The O-Train bike path

For some time the City has been working on a multi-user path — MUP — (aka “bike path”) from the Ottawa River beside the Prince of Wales Bridge, south to the Bayview Station O-train platform, then south behind City Centre to the new underpass under Somerset Street, then slightly uphill to an at-grade crossing of Gladstone, thence behind the City signals yard, St Anthony Soccer Club parking lot, under the Qway, and joining the existing NCC path along the east side of the OTrain cut right to Carling Station. The reconstruction plan for Carling includes a signalized crossing of Carling for the MUP.

At a recent public advisory committee review of the project, I was left feeling that this path is on course to become a great cycling and walking facility. I am seldom so confident that the consultants and City have got it right.

The path provides a great “missing link” allowing recreational cyclists to do a Ottawa river-Dows Lake-QE Driveway loop. It connects up to the Arboretum paths to Carleton, Mooney’s Bay, and numerous links south and west. It will be attractive to  commuter, utility, and recreational cyclists.

The path is to be lit with path-scaled lighting fixtures from Bayview to the Queensway. The area north of Bayview Station will be unlit, in keeping with the parkway visible night sky design features. All elements of the plan have been reviewed to ensure the design promotes safety, especially in the underpasses and wooded areas.  There will be a few full pull-off spots for users to sit on stone benches (like along the pathway behind the National Archives building and Parliament). Connections are planned to Somerset, Gladstone, Louisa, and Young.

A lot of fencing along the OTrain has to relocated to divy up the space suitable for the bike path and the OTrain maintenance ( and eventual double tracking of the OTrain). While the corridor is narrow in some spots, in others it opens up to generous large areas suitable for recreation and dog walking. These areas are to graded and seeded. New trees are planned, including some flowering trees.

Of course, the road to construction still has some bumps. Construction tenders have to come within budget, or some elements delayed to bring it within budget. The PAC advised the City about which elements that we considered essential and which could be delayed. And the bureaucrats are busy ensuring the path meets all the minutiae of the provincial and other standards, rules, and regulations.

If all goes well, construction will begin in July for completion in December of this year.

14 thoughts on “The O-Train bike path

  1. That is great news! We use the path regularly. The section from Carling Ave to Beech is wide and the dog walkers, O-train go-ers and everyone else that use it are very friendly – people say hi to one another as they walk along it.

  2. Yay! I just hope moving the fence and widening the O-train cut will not mean the trees along the path will be cut.

  3. Well yes, trees will be cut. The City is nothing if not bureaucratic, so nice high standards are being set for cyclist safety, including keeping trees well back from the path in case you lose control and cycle off the path, And overhead branches must be removed so the light will shine in and extremely tall cyclists standing on their pedals won’t knock off their hats, etc. And lots of trees will be lost for the bike path south of Somerset, both due to the regrading of the slope and to get the big equipment in to lay the route. But some new tree planting is also being planned. Plus, some of your neighbours will be in there guerilla gardening and tree planting.
    All this, before we get to the OTrain widening. Previously, the rail folks insisted we draw and line upwards at 45 degrees from each rail, and remove every branch, shrub, or tree in this zone so if it fell it wouldn’t land on the track. This would eliminate ALL trees above the OTrain cut. I keep asking if that goes for the new LRT, since their artist impressions always show trees nearby, but never get an answer.Do you recall the rather severe “prunning” done along the cut last year??

  4. Eric:
    Any sense of how they plan to handle the existing grade separation at POW bridge?

    1. Yes. The underpass under the ORP has to be left wide enough for a double ttrack train. So the eastern armoured slope will be cut back and replaced by a retaining wall topped with a chain link fence for security (from vagabonds, etc) and the path will go very close by the supporting pillars. Once on the north side of the ORP, on the steep downward slope, it will split in two segments. One, going east, parallelling the existing bike path along the river, and slowly and gently gliding down to join it a 100m or whatever east of the bridge. This will require removing a number of trees, twice as many will be planted. Also, there will be a straight down the slope path, at about a 10 degree slope, as it is felt that some riders will go straight down the slope anyway so might as well pave it. If anyone has seen summer adventures where teens ride bikes down the grass slope and project themselves into the river, this will greatly facilitate that.

      1. Hmm. I think it will also facilitate unpleasant interactions between cyclists/runners travelling east under the POW who will be in a sudden meeting with folks engaged in a hard to control descent of that 10 degree down slope.

    1. Where is that Matt?
      There is no grade separation at the cutoff for Preston St (the old pathway alignment) and there is no grade separation at Lemieux Island.

    2. Unless I miss my guess, Matt probably means at the foot of the Bronson Tailrace where two paths meet.

  5. Will there be a connection from the pathway to Somerset St, or will it just pass under Somerset?

  6. Yes, it will definitely pass under Somerset using the new underpass. The plans show a staircase on the north side of the street desceding from Somerset to the path; and a cyclable /wheelchairable / parambulatorable slope on the south, plus a “short cut” staircase. Whether all of these elements get built this year depends on the bids from contractors. Some elements might be shifted to a second phase to complete the access. The advisory committee to the project emphasized building and lighting the whole length of the path in the first phase, with finishing details to follow.

    1. Cool- I knew about the underpass, obviously, but I hadn’t heard that there would be a stairway/pathway connection to street level. Thanks for the info.

  7. Any idea how it’s supposed to cross Gladstone? Oh and thanks for the Blog I just came across it and really. Enjoy reading it.

    1. The path ascends from the lowest point at Somerset, gently upslope to arrive at the Gladstone curb right beside the billboard that is already there. There will be a signalized intersection, then a curb cut on the south side of Gladstone as the path continues south through the bushes, the St Anthony rear yard, and under the Qway using the existing underpass.

      Glad you are reading the blog. Feel free to go back in read past posts, you might find something really relevant.

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