New pathways Along Hospital Link in Altavista-Riverview

Hospital Link MUP going down towards the NCC Rideau River pathways
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Although the Hospital Link is not completely finished yet, I decided to go out and take a look recently. The weather was finally a pleasant 20 degrees again, unlike the sweltering 34-36 Celsius (nearly 100F) last week. I had been doing some 20 km and 30 km bike tours with tourists in the heat, and although it is bearable when you are moving, the sun really hits you when you stop cycling.

Coming from the Rideau River pathway, you can now turn right towards the hospital

I cycled there first on my own; later in the weekend I went back with Heather Shearer after a meeting at city hall. We approached the link from the NCC pathways. At Riverside, Heather observed already that the sightlines are a bit awkward for both drivers going S-N and cyclists and pedestrians crossing Riverside. The crossing is just after the crest of a hill. So don’t even think of ignoring the traffic lights: a car might pop from behind the crest at 70 km/h. Before you know you’re flat as a pancake.

The pathway goes up and connects to Riverside Drive

Frobisher Lane

After the crossride on Riverside going eastbound, cycling away from the Rideau River, you will enter into Frobisher Lane, a street which has its own raised MUP. It ends somewhat abrupt in a corner and you’ll turn left into a dead end stretch of what is also called Riverside.

After Riverside, you’ll end up at another MUP. No new path is complete in Ottawa without a fresh cut

The path continues further east next to the apartment building. The property manager I talked to mentioned he has already seen three cars trying to take the MUP. I am sure there will be a bollard placed eventually after the work crews are finished. The path goes down and after the ViaRail underpass, the MUP continues quite nicely all the way to the hospital.

After turning left you dip underneath the railway tracks on a fairly generous path (where my bike is waiting). I feel like I am missing some landscaping here.
OCTranspo bus going north on the Transitway and underneath the Link
Looking towards the Via Rail tracks above the path

70 million dollars project

The 70 million dollars Hospital Link is a massive and somewhat odd construction, built to alleviate the busy Smyth Rd which is where the entrance to the hospital is. Another reason for the new road is future development in that area. It is a large project, as the link has to cross four lanes of Riverside, the Transitway and the VIARail train tracks. The road crosses over the first two and then dips down to go underneath the train tracks. It is clearly built for growth and no doubt if you build it, they (traffic) will come.

This stretch of the MUP is close to the OC Transpo lane that connects to AltaVista
Looking back here: crossing the right turning slip lane in order to continue east towards the hospital. Will there be a ‘walk your bike’ sign?
Continue towards the hospital. Note the puddles in the brand new asphalt

Generous bike infrastructure along Hospital Link

The project has generous cycling infrastructure. It connects to the NCC multi use pathway (MUP) along the river. A MUP also runs along nearly the entire Hospital Link. Nearly, because cyclists following the pathway along the Link have to veer away towards the NCC pathway and then back to cross at Riverside at a cross ride rather than enjoying the rich infrastructure built for motor vehicles. (Note: on your bike you are a vehicle and you can always take the bridge over Riverside if you want.)

Eventually you need to cross the road in order to continue at the northside of the Link

Not completely finished yet

It is too bad that the MUP along the first part of the Hospital Link, just after the rail tracks is right at the curb; it would have been so much nicer to keep a two feet strip of grass between the road and the MUP as it has been done further east.

I am a bit concerned about the quality of the pavement. Already there are puddles on this brand new path from watering the grass; this doesn’t bode well for the future rainfalls. (ice, freeze and thaw cycles etc). I am not a road engineer, but I don’t think this is top quality road surfacing…

Heather continuing anyway. Because: Heather
Eventually the path ends, but will continue in the future

Better links for Riverview Park to Hospital Link

The new MUP should eventually also create better connections with the neighbourhood just north of the Hospital Link. Kris Nanda from the Riverview Park Community Association told me the community is waiting for the completion of a MUP along the outer part of the Ring Road (where Heather is cycling in the gravel) and east towards the hospital parking lots where there is already a desire line foot path. The path that starts at Station Boulevard in Riverview Park and winds its way through some greenery will than connect to the path system along the Hospital Link.

The Link starts further north off Riverside. This is the first part. You can share the road with construction trucks too for years to come if that is what you enjoy
View just before the Link turns south towards the overpasses. There is a path drawn on Openstreetmap in the corner going into the bush, but clearly it is not very visible and official. Ideally there would be a paved shortcut to the river right there, just before the sign or earlier.
A potential shortcut directly to the lights, instead of via the NCC pathway in a roundabout way. The reason why there isn’t a path built is likely that the slope is more than 5%. If you look on the map though, you’ll see there is not really a reason to follow this because you are going back to where you just came from in a bit of a U-shape.
I have some concern about the pavement quality

These MUPs will likely not be the busiest MUPs you have ever seen, but it is a nice addition for a number of people living and working in the area and beyond in Altavista. It is a bit odd to see a MUP running more or less parallel to the NCC pathway along the Rideau River, but I guess it was part of the complete street concept of the Hospital Link. There might be a future path connecting smarter to the river pathways.

Here is a rough indication where the Hospital Link is. In black the new pathway (minus 100 meters on the existing the river pathways): Road nr 19 is Riverside.

Rough projection of the Hospital Link pathway. (image Google)
Rough projection of the Hospital Link pathway. (image Google)


  1. This link path has opened up another interesting shortcut that I’ve been using. You can travel between the link path and Main/Smyth using that dead-end section of Old Riverside. It connects with a short section of sidewalk to Main/Smyth just before the bridge. From there, better cycling infrastructure along Main. I’ve found it a safer and more pleasant way to get to Main.

  2. Hi Hans! Love the site! I’ve been commuting using this new path since it opened a month or so ago. Before it was open I biked on the link roadway, crossing above riverside just North of where the path is (and then walked on the grass down to the path where you took your “shortcut” picture). This might be a more direct route

    I agree that the new path is a little awkward, but it’s a huge improvement over dealing with the whole Alta-Vista / Industrial / Riverside intersections, which was my previous route.

  3. Hans,

    I too checked out this new infrastructure recently. I agree with your assessments 🙂 One thing that I think you missed is the tricky connection from (old)Riverside, North of Hospital Link Rd to (old)Riverside, South of Hospital Link Rd, going UNDER the Hospital Link, beside the Transitway.(for example, if you were to cycle from Lycee Claudel to One of the apartment buildings on (old)Riverside. In fact, it’s where you took a picture “OCTranspo bus going north on the Transitway and underneath the Link”. The no walking/no cycling signs are set up to allow cyclist on that part. But you’re right; very odd set up.

    I flagged it in this segment for you:

    Full trip:

    Also, did you see that the Hurdman bridge is now re-opened?!

    • I did see that the Hurdman bridge is open and I took some photos for one of the next posts. Have to keep the suspense up….I cycled all the way to Bank street along the river (mostly) after the bridge. This is going to be a very nice addition to the MUPs when all is ready.

    • Thanks for that extra information. I did notice some kind of a sidewalk, but I wasn’t sure if that was OCTranspo property and only to be used for staff or so. I don’t think I would want to bike there because the bus tends to go pretty fast on the transitway.

      I am not sure what you mean with “The no walking/no cycling signs are set up to allow cyclist on that part.” Wouldn’t that info mean that you should NOT walk or bike there? – Hans

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