This week I learnt that finding a safe route across the three busy east-west arteries of Carling Avenue, the Queensway and Baseline Road, anywhere between Prince of Wales Drive and Pinecrest Road is a tricky endeavour.
My search was spurred on by a request for suggestions on biking from Notre Dame High School in Highland Park over to Parkwood Hills. The blue line on the map below is a route with some rough spots I am comfortable biking through, however the request also needed to accommodate three travellers: one adult, one child passenger, and another child on their own bike. With two kids of my own, I would not recommend this route with bambinos in tow. But, that’s a judgement call, so I’ve included it below, with a description of the tricky spots. It’s identified by the blue line on the map. I’d suggest an adult solo dry run first.
I also tried a much safer route that I would feel comfortable taking my kids, however it’s more circuitous. See red line on map below.
And away we go.
There is a crosswalk at Broadview and Carling. One major artery down.
The area east of Broadview between Carling and the Queensway appears to be zoned as light industrial. The streets I followed through this area (Kerr, Boyd and Dobbie) didn’t have a lot of traffic, but there are trucks and big potholes that go with them. This is the first zone I would hesitate to ride through with my kids.
Things get a little scarier passing under the Queensway along Clyde Avenue as it is a funnel through to another industrial zone on the other side. No designated shoulder and more trucks. The sidewalk might be an option to consider.
I then cut through Carlington Park by riding along the stone dust path that goes around the perimeter of the baseball field.
The area east of Calington Park is mostly residential with a few small industries hugging the edge of the park. Edgecliffe Avenue is a gradual climb up to Morisset Avenue. There is a link to the Experimental Farm Pathway halfway down Morisset.
I turned left onto the Experimental Farm Pathway and followed it for a short distance through a wooded area before taking a right along a path link that goes into a residential area called Central Park.
There is a bike path that cuts through from Whitestone Drive to Central park Drive, and then through Celebration Park to Central Park drive which loops around. One could also just stay on Central Park Drive. I then turned on to Scout Street and followed it to a path that cuts through to the Supercentre mall parking lot.
This path eventually merges into the mall entrance street that I followed to the traffic lights across Baseline. This is another area I would hesitate riding through with my kids, as drivers tend to be much less predictable in mall parking lots.
Immediately across the intersection on the north side of Baseline, there’s a short ‘desire line’ path that links to the Loblaws mall parking lot.
I followed a lane that goes behind the Loblaws to avoid having to ride amongst folks frantically parking their cars. This brought me around to the lights at Merivale. Once through the lights there’s a path just a short distance along that turns off to the left.
This path took me to Eleanor Drive. I then worked my way up Leaver Ave and Beaver Ridge. The request was from Notre Dame High School to Parkwood Hills, which I’ve taken the liberty to mean Parkwood Hills Public School. At the top of Beaver Ridge just beyond Capilano there’s a dirt path through to the small streets around Huron Towers. I followed this to avoid having to ride along Meadowlands Drive, a busy street that’s always felt dangerous to ride along, especially while it’s presently under construction.
The path came to the entrance lane to the Huron Towers. I followed it to Meadowlands where there is a cross signal to Tiverton Drive, and our destination, Parkwood Hills School.