs of cycling

  1. I too have been riding it down to the river path on my commute, love it. Thanks Eric for keeping us up to date on the progress. I’d be totally thrilled if the Young Street to Dows’s Lake segment was its equal. But I’ll accept it’s a huge step forward.

  2. Eric, you’re being a bit modest here. You were the one who first raised the suggestion of putting in that tunnel as part of the Somerset work, and you pushed long and hard to get the tunnel—and the pathway—built. I know because I was there. Ron and Max had nothing but kudos for you when I chatted with them after the pathway opening. And it’s a great pathway!

    Congratulations and thank you, Eric!

  3. I will third it. But also wondering how you feel about the fact those wonderful new signs have a bike logo on them but not a pedestrian too? It is supposed to be a MULTI-user path.

    Wallace (member of Walk Ottawa steering committee AND a 3-season cyclist)

  4. Biked it yesterday and it was fantastic. One little hint if they plan on expanding it. There’s a gravel drive to City Centre Ave that means you can avoid going up to the Scott/Albert St bridge level before coming down again.

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