Trillium Pathway Design Watered Down

The proposed extension and paving of the Trillium pathway
The proposed extension and paving of the Trillium pathway
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Probably about half a decade ago, Karen and I were driving in our car, turning on to Prince of Wales at Dow’s Lake Pavillion. We were about 50 meters on our way, when a car came screaming down the hill from the roundabout at the Arboretum, totally out of control, flying into the opposite direction, more or less towards us. The driver corrected his speed somewhat, overcompensating his steering at the same time wildly to the right (for him) and veered back into his own lane in a 45 degree angle. But he was still going so fast he had no control over his car. Eventually he hit the curb near or on the bridge over the Trillium LRT, but the momentum tilted the car, bringing the left wheels of the ground considerably, and the car balanced on the two right wheels. It looked like the car was going to flip over but it fell back on its four wheels.


This all happened in less than ten seconds, about 100 meters in front of us near the end of the Trillium pathway at Prince of Wales. Had we been there 5-10 seconds earlier, we would have been either dead or very badly injured. Had cyclists been there, it would have been a massacre. I hope they learned their lesson. I am guessing they were going around 100 km/h.

That stretch is a weird piece of infrastructure. I have seen two car-bicycle collisions, one of them at the intersection with Navy Private, where drivers try to pull in quickly coming from downtown, crossing the opposite lane and not noticing the cyclists coming down the hill. Drivers are coming down the hill, often cutting it close to the curb and into the bike lane.

Travelling northbound towards Trillium pathway

It is hard to get to the start of the Trillium pathway coming from the south on Prince of Wales. Another issue is the bike lane being used by drivers. A few years ago, the situation improved when the city added flex posts. With the new Navy building came a new path but few people use it. It does get you to the intersection off the road, but it isn’t a very logical route. It would have been much smarter to run a MUP parallel to the road, but this is armed forces property I understand.

In this orginal plan, you can see the refuge to cross to the Trillium pathway (see insert)
In this orginal plan by Paul Clarke, you can see the refuge to cross to the Trillium pathway (see insert too for a 3D impression). The refuge was a great addition but now dropped

Trillium Pathway watered down drawings

The city drafted a nice but somewhat artificial cycling infra design for that stretch of road. Artificial, because a hydro pole or two are in the way. Moving a pole is not in the budget and Hydro doesn’t work for free either. The original design though tied together very neatly the different desire lines: the routes from Prince of Wales, the Trillium pathway, paths coming from Queen Juliana Park and paths coming from Dows Lake. Bike Ottawa had some small concerns, but everyone agreed it was a big improvement.

Fast forward. Tomorrow, June 6, 2018, there is an open house and the drawings that will be shown are watered down considerably to one bidirectional pathway on the north side of Prince of Wales. And of course the paving of the last bit of the Trillium Pathway between Prince of Wales and Carling.

Shortcuts through Queen Juliana Park

This leaves the north bound cyclists coming from Nepean, who find their way across the farm and Prince of Wales, without a connection to the Trillium path. Currently, some of us take the lane and wait on the centre line to turn into the Trillium path (doable, but far from ideal), others cut through Queen Juliana Park to the Trillium path traffic signals at Carling (I do), using the momentum built up from the downhill Prince of Wales. But this is not ideal either.

Another option that a certain Bike Ottawa president tends to follow to get to the start of the Trillium Line.
Another option that a certain Bike Ottawa president tends to follow to get to the start of the Trillium pathway.

When the hospital will be built, Queen Juliana Park and the Dow’s Lake parking lot will be hospital lands and those shortcuts will not exist anymore (if there is ever the money to build the hospital, although in ten years Toby Lütke will be middle aged and will donate money for the Shopify Opinicon Wing). I foresee that the new path will not get much north bound use until the hospital starts closing off the lands, but that is probably not for another 10 years I am guessing.

More shortcuts

If you look at the image below, you will notice that as long as the desire lines are available across the parking lot and Queen Juliana Park, it makes more sense to cross the parking lot or to follow the wide sidewalk that runs in an arch around the parking lot. This way, you don’t have to cross the exit of the parking lot. Currently this is a challenge sometimes, as many of the people using the parking are totally oblivious to bike infra and block the bike lane while waiting to enter the parking lot (cue Tulipfestival).

A map showing several shortcuts
Light green line and dots are my current routes, Red and Fuchsia are shortcuts, Green dots are a new bidirectional MUP, Aqua is a route to Sherwood from Dow’s Lake. Red triangle is conflict point with oblivious drivers

Trillium Crossing Alternative designs

For those coming from Nepean, I would suggest to build at least a refuge so that cyclists at the Trillium-Prince of Wales non intersection (and let’s not forget pedestrians btw) can cross towards the Trillium pathway in two steps, similar to the two step approach at for example Colonel By at Carlton U and Hartwell Locks. It will likely also slow traffic down when approaching the intersection at Dow’s Lake. Alternatively, as Yaro drew below: extend the pathway to the traffic signal, so that NB cyclists and pedestrians can cross and continue on the north side and into the pathway. Prince of Wales is over 20 meters wide there, so enough space for safe cycling design. Two car lanes gobble up about 7.50 meters, so there is 12.50 meter left for fun things.

Yaro's sketch with an extended bidirectional MUP towards the traffic signals.
Yaro’s sketch with an extended bidirectional MUP towards the traffic signals.

Open house

You should go to the open house and ask questions. And mingle with other cyclists; you will always see a few familiar faces. Money shouldn’t be an issue. The Kanata South link is now costed at $ 38.7 million for just over 2.5 km road widening at the latest count). A previous post on my blog about the Pathway appeared here.

June 6, Fisher Park Community Centre, 250 Holland Ave. 7-9 pm

Project page is here

Information on the open house: here

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