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.