More new cycling infrastructure in Ottawa – part 2/2

A cartoon of a young woman dressed in orange with an overley text saying 'Visiting new 2023 cycling infrastructure in Ottawa - part 2'
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Last week I shared several Ottawa cycling infrastructure projects that are finished or close to being finished. You can find that blog post here. We’ll continue this week with another 8 projects.

Colonel By bike tracks extension

Finally, this year, the City built a safe separate connection in front of the Senate from Rideau Street east of Chateau Laurier to the Canal on the Colonel By side. Although there was a southbound bike lane, this vastly improved bike track is now bidirectional and separated by a curb.

Ottawa's former train station by night and well lit. In front of it runs a new cycling pathway
This awesome image of the former Ottawa Union Station also shows the new bike tracks in front of it as well as Chateau Laurier and the Parliament buildings (photo: James Schofield)

St. Patrick at King Edward raised tracks

St Patrick is not a place to bike, it is a major arterial towards Gatineau via King Edward and traffic can be pretty atrocious. However, there is a small new separate bike track built now on St. Patrick towards King Edward. This track allows you to stay away from the two northbound turning lanes. The previous bike lane used to run through the middle, with cars on both sides.

A map showing several red and green lines tos sho where the older, newe and bypass routes are
The left red line is the new addition, the top right red line is an existing pathway. You can clearly see the missing link. The green route is a safer alternative for the missing link, but not ideal. You could also decide to follow the green dotted line

You can now stay on the separate track and cross the two lanes at the light instead. I would have liked it even more if the crossride (a “crosswalk” for cyclists) was situated right next to the crosswalk. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start at the Beausoleil/St.Patrick intersection, but a 100 meters west of the intersection. You can use St. Andrews and Michael Riel Private to bypass that scary little remaining stretch of St. Patrick or simply continue on St. Andrews and cross at the bike signals at King Edward (green dotted line). Careful when you cross there, because more than once I have seen drivers going through red there.

Fun fact: when cycling by on St. Patrick, I saw two people stealing pavers and loading them in a plastic crate. Given the weight of pavers, I think they have to do a lot of trips for a very low cost product.

Lincoln Fields pedestrian bridge

There used to be a long bridge across the Transitway from Sackville St to Woodroffe High School. The new bridge is built slightly north of the old bridge. I don’t find it a particularly attractive bridge. But at 5 metre wide, it is a nice route to avoid Carling.

A child and a man cycle on a bridge. the bridge ahs a concrete floor and black steel railing that are several meters high
A construction landscape with a black metal bridge crossing diagonally
You can see the fences with the vertical bars sticking out past the curved top of the bridge. So ugly.
The ramp on the westside towards the bridge this summer

Bank Street bike track infrastructure

A long standing issue in the Glebe has been the lack of safety on the Bank Street bridge across the Canal. With four ‘car’ lanes and two narrow sidewalks, this bridge was finally adjusted to the increasing demand for active transportation. A car lane was removed in order to build separate bike track infrastructure. The tracks are slightly lower than the new sidewalk but higher than the road. At the bottom of the bridge you can turn into quieter streets and connect to the Rideau Canal.

A man in a blue cycling outfit cycles on a bike track on a bridge.
The reconfigured Bank St bridge over the canal. It now has raised bike lanes (half height). That is furniture maker Christopher Solar (Christopher Solar Design) who just happened to bike into my photo. Top right is Lansdowne Park

Protected intersections

I would not be surprised if the City of Ottawa has built more protected intersections than any other city in Canada. Here are two examples. One protected intersection was finished this year at Romina St. and Eagleson Rd. in Kanata South. (left image). Another one was built on Longfields and Highbury Park in Barrhaven (right image) across from an area with schools and a sports facilities.

Montreal Road complete street

Montreal Road has been a $25 million construction zone for several years, but finally this year the last part of the road towards Saint Laurent was finished. This means you can now cycle from St. Laurent to the Vanier Parkway on raised bike tracks, due to underground infrastructure renewal. It all feels very tight with trees, signs, bus stops etc, but we have to remember these tracks are not built to set a new Strava record on your bike, but for local shopping and visiting services. What is important to remember here is that the BIA was squarely behind adding cycling infrastructure, which is not always the case. Kudos to Nathalie Carrier, executive director of the Quartier Vanier BIA.

It is very unfortunate that the tracks stop at the Vanier Parkway to accommodate turning lanes on Montreal at River Road. I think that was a wrong decision. I bike on the road between Vanier Parkway and River Road anyway but I can imagine not everyone will. The City has provided a not overly welcoming, somewhat shady bypass from the Vanier Parkway to River Road by building a shortcut behind the Tim Hortons’ to Mark Ave. From Mark Ave you can connect to the pathways along the Rideau river.

The new shortcut to Mark Ave is a welcome connection but continuing the raised bike tracks past the Vanier Parkway would have been more logical. The tall dark fence doesn’t help in making it feel like a safe corridor

Lincoln Fields Shopping Mall

This one was a surprise. All of a sudden a photo of councillor Kavanagh at a new MUP appeared in my social media feed. The mall owners built a multi use pathway right through the mall property! This whole area is slated for renewal over the next 25 years. The first 10,000 ft proposals see highrises, a park, better active transportation connections and around 11000 new housing units around the Lincoln Fields transit hub. Picture captured by Patrick McKay.

O’Connor infrastructure improvements

O’Connor, downtown, has a separated bidirectional cycling lane for several years. Unfortunately, it has quite a number of side streets. Normally, you wouldn’t build bidirectional bike infrastructure in a downtown setting with many intersections, but the city choose to do so, I suspect for cost reasons. This way, they only had to modify one side of the street. To improve safety, the city now added several improvements to slow down traffic turning into one of the side streets. Extra reinforced posts should further slow down drivers. Note that the sidewalks and the bike tracks continue across the side street. That is usually not the case but you’ll see it built more often in the future.

We also celebrated the opening of the Trillium pathway near Carling again, after being closed for 13 months in order to adjust the LRT station down below. Advocacy to create an alternative route didn’t go anywhere unfortunately. But then another part was closed next to the hospital construction site, which is an even bigger pain in the butt. I also cycled across a creek on a new bridge between the Aviation Parkway and Blasdell Ave but I am not sure if that was there already last year. Photo below.

Check out the first part of the 2023 cycling infrastructure updates here. Did I miss any cycling infrastructure projects? Let me know on the connect page or in the comments below.

Thank you to the several people who helped spot projects, gather information and took photos (you know who you are).

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this. A couple of other areas where cycling improvements are need. On Wellington for the block just east of the new (much needed )olonel By bike track extension, it would be good to have something heading eastbound for the stretch to Rideau Street and Rideau Centre. Also on the eastbound stretch of Carling up the hill from Preston Street/Rochester to intersection with Bronson. There is theoretically a lane that cyclists can share with buses but cars tend to roar by as well. Finally (for now), it would be good to have a shared sidewalk/MUP on the south side of Industrail heading east from Neighbourhood Way to Russell Road. There would still be some gaps here yellow crossing markings would be needed, such as the Metro food depot with lots of trucks backing in -but there are already desire lines for pedestrians in many of these areas.

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