Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

As promised by the City, the extension of the Trillium (OTrain) pathway from Young to Carling Avenue is essentially complete. I think it is wonderful. Multi-user pathways (MUP’s) get better with every new build.


The most significant new feature for a MUP is a physical separation of people who cycle from people who walk, or animals who walk their humans. The bike path portion remains full width; the pedestrian portion is additional, bonus width. There is a very low curb between the two paths to separate them. The lowness of the curb prevents a pedal from getting caught.

The separated portion runs from Beech to Carling, where the highest volumes of pedestrian traffic is expected. There is an OTrain Trillium Line rapid transit station at the Carling intersection.

At the station, there are a variety of movements possible, and some mixed traffic is to be expected on all surfaces. Pedestrians accessing the station may cross the bike path to go east or west on Carling Avenue sidewalks. Cyclists accessing the station staircase or elevator lobby must cross the pedestrian pathway. The Hickory-Adeline bridge (not yet given a name) offers a variety of manoeuvres when users meet or cross the pathways (pictures to follow).

First, the Carling intersection:


The median in Carling Avenue has been broken to permit flat crossing to the south side of Carling. This opening is big enough to attract U-turns from cars, so I hope something is planned for this space. Pedestrian and cyclist signals have been installed. They are push-button activated for pedestrian and cyclist crossings. This segment of pathway is City-built and maintained on NCC land.

On the south side of Carling, a short segment of separated pathway has been paved to make for consistent intersection approaches. It separated pedestrians from cyclists, pathway users from the Carling sidewalk users. The NCC is responsible for extending the paved pathway further south (someday) but for now the old narrow stonedust trail remains.


I’m unsure just how users will choose to travel once they reach the south side. Will they follow the stonedust trail? Ride on the sidewalk to Preston and thence Commissioners’ Park or the QE Driveway pathway? Or go diagonally overland through the nearby parking lot to get to the intersection of Preston-QEW-Prince of Wales? The answer should be obvious by mid summer 2016.

The pathway right of way is also much wider at the Carling end, when the NCC reclaimed land it has previously leased to Dow Honda.

Switching now to the other end of the extension, the path begins at Young Street, where the first phase of the pathway ended. PAC members asked that the intersection of this bridge be reformatted a bit to look and function like the Adeline-Hickory bridge, for reasons of consistency, but the City declined. The new pathway simply takes off where the old one ended.


Alas, the joint between the two isn’t exactly smooth or seamless, a common enough feature of many two phase projects where paths don’t align well (path by the Tailrace, ORP at Champlain Bridge, etc):


The pathways follow Ottawa and NCC practice of being “integrated” into the landscape. What this means is water drains downhill over the top of the paths, not intercepted by a ditch, swale, or gradient that directs the water away from the path. (The depth of pipes required to do this, plus cost, is cited as the reason, plus the NCC likes the “smooth” look). There isn’t yet enough concern about runoff freezing to frost or ice on the pathways in winter or the shoulder seasons, or about the mortality rate of earthworms:


The pathway from Young to Beech is a standard MUP width and layout. Users are expected to share the path on an informal basis. As the path approaches Beech, a pedestrian portion begins with a taper. This separates the cyclists and walkers at the crossing ahead …


and prepares them for the fully separated paths south of Beech


The crossing is unsignalized, therefore no painted crosswalk or crossride. The sidewalk dips slightly for the crossing. The asphalt road and path surface is raised, which may slow vehicular cross traffic. It certainly makes for a pleasant walk or ride, once past those P-gates:


The city planning dept had been very reluctant to include this raised intersection, but I am delighted it found its way into the final design.

The new pathway passes the stub ends of several streets. How to connect the street and sidewalk to pathway is a problem. Connect the path to the sidewalks … and it seems to encourage cycling on sidewalks. To the road .. and then what of pedestrians? And the grade difference between the former rail bed that was the old pathway was several feet in some places, raising slope issues, universal access problems, etc. The solution was to reduce the height of the entire pathway by 18-24″ so it approximates the road elevations.





Landscaping is to be installed in spring, 2016. It will probably include large rocks as bollards and seating areas. Sidewalks may be connected to the pathway, provided some budget was found to pay for that, and possibly cyclists will cycle between the rocks/bollards to the street asphalt.

At the Hickory-Adeline bridge, the elevation problem was more difficult, because the new bridge aligned with the former rail bed elevation, which is about 2′ above Adeline Street. And the design had to slow (cyclist) traffic for the intersection of the two pathway elements.

As shown below, arrivals from the Hickory-Adeline bridge intersect with the pathway. There is a curb depression. There is a stair on the east side down a few steps to the Adeline level. It is currently blocked off for the winter as stair maintenance is not planned. The paths, however, will be plowed.


Just south of the intersection, another curb cut, and a multi-user ramp goes down to the street level.  I am not a fan of those hefty rocks between paved surfaces, I think bricks would have been safer and more stable.


The curb treatment for the Adeline Street stub end is .. curious. Despite the cyclist-priority lane painting, the sign on the right still permits curbside parking on the lane. Presumably this is still a work in progress and further evaluation will be needed to see if actually works well.


The elevation difference of Adeline to the pathways and the bridge is more obvious in this picture taken from Preston looking west:


The pathway is not yet complete. Landscaping, dealing with adjacent  streets, and evaluating how people use the pathway will be required.

There will always be some potential conflict where different users share a path, or at intersections of parallel walking and cycling surfaces. Nonetheless, this path takes network connectivity to a new level, separates pedestrians from cyclists, and meets a number of needs.

I think it is very well done.



9 thoughts on “Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

  1. I also agree that it was done very well Has anyone done the math to compare doing the path right, versus doing it on the cheap as is commonly done?

  2. The crossings at Beech and at Carling are now painted and vehicles on Beech seem to be paying a bit more attention. Lots of people are using the pathway, a great sign!

  3. Unfortunately they removed all the markings on the crossing at Beech today. Cars are speeding through again. I’m not sure what the plan is.

  4. Waiting to see how the short curb affects snow removal.

    The elevated crossing at Beech now has catch basins at the highest point. Smart.

    1. In Ottawa, water runs uphill, doesn’t it? I find that the catch basins usually seem to be at the high points or else have a ridge around them to prevent water from entering.

  5. I think so far the new path was well done. I look forward to trying some winter biking, now that I have a maintained path a few blocks from home that will take me downtown.

    A few thoughts, though:

    a) Why did the markings get painted over at Beech? In general, I’m not pleased that the intersections at Beech and Gladstone are not marked out better. I don’t expect a fully signalized intersection at either, but maybe something like green paint would be useful, particularly at Gladstone, where the speed and visibility are worse, to make drivers even *suspect* a bike is coming would be beneficial to all users.

    b) P gates: why? Wouldn’t normal bollards have sufficed? The P gates crowd everything.

    c) I really like the separation between pedestrians and cyclists, and hope this is applied to more paths as the opportunity arises.

    d) It would have been nice to have a wider curb cut across the wide of the Hickory-Adeline Bridge, as it makes the turn a tad tight on my lumbering long tail bike.

    e) It would be nice if some bike lockers were added along the route, particularly at Bayview Station, Carling Station and City Centre.

    1. markings on road: I like road markings like zebra stripes, or elephant feet, or sharks teeth, and all those other animal-named features. I gather one big issue is that a crosswalk type marking can only go a controlled intersection (ie, stop sign, or traffic light), and I guess a raised intersection may not qualify … but i wish it would. The physical features of the raising slope and descent should be severe enough to calm or slow traffic.

      Gladstone isn’t a raised crossing because 1. it hadn’t been budgeted for, whereas for this segment we pushed much harder for it,
      2. gladstone is a bus route and i gather oc transpo objects to speed bumps or table top intersections unless the ramp is dead gradual … so that no one feels it.

      green paint etc are useful but we do have to be careful not to give cyclists the impression they can zoom thru when cross traffic is in fact not stopping.

      I regret that the city’s basket of tools only includes nothing vs expensive signalized intersection. I think we could be more imaginative, including using islands or chicanes

      P-gates physcially remind cyclists to slow down or something … and given the way some cyclists cycle, they are warranted. The P-gate puts the posts further apart, meaning the gate can be swung open and service vehicle enter the pathway; bollards, closer together, also keep out service vehicles. I think a Pgate looks a bit softer to crash into than a bollard

      the curb cut at the bridge/pathway intersect point is for people going to the stairs; you, your long tail, and cyclists are supposed to deke south a hundred feet and take the bigger cut at the head of the ramp down to adeline

      i also note that the city and ncc are working on the southern extension of the pathway beyond carling avenue thru a revamped parking lot offering a direct line to the intersection of QED/Preston/POW.

  6. In terms of the Gladstone intersection, budgetary concerns aside, I’d rather then that they put a pedestrian/cyclist activated intersection in, then. Does the City really want to encourage crossing outside of proper intersections? Rhetorical, I know… but hey, if we are allowed to interrupt the speeding masses at Booth and the ORP MUP, then surely humble Gladstone should be a candidate.

    Re: the curb cut at the bridge: I was referring to the one that takes you to the bike tracks. When you’re turning left from the bridge to head towards downtown, it feels a tad sharp, but I would acknowledge I’m not exactly riding a performance bike. Still, if you see a middle-aged guy on a huge orange bike lying across the path, don’t say I didn’t foresee this.

    Interesting that the plan is for this to veer east to Preston-QED. In my planning daydreams, I would eventually envision this path being extended alongside the O-Train to a new ped-biking bridge across the canal to Colonel By, through the university, and connecting to the path along the Airport Parkway, via Brookfield. Crazy, I know.

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