Biking from Parliament Hill to Ottawa South

Someone recently asked via Twitter if there is a safe way to bike from Parliament Hill to the Ottawa Hospital General Campus that avoids the ‘horrible Smyth Road bridge’. I’ve been meaning to post a route for commuters biking to and from Ottawa South that avoids Main Street as much as possible, at least until they’ve finished the Main Street – Complete Street renewal. So here is a route indicated by the blue line on the map below, starting at Parliament Hill to the Ottawa Hospital General Campus and beyond through the rest of Ottawa South.

The green line on the map is a slightly different section taken on the way back to avoid crazy Lees Avenue, because it doesn’t have a bike lane heading west.

UPDATE – Spring 2016: An important link along this route, the bike path along the transit bridge over the Rideau River, is closed for LRT construction Until January 2018. An alternative route around this construction site is described in this more recent post.

Start
Start

Leave Parliament Hill, cross Wellington and head a short distance down Elgin Street.

Elgin St
Elgin St

Turn down the ramp beside the NAC across for the War Memorial, like so.

Ramp heading down beside the NAC to the canal
Ramp heading down beside the NAC to the canal

Ride all the way down the ramp past the NAC stage door, and get on the bike path that runs along the canal.

Path along the Rideau Canal
Path along the Rideau Canal

Take the pedestrian/bike bridge over the canal across from Ottawa of University, like so.

Bike and pedestrian bridge over the canal
Bike and pedestrian bridge over the canal

Continue south along the other side of the canal. Just before the path goes under the Queensway take the turn off that brings you up along Colonel By Drive to Pretoria Bridge, as indicated by the sign in the middle of the fork in the path. You won’t see the big white directional arrow on the path. I photoshopped it in.

Turn off towards Pretoria Bridge
Turn off towards Pretoria Bridge

That will take you to the intersection of Hawthorne Avenue and Colonel By, on the east side of Pretoria Bridge. Things get a little tricky here. I recommend crossing to the opposite corner and walking your bike for a short distance along the sidewalk south to where it veers left along Echo Drive, like so.

Getting over to Echo Drive, far away in time
Getting over to Echo Drive

Another option when traffic isn’t too bad, is to ride south along Colonel By Drive the short distance from the intersection to the meridian just before Echo Drive where there is a reserved bike exit lane.

Bike turn lane from Colonel By Drive to Echo Drive just south of Pretoria Bridge
Bike turn lane from Colonel By Drive to Echo Drive just south of Pretoria Bridge

Turn down the first street you come to on your left which will be Graham Avenue. It has a bike lane.

Graham Ave
Graham Ave

Graham ends at Main Street. The route jogs a bit to the right before continuing as Lees Avenue across the intersection.

End of east bound bike lane along Graham, looking across Main St to Lees Ave
End of east bound bike lane along Graham, looking across Main St to Lees Ave

There is a bike lane along Lees heading east, but it doesn’t start for a hundred yards or so beyond the lights at Main.

Lees Avenue bike lane
Lees Avenue bike lane

The Lees bike lane abruptly ends at Chestnut Street. Drivers always speed along Lees Avenue so I turned onto Chestnut. This took me to Springhurst Ave.

At the end of Springhurst get on the stone dust path and veer left for a short distance along the edge of the Rideau River.

Path at the end of Springhurst
Path at the end of Springhurst

Take the path along the transitway bridge over the river, like so.

Bridge over the Rideau River
Bridge over the Rideau River

Follow along the path past the big OC Transpo gathering spot.

OC Transpo sea, by the dawns early light.
OC Transpo gathering spot.

Continue straight on towards the Riverside Drive/ Industrial Avenue intersection. Now I won’t deny this is a spooky major vehicule intersection, however don’t let it intimidate you. There are usually many other pedestrians and cyclists crossing at this spot and the path does continue on the other side of Riverside Drive along Industrial Avenue.

Riverside Drive and Industrial Avenue
Riverside Drive and Industrial Avenue

Continue along Industrial Avenue, past the giant metal flowers installed in Cancer Survivors Park.

Big flowers
Big flowers

The first street you will come to is Alta Vista Drive. There is a bike path that starts at the south east corner of Alta Vista and Industrial. Follow it.

Path off the corner of AltaVista and Industrial
Path off the corner of AltaVista and Industrial

It ends a short distance on at Blair Street. Turn right on Blair, then take an immediate left on Station Boulevard. Follow Station Boulevard right to the end where there’s a bike path that takes you through to Ring Road.

Bike path at the end of Station Boulevard
Bike path at the end of Station Boulevard

Turn left on Ring Road, which rings around our first destination – the Ottawa Hospital General Campus!

Riverside Hospital
Ottawa Hospital General Campus

For those interested in continuing on further into Ottawa South, exit the Ring Road at the first left which is a car entrance to the grounds of the hospital. Turn right on Roger Guindon Avenue, and follow it all the way to Smyth Road. Across Smyth you will see the start of another bike path. This one is really great, because it travels right across Ottawa South through mostly green space all the way to Walkley Road, and goes past the very impressive Kilborn allotment gardens. Our journey ends here, however for those that wish to travel even further south there are bike lanes along Conroy Road as far as Hunt Club Road. Have a great commute!

Ottawa South

Et voila!

Author: ottawavelo

bicycler

4 thoughts on “Biking from Parliament Hill to Ottawa South”

  1. I enjoy your blog to get ideas for places to explore by bike! Just wondering if you’re familiar with Google Map Maker; it would let you permanently update some of your discoveries on Google maps. I’ve been using it to correct the cycling layer a lot; places that have paved shoulders or pathways that aren’t mapped, or worse yet, places that claim to have paved shoulders but don’t (such as a memorable long-ish section of P.O.W. … yikes). Just thought it might be something you’d enjoy, particularly over the winter to daydream about next year’s rides! Thanks for all the great photos 🙂
    http://www.google.com/mapmaker?tab=MM

    1. Thank for liking my blog, and for the link to Google Map Maker. On quick review it looks like I’ll need some time to figure out how it works. Look forward to seeing what it’s all about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s