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).