A fellow cyclist is in need of a winter bike commute route from Barrhaven to the corner of Merivale and Baseline. That’s because the bike path along Greenbank which he follows on his summer commute is full of snow. The green line on the map is his regular summer route. Here’s a description of a winter route I plotted and tested a couple of days after this season’s first big snow fall, identified by the blue line on the map. I started from Merivale & Baseline. The purple line is a slight variation I took on the return trip.
Our journey begins in the parking lot at the end of Granton Avenue that fronts onto Clyde. Granton is accessible via a short, well trodden path to the left of this photo.
I wove my way along quiet residential streets to always-busy Meadowlands Drive. There isn’t a traffic light where Meadowlands intersects Sullivan Avenue, however there is a cross signal half a block east in front of the school which I took advantage of on my return trip as there was no let up in traffic. I also had to use the sidewalks along Meadowlands to get to and from the crosswalk.
I continued down Sullivan and turned west on Novice towards Woodroffe Avenue.
The biggest obstacle to commuters heading south of Ottawa are the two sets of east/west railway tracks. It’s a challenge to choose which of the minimal number of places to get across are the safest. On this route the crossing of the first set of tracks happens along the busy six lane Woodroffe underpass. There are bike lanes along Woodroffe, which were mostly cleared, except for one spot heading south where it suddenly was filled with snow for a short stretch. Up until that spot the sidewalk wasn’t cleared, but now it was, thus the snow in the bike lane. There are bus lanes beside the bike lanes and there weren’t any buses coming up behind me so I managed to bike around the short section of snow filled bike lane. If there were buses roaring up behind me I probably would have chosen the sidewalk.
I continued along the Woodroffe bike lane which was mostly cleared, however the crossing at Hunt Club Road was pretty treacherous with six lanes of impatient traffic meeting six other lanes of impatient traffic. I chose to avoid this intersection on the way back (see purple line on map) which I’ll describe in more detail further down the post. I’ve also been told by a local cyclist that the Woodroffe bike lane between Knoxdale and Hunt Club is often filled with snow due to the limited space between the road and the concrete sound barrier. The purple line detour avoids this as well.
I was pleased to get off of Woodroffe at the entrance to the Nepean Sportsplex, and onto the CLEARED multi-use path that runs along the east side of Woodroffe all the way to Fallowfield Road. And it’s a pretty spectacular ride too. There’s a section that floats through a tall pine wooded area, while the rest is mostly farmland.
There’s a bit of an obstacle course where the path crosses the second set of tracks, but it’s very manageable and safe if navigated slowly.
I crossed at the intersection of Woodroffe and Fallowfield over to the cleared bike path that runs along the north side of Fallowfield to Via Park Place.
At Via Park Place I crossed at the lights over to the very well cleared path that continues along Fallowfield before veering south alongside the Transitway and train tracks.
I got off the path at Berrigan Drive and followed it across Greenbank Road. Greenbank is a busy street, and when there are signs warning drivers about a red light camera as you approach, one can imagine what a frantic intersection it promises to be. I didn’t find it too crazy or dangerous, but I did consider the sidewalk.
I then rode along Wessex and Exeter Road to the round-about at Jockvale Road. I was very pleased to notice a cleared path running along the south side of Jockvale Road, which I followed over the train tracks.
I was impressed to see Barrhaven United Church thriving on another form of heavenly energy – large sections of their roof are covered with solar panels.
Not far beyond the train tracks I turned off the path along this short cleared link that brought me to Pickwick Drive.
I then wove my way along quiet residential streets to my final destination – the corner of Flanders St and Peacock Crescent, deep in the heart of Barrhaven.
Now I had to get back before it got dark! Here’s a view of the farm along the Woodroffe path.
Here’s a description of the detour I took to avoid the crazy Woodroffe/Hunt Club intersection (purple line on the above map): I turned onto the path that runs parallel to the entrance to the Nepean Sportsplex.
The bike path ends at the edge of the parking lot. I biked through the expansive lot to the north/east corner where the path continues for a short distance to a signalized crosswalk that is MUCH more civilized than attempting to cross Hunt Club along Woodroffe.
I then rode along residential streets, popping out onto Woodroffe at Medhurst Drive. Once again the bike lanes were partially cleared. The sidewalk was completely cleared.
Once beyond the train tracks I turned off Woodroffe onto Norice, and retraced my route all the way back to the little path at the end of Granton Avenue that leads to the building at the corner of Baseline and Clyde. Ta-dah!