Transportation Committee approves Otrain corridor bike path

Transportation Committee today approved a series of bike route improvements for 2011. There are five off-road paths that were approved:

  • The Otrain corridor linking the  Ottawa River paths near Bayview Station south to Carling Avenue and Prince of Wales Drive
  • Rideau River western pathway from Belmont to UofO Lees Campus
  • Sawmill Creek, Brookfield to Walkley
  • Hampton Park pathway from Sebring to Island Park/Merivale
  • Aviation Pathway, Innis to Prescott-Russell rail corridor pathway

The projects were approved unanimously by the committee, and go to full Council on Wednesday, to be included in the 2011 budget. Of course, they could still be cut back at the final budget stage, but the situation right now is promising.

The Otrain corridor pathway starts at the NCC Ottawa River pathway at the foot of the Prince of Wales bridge. It will go through the Otrain station then south to Somerset. It will pass under Somerset in a new underpass  being installed there as part of the 2011-12 reconstruction of Somerset Street.  From there, it rises up gently to cross Gladstone at grade. South of Gladstone it passes through a wooded area, the St Anthony parking lot, and uses existing underpasses under the Qway. From there south, it is merely a matter of widening the existing cinder path (shown in picture above). At Carling, there would be a crossing signal installed (someday, if the LRT underpass is widened/replaced, it would be great to get a cycling underpass under Carling). Somehow, the path continues to Prince of Wales where cyclists can use the on-road lane, go south through the arboretum paths, or east on the Dows Lake paths. Total cost is expected to be around 3.2 million, about half of which is for the underpass & connections at Somerset.

The Preston BIA is excited about the path as a means of bringing additional customers and tourists to Preston Street – it is a joy to see a business group encouraging cycling and seeing cyclists as customers as opposed to being nuisances. I did a series of posts earlier this year under the title Cyclopiste de Preston, which you can see by using the search button. Those posts covered the route and some of the issues.

I hope the city will hold public consultations early in the draft plan stage before the details get locked down. The community association, BIA, cycling groups, ped groups, will all have wishes to be accommodated to make this a successful multi-purpose path (all city cycling paths are multipurpose paths). Key items will include street crossing signals, grades, lighting, and tree thinning (parts of the route feel isolated today … but with rapid redevelopment going on, the path will soon be very urban).

11 thoughts on “Transportation Committee approves Otrain corridor bike path

  1. Awesome. It’ll be great to have another north/south route downtown! Thanks for your lobbying on this Eric.

  2. I ride this path to Gladstone everyday coming home from work. It will be great to have it upgraded to a real cycling route!

  3. A connection is planned at Somerset, as that is a current contender for east-west cycling route. On the south side, there will be a ramp from sidewalk to path. On the north side, a staircase is being considered, but it is high (may discourage use) and expensive. Presumably there will be local consultation part way through the planning process.

  4. This is all great news!

    Congrats on this milestone for the cyclopiste de preston.

    A proper connection from Windsor Park, to Brantwood Park to where the West-side Rideau River path currently ends at the old rail bridge near Lees-Hurdman is also long overdue.

    I wonder if we could get a crosswalk for the Island Park Queensway off-ramp as part of the “Hampton Park pathway from Sebring to Island Park/Merivale” project? It’s crazy to me that there’s a full signalized intersection for the (ostensibly) slow 40kph traffic on Island Park, but the Queensway offrampers who are supposed to be coming to a yield point to the 40kph traffic on Island Park *cannot* be slowed down for a crosswalk at that same intersection…

  5. A long, long time ago, (it seems) I was reading the David Collenette report and recommendations for transit in Ottawa and one of the ideas tossed around was building a “Gladstone Station” on the present O-train line. It seems to me with Gladstone/Preston being such an important intersection in Little Italy, this would be a no-brainer. What ever happened to this idea? Would the bike path along the O-train corridor tie into this as well?

    1. David – the Gladstone station was to be built as part of the North-South LRT project that was cancelled in 2006. There was an offer from a developer (who built the buildings next to the Xerox building) to build this station, but the City dropped the ball. As it stands now, there won’t be any new station there for quite some time.

  6. I see, thanks for the clarification. I do recall the Collenette Report also listed a Gladstone Station among its recommendations. If the viaduct at Somerset is going to accomodate an underpass for the bike trail with access to the street, I wonder if Somerset will be favoured instead of Gladstone for a station in between Bayview and Carling. I don’t mean to hijack this thread which was originally about the bike path but I would be curious to see which street – Galdstone or Somerset would be preferablt IF…IF another station was to be built. It seems to me that the O-train corridor is significantly closer to Preston at Gladstone than it is at Somerset. Then again, Somerset may have merit as well. I assume that stations at both would be too many in too short a space.

    1. A quick search for the City’s 2008 Transportation Master Plan brings up this map (PDF) of the 2031 buildout of the transit system. It indicates a station at Gladstone. Somerset is too close to Bayview, according to the transportation planners, if I recall correctly from the discussions at the time. And all that said, this will be discussed all over again when the City looks at converting the O-Train to electric LRT with double-tracking and extension to South Keys, estimated at $400M (much more than the estimate to extend the existing diesel O-Train a lot further to Leitrim on existing track for $40M, or across the Prince of Wales bridge for $40MA).

      I’d actually suggest that a transit station at Somerset would be redundant to a pathway connection there, so we’d actually get more connections with a station at Gladstone and the pathway connection at Somerset. Also, a pathway from Bayview to Somerset means Somerset would be better served by the Bayview station.

  7. There are several variables here at play. A Somerset station makes the most sense if n/s trains don’t stop at Bayview but continue to LeBreton and terminate there. Then there would be a considerable distance between the two stations. If Bayview remains a joint station for all lines, then Somerset is awfully close, and a Little Italy station at Gladstone makes more sense. And the Gladstone makes the most sense if the station starts at Gladstone and continues south under the Qway so people can exit to George Street and the office complex at 333 Preston. But all this speculative and will play out in time. It makes sense that the bike path allows for double track LRT and several station choices, and ped overpasses at Hickory, Young (existing) and Laurel (planned).

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

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