Biking along Slater St and Queen St

My goal is to pedal down every Ottawa/Outaouais street at least once. For some streets, once is enough. Like Slater Street and Queen Street, which I rode along yesterday morning. They are not very bike friendly, regardless of the green bike ROUTE signs fastened to the occasional telephone pole. But they ought to be safe to bike down for folks who work there, live there or need to ride down them for whatever reason.

My destination was the old post office at Sparks and Elgin to mail off Christmas gifts. Blue line’s how I got there. Red line’s how I got back.

At the corner of Bronson and Slater there is a very wide graffiti wall. Here’s how it appeared through the frost covered chain link fence.

Jack Frost 1

Graffiti wall along Slater
Graffiti wall along Slater

Slater is three lanes heading east one way. The south side is pretty much a transit way, forcing bicyclists to hug the shoulder-less curb on the opposite side. Drivers instinctively consider this outside lane to be the passing/speeding lane. Pretty nasty.

Slater St
Slater St

I was pleased to turn up Elgin Street and see Oscar sitting outside the NAC covered in a frosty layer. This wonderful commemorative statue by Ruth Abernethy is extremely welcoming. I often see folks sitting on the piano bench beside Oscar, listening to his music coming from speakers placed up above.

Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson

Construction scaffolding and plywood presently surrounds the main entrance of the post office at Sparks and Elgin, caging in this noble sentry.

Caged Lion
Caged Lion

Fortunately these two proud beasts remain on duty at the side door on Sparks St.

Lions on duty
Lions on duty

I travelled down Queen Street on the way home. It felt safer than Slater, perhaps because there was only one lane keeping the traffic calm.

Queen St
Queen St

The narrow space between the parked cars and the traffic presents another very real danger of being doored, i.e. when a passenger of a parked car opens their door without checking to see if any bicyclists are coming, forcing a collision. This is what lead to the senseless death of Danielle Naçu in October 2011. Here is the ghost bike along Queen Street commemorating this tragic event.

Danielle Naçu
Commemorative ghost bike

They knocked down part of Christ Church Cathedral awhile ago along with a few other old dwellings to build condo’s, but retained these facades to be incorporated into the new building. I am often fascinated by the juxtaposition of temporary structures used to retain or protect old structures as shown in this image.

Bracing
Bracing

And finally, a shot of Jack Frost’s handiwork, looking out towards the park at the western end of Queen St.

Jack Frost 2

Author: ottawavelo

bicycler

4 thoughts on “Biking along Slater St and Queen St”

  1. Looks like that would have been a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Laurier bike lane that starts and ends on that stretch of Albert/Slater. Much safer and enjoyable.

    1. Yes indeed, bike lanes along Laurier are the way to go if either of those streets were avoidable. My goal is to bike down every Ottawa/Outaouais street at least once, so now that I’ve covered Slater and Queen I’ll be avoiding them. That said, all streets should be safe to bike down for those that have no choice (residents; workers; etc), so here’s hoping they become so. Since posting I’ve also spoken to someone who feels quite safe riding the car lane along Queen as he feels the lights are paced to change at a bikers rate, at least for him, and the cars don’t drive fast as a result. Haven’t tested this theory out though.

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