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.
Leave Parliament Hill, cross Wellington and head a short distance down Elgin Street.
Turn down the ramp beside the NAC across for the War Memorial, like so.
Ride all the way down the ramp past the NAC stage door, and get on the bike path that runs along the canal.
Take the pedestrian/bike bridge over the canal across from Ottawa of University, like so.
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.
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.
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.
Turn down the first street you come to on your left which will be Graham Avenue. It has a bike lane.
Graham ends at Main Street. The route jogs a bit to the right before continuing as Lees Avenue across the intersection.
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.
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.
Take the path along the transitway bridge over the river, like so.
Follow along the path past the big 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.
Continue along Industrial Avenue, past the giant metal flowers installed in Cancer Survivors Park.
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.
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.
Turn left on Ring Road, which rings around our first destination – the 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!