New MUP along downtown Confederation Line LRT

It took virtually everyone by surprise, but all of a sudden it was there. A MUP along the LRT Confederation line between Ottawa U station and Hurdman station, creating a direct connection between downtown and the VIA Rail station. The first reactions I read are very positive so it was time to check it out and put some images in a blog post for those who haven’t seen it or live out of town.

LRT By-product

The path is obviously a by-product of the LRT project and I am guessing its main reason is actually a service road in case there is an issue with a train and first responders have to get to the train. Cycling from City Hall to the VIA rail station is now a breeze and when VIA is starting to accept bicycles on trains in a few years, we get to see some multi-modal pieces falling into place.

The route in pictures

I am taking you on a photo trip from City Hall to The Via Rail station in the images below.

Just around the corner of City Hall is the MUP along the canal
Just around the corner of City Hall is the MUP along the canal
After crossing the Rideau Canal and Colonel By drive, the route goes underneath Nicolas st and the LRT and appears again at the Ottawa U campus
After crossing the Rideau Canal and Colonel By drive, the route goes underneath Nicolas St and the LRT and appears again at the Ottawa U campus
Abundant space in front of Ottawa U LRT station, where we turn south
Abundant space in front of the Ottawa U LRT station, where we turn south. Note the weeds growing in front of the station
The path follows the tracks south bound
The path follows the tracks southbound along Ottawa U
Unfortunately, there are already several cuts made in the new pavement, accelerating the deterioration of the pavement
Unfortunately, there are already several cuts made in the new pavement, accelerating the deterioration of the surface
The path cuts through the spaghetti of roads and highways and highway ramps. Here the path goes underneath the 417
The path cuts through the spaghetti of roads and highways and highway ramps. Here the path goes underneath the 417
Just before Lees Station, the path is about 7 meters wide. I put my bike here for perspective
Just before Lees Station, the path is about 7 meters wide. I parked my bike here for perspective
I foresee a bit of a conflict zone here, with pedestrians leaving through this door checking their cell phones, so you may want to slow down considerably if there is a train in the station. The path goes on the left of the metal supports
I foresee a bit of a conflict zone here, with pedestrians leaving through this door checking their cell phones. You may want to slow down considerably if there is a train in the station. The path runs on the left in the photo
This is poorly designed, with so much concrete it should have been built into the wall
This is poorly designed; with so much concrete the boxes should have been built into the wall. It is not too late
Public art, lit at night. I am not impressed with the conduits, which I think makes the art installation look cheap
Public art, lit at night. I am not impressed with the conduits and junction boxes (is that a word?), which I think makes the art installation look cheap
Broken window
That didn’t take long – part 1
Crossing the Rideau river
Crossing the Rideau river
Just before crossing the bridge you can turn left and enter the western pathway along the Rideau River. Weeds have taken over the otherwise nice landscaping
Just before crossing the bridge you can turn left and enter the western pathway along the Rideau River. Weeds have taken over the previously nice landscaping. I still think the fences are nonsense, especially the bottom one of the two on the left
The path keeps following the LRT tracks, but you end up in a maze of paths without any way finding
The path keeps following the LRT tracks, but you end up in a maze of paths without any wayfinding
I decided to stick to the left and you arrive behind the station. I recommend not to leave your bike here. I feel the racks are out of sight and a magnet for bike thieves
Stick to the left and you will arrive behind the station. I recommend not to leave your bike here. I feel the racks are out of sight in a dead zone and a magnet for bike thieves. There are cameras, but ‘it was a person with a hoodie’ doesn’t help the police much
This pole is dangerously positioned. It needs something around the base to make it more visible
This pole is dangerously positioned. It needs something around the base to make it more visible. That bench in the background is in an odd place, I think it should face the square
bend fences
That didn’t take long – part 2
Continuing towards Via Rail I initially took the path to the right, but that got me back to Hurdman's on bus lanes. The left arm brings you towards the overpass over the Vanier Parkway
Continuing towards Via Rail I initially took the path to the right, but that got me back to Hurdman’s bus lanes. The left path gets you towards the overpass over the Vanier Parkway
On the edge of downtown Ottawa with the Rideau River just on your left apparently
On the edge of downtown Ottawa with the Rideau River not far
Crossing the Vanier Parkway. I trust the Rideau Transit Group does a proper cleanup as there is still a lot of construction stuff lying around, that could have been picked up already as it has no function anymore
Crossing the Vanier Parkway. I trust the Rideau Transit Group does a proper cleanup. There is still a lot of construction stuff lying around that could have been picked up already while waiting for the handover
Descending towards the VIA Rail and LRT stations on a lovely green path, but in terrible condition. ON the left is the Max Keeping bridge which gets you to the Baseball stadium and St Laurent Shopping Mall
Descending towards the VIA Rail station on a lovely green path, but in terrible pavement condition. On the left is the Max Keeping bridge which gets you to the Baseball stadium with the name that changes all the time and St Laurent Shopping Mall
The Max Keeping bridge over the 417 connecting the neighbourhood and the baseball stadium to LRT
The Max Keeping bridge over the 417 connecting the neighbourhood and the baseball stadium to LRT
Modernist Via Rail station in the background, the 'George Brown' LRT train in the foreground
Modernist Via Rail station in the background, the ‘George Brown’ LRT train in the foreground

Wayfinding

The paths around Hurdman are a nightmare to figure out. That is nothing new but the number of intersections and forks in the road are mind boggling. The expanded Hurdman station has made it even more cumbersome to figure out where to go.

As part of it is NCC jurisdiction (closer to the river) and part of it is City of Ottawa/OC Transpo, I am not holding my breath that the bureaucracy can figure out how to properly guide people to the Via Rail station, Byward Market, the shores of the Rideau River and the Max Keeping bridge/Baseball stadium to name but a few destinations/routes.

Rather than putting signs up what not to do, it would have been smarter to put clear way finding in. But LRT folks are not cycling folks
Rather than putting signs up what not to do, it would have been smarter to put clear wayfinding in. But LRT folks are not cycling folks, so….
...someone was tasked to put this terrible map together on a sandwich board. Three way finding signs would have done the trick though.
…someone was tasked to put this terrible map together on a sandwich board. Three wayfinding signs would have done the trick though. The board comes with instructions where and how to place it: “Sign 2_ss facing south – half way between N/S crossing & Breezeway tunnel. That is not a good sign.

Great network addition

The path is a great addition to the network. It gets you in and out of town really quickly. I heard that the path will continue north from Ottawa U station towards Laurier Ave. along the LRT corridor eventually. That would be a nice addition. Currently, the path follows more or less this line after the dog leg over the canal:

map showing route of path
Capture Google Maps: from city hall to Via Rail with one traffic light (at Colonel By) only

Isn’t it ironic?

As I am writing this, the LRT is still not open to the public yet while the path is open since spring. To quote Ottawa native Alanis Morisette: Isn’t it ironic?”

You may also want to read my post on Visiting Hurdman Bridge with some more images of new pathway around the bridge.

8 Comments

  1. Yes, there is an urgent need for signage in the scrubland south of Hurdman Station. But then there has been the same urgent need for many decades in the spaghetti at the south end of the Portage Bridge.
    On the bright side, after yet another blockage of the Trilliun path (Q’way underpass this time), and an initial long and hilly diversion signed via Bayswater Avenue, the city came up with an excellent route via Preston Street including a lane closed to traffic. Pity the NCC did not close a SJAM lane at Woodroffe during the springtime washout repair of the MUP there…very dangerous.

  2. Appreciate the tips and photos. For baseball fans like me, the access to “RCGT” park by bike is fantastic with a dedicated bike path over the Vanier Parkway. Agree that the pavement before the Max Keeping bridge is lousy, but it still beats the road. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks for the great tour, Hans. I didn’t see any lighting along the path. Is that true? Trillium Path is popular partly thanks to the good lighting.

  4. early in the LRT planning process and route examination the city took the position that a service lane was required all along the LRT route but it would be “too dangerous” to share that with cyclists or pedestrians. I expect it was cost considerations that caused them to back off that position.

    the route from uOttawa to Hurdman and the multitude of connections it offers truly reshapes the cyclist and pedestrian image of the city. It is very functional. Yet was such a route identified as a cycling link when doing cycle route planning? It seems to have come about serendipitously, which says volumes about the utility of bureaucratic master planning.

    The trillium pathway was also a hard push for advocates to get implemented. City hall experts saw little or no value in it. Now it is ridiculously popular. City staff has also been reluctant to fully promote the east-west route from downtown along Albert-Scott to Churchill.

    As for signs … last evening I noticed the new black-style LRT-cycling sign at uOttawa mounted to the tunnel portal had half fallen off. By time I returned a few hours later and could take a picture, it was gone completely. Not yet open, and falling apart already …

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