Biking to the Ottawa Train Station from Centretown

The Ottawa Train Station is located a few kilometers outside of downtown. Here is a bike route to get there from Centretown.

I started off from the intersection of Laurier & Bronson avenues and headed east along the Laurier Bike Lane.

Laurier Bike lane starting at Bronson Ave
Laurier Bike Lane starting at Bronson Avenue

After passing in front of City Hall I took the exit towards Queen Elizabeth Drive and got on to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway.

Exit ramp off Laurier just beyond City Hall
Crossing Queen Elizabeth Drive to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway

I rode south along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway before crossing the canal over the Corktown bridge.

Up and over the Corktown Bridge

I traversed Colonel By Drive at the pedestrian lights and rode under the Nicholas Street tunnel, then up through the University of Ottawa campus.

Crossing Colonel By Drive towards the tunnel under Nicholas Street

After crossing King Edward Avenue at the traffic lights I rode straight down Somerset East before heading up and over the Rideau River on the Adawe Bridge.

Heading down Somerset Street East
Riding over the Adawe Bridge

On the opposite side of the river I turned right onto the Rideau River Easten Pathway.

Rideau River Easten Pathway

Just after riding under the Queensway along the Rideau River Easten Pathway I turned left onto a packed gravel path that leads to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road.

Gravel path off the Rideau River Eastern Pathway

Crossing the Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection is the least pleasant spot along this route. Something about Riverside Drive seems to compel drivers to become impatient speedsters. The oncoming left lane is also a Queensway off ramp with a yield sign to compel drivers to let you cross. There used to be a path that went over Riverside Drive, thus avoiding this intersection, but it is blocked off (temporarily I hope) as the new transit line is being constructed.

Approach to Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection
Crossing Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection

Once through the intersection I continued along the sidewalk that runs parallel to Tremblay before it becomes a paved path leading up to the train station.

Path along Tremblay up to the train station

I passed all the taxis lining the circular approach to the front of the station to get to where there is a bike rack just to the left of the main doors. This location, along with the security camera hanging right above it, provides me with the confidence to leave my bike locked up to the rack when I go away on a train trip for a few days. It’s a huge improvement from a long time ago when the only option was to lock your bike to a post near the poorly lit car parking lot. That’s where I discovered my bike was stolen after returning from a weekend trip to Montreal. The bike rack out front is much better.

Bike parking at the train station

On the way back I retraced my route, except for the section along Laurier in front of City Hall. That’s because when heading west along the Laurier Bike Lane, the safe segregated section only starts at Elgin and Laurier. To get there I cut through Confederation Park as indicated by the purple line on the above map.

If anyone needs a bike route to the station from another area of town, send me a starting reference point by email or via the ‘Leave a comment’ tag.

Bike route from Greenboro to Downtown

Greenboro is a residential community located just south of Johnston Road and west of Conroy Road. Here’s a route I tested out that’ll get you from Greenboro to downtown.

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I started off from the Greenboro Community Centre and headed west towards Bank Street, following a selection of the many multi-use paths that weave their way through the community.

Path through Greenboro
Path through Greenboro

After crossing Albion Road and cutting through Pushman Park, I turned right on Pebble Road then Left on South Keys Place to Clearwater Crescent. Across Clearwater Crescent there are a series of paths that cut through to Southgate Road.

Shortcuts
Shortcuts

I rode north on Southgate for half a block before turning into the lane heading into a housing complex called Southgate Square. This I followed a short distance to Bank Street.

Laneway into Southgate Square
Laneway into Southgate Square

The next section of the route is less than stellar. That’s because there is no clear safe way to bike across Bank Street to access the Sawmill Creek Pathway on the opposite side of the South Keys Shopping Mall.

Once at the end of the driveway there is a shortcut that I took up and on to the sidewalk along Bank.

Path to Bank St at the end of Southgate Square laneway
Path to Bank St at the end of Southgate Square laneway

I followed the sidewalk south a short distance to the traffic lights across Bank Street into the South Keys Mall parking lot. The only crossing is on the south side of the intersection. I stayed along the sidewalk on the other side until I was able to access the parking lot.

Sidewalk along Bank to lights....crosswalk at the lights to South Keys Mall
Sidewalk along Bank to lights….crosswalk at the lights to South Keys Mall

Access to the Sawmill Creek Pathway is though a tunnel under the O-Train tracks at the south end of the mall, so I rode through the mall parking lot to get there. The sign at the entrance to the tunnel is confusing, however I have Tweeted confirmation from OC-Transpo that it is meant to be interpreted as ‘no riding your bike’, versus ‘no bikes allowed at all’.

Tunnel under Otrain to Sawmill Pathway..and it's confusing sign
Tunnel under Otrain to Sawmill Pathway..and it’s confusing sign

Beyond the tunnel is the Sawmill Creek Pathway, which is wonderful to ride along all the way to where it intersects the Brookfield Pathway.

Sawmill Creek Pathway - I stayed right
Sawmill Creek Pathway – I stayed right

I turned left at the Brookfield Path intersection which eventually brought me to the Brookfield Road round-about.

Brookfield path towards the round-about
Brookfield path towards the round-about

I negotiated the round-about and continued west along Brookfield Road, which isn’t the greatest of roads to ride along. It’s four lanes to Riverside Drive that most drivers tend to speed along. There is no bike infrastructure, even though there is ample room for bike lanes on either side, which would be a huge asset toward encouraging cyclists, particularly since Brookfield High School is half way along this stretch of road. Rather than ride along the road, many riders continue along the round-about to the sidewalk on the south side of Brookfield, which may be a multi-use path considering it is paved and wider in stretches, but I’m not sure. Here are a couple of riders along Brookfield using both methods.

Brookfield Road. Some go on the left, some stay on the right
Brookfield Road. Some go on the left, some stay on the right

I crossed Riverside Drive and continued along the path beside Hog’s Back Road, which is identified as a shared pathway. That said, the path on the south side is commonly used by riders heading west as it is also paved and twice as wide.

Path along Hog's Back Road
Path along Hog’s Back Road

I stayed on the pathway heading north along Hog’s Back Road. Once arrived at Hog’s Back Falls, one may take the path that goes under Hog’s Back Road and pops up along the multi use path on opposite side over the falls. I’ve hi-lited this option in purple on the above map. This tends to be the more popular option.
I sometimes prefer to cross the falls on the east side as it affords a spectacular view over Hogs Back Falls. Only inconvenience is the requirement to carry your bike down a short flight of stairs.

Hogs Back Falls
Hogs Back Falls

The path dips under Hog’s Back Road then down along the Rideau Canal.

Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway
Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway

I then crossed the canal at the locks near Carleton University. There is a metal u-channel to push your bike up the flight of stairs that gets you to the locks.

Up the stairs...to the locks
Up the stairs…to the locks

I then rode down the hill along the canal before taking the first gravel path inland. Normally I would continue along the paved path beside the canal, as suggested by the red line on the above map, but at the time I rode this route there was construction along the Champagne Path beside the O-Train so I needed to detour west of the path before joining up with it further north. UPDATE: May 13 – Path has been re-opened between Carling and Young St, so the red line on the above map is accessible. 

Path through the Arboretum
Path through the Arboretum
 Young St access to the get to the path beside the O-Train
Young St access to the get to the path beside the O-Train

I then rode along the path to it’s northern end before it turned right and headed up to where it links to the path along Albert Street.

Path along the O-Train just before it heads right up up to Scott St
Path along the O-Train just before it heads right up up to Albert St

I followed the path along Albert Street as far as the crosswalk that leads towards the Laurier Bike Lanes.

Crosswalk along Albert St
Crosswalk along Albert St

The path continues through the intersection at Bronson & Slater before eventually cutting through to the Laurier Bike Lanes.

Bronson & Slater intersection
Bronson & Slater intersection

The laurier Bike Lanes cut west to east across downtown as far as City Hall.

Laurier Bike Lane heading east
Laurier Bike Lane heading east

Et voila!

N.B. Here is another route I have ridden, however there are a few spots to beware of:

  • Conroy Road has bike lanes, but it is a major arterial road with lots of speedy traffic
  • There is lots of construction around Hurdman Station and Ottawa University for the LRT expansion, requiring some not-so-pleasant detours. These detours are described in the post immediately preceding this one, i.e. Bike Route From Centretown to CHEO

Bike Route from Centretown to CHEO

Here’s a route from the corner of Somerset & Elgin to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
The blue line on the map below is the route I followed. A lot of road and path construction is happening between our start and finish points. The green line is the route I would take after all the construction dust settles, described in more detail within this earlier post (click).

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UPDATE – May 4: The underpass from the canal to Ottawa University was closed for construction on May 2nd and will remain so for four months as the city adapts Nicholas st to accommodate the new transit system. The city has suggested possible detours. I tried out the most feasible detour for this route and shown it as an orange line on the above map.

 

Somerset&Elgin
Away we go!

I rode down Somerset to the canal and crossed over the Corktown Footbridge.

Corktown Bridge
View downtime canal through the love locks

I then crossed Colonel By Drive. The closed underpass is visible on the right in the image below. The orange detour sign points north along Colonel By Drive.

Detour start
Detour

The paved path along Colonel By Drive leads up to one of the city’s worst intersections – Nicholas and Laurier. The bike lane coming over from Laurier disappears, only to be replaced by a painted sharrow, suggesting riders ride in the middle of this busy road for the block between Nicholas and Waller. I chose the well worn desire path to the right of the sidewalk once across the intersection.

Nicholas & Laurier
Detour continues through Laurier & Nicholas intersection

The bike lane along Laurier re-appears east of Waller…. sort of…. It’s worn down, barely visible. Taking to the sidewalk may be a safer option.

Laurier lane
White splotches of paint are supposed to suggest a bike lane

The detour then cuts south again through the Ottawa U campus before joining Marie Curie Private, where the detour ends.

Detour through Ottawa U
Detour through Ottawa U campus

I continued straight along Marie Curie, across King Edward at the lights, then down Somerset all the way to the Rideau River and the Adawe pedestrian/cyclist bridge.

Somerset.jpg
Looking down Somerset just east of King Edward
Adawa 1.jpg
Adawe Bridge

 

Adawa 2
View from the bridge

Once arrived on the eastern shore I turned right and followed the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Rideau River path.jpg
Rideau River Eastern Pathway

After passing under the Hurdman Bridge I turned off the path and rode along the detour past the major construction happening in and around the Hurdman transit station. This path is mostly crushed gravel.

Hurdman
Crushed gravel detour around Hurdman Station

The path becomes paved and continues through to the major traffic intersection at Riverside Drive and Industrial Avenue. Once across Riverside Drive I continued along the path that runs along Industrial Avenue beside the memorial to victims of cancer.

path beyond Riverside
Path along Industrial Avenue

After crossing Alta Vista Drive the path then veers off to the right away from busy Industrial Avenue.

path off Industrial
Path off Industrial at Alta Vista intersection

I then followed Coronation Avenue for a very short distance before turning on to Station Boulevard. At the end of Station Boulevard there is a path that cuts through to the ring road that circles the CHEO campus.

path to cheo
Path at the end of Station Boulevard

I then followed the ring road around to the main entrance of the hospital. Because there are no shoulders along the ring road one may feel more comfortable cutting through the parking lots, as suggested by the yellow line on the above map. I noticed a couple of bike racks right near a small playground, indicated by the yellow drop on the map.

CHEO.jpg

Et voila!

Biking from the Glebe to Centretown

Here’s a suggested bike route from the Glebe to Centretown, in response to a request from a cyclist in search of a commute route that avoids having to ride along busy Bronson Avenue or Bank Street. This ride begins at the intersection of Holmwood Avenue and Craig Street and ends at the intersection of Bank Street and Somerset Street West.

View up Craig St from Holmwood Ave
View up Craig Street from Holmwood

Head north along Craig St. There’s a short jog left where Craig meets Fifth Ave before the route continues north along Percy Street.

Craig to Percy
Jog in the road from Craig to Percy

There is often a fair amount of traffic along Percy Street heading through the Glebe, and there are no bike lanes, however stop signs at almost every intersection seem to help keep drivers calm.

percy
View down Percy through the Glebe

A bike lane appears just before Percy continues under the Queensway. It requires easing your way over to the centre of the street. There are traffic lights to help get across the busy three lane speed strip that is Chamberlain Ave.

lane under queensway
Percy at Chamberlain

The bike path continues bi-directionally along Percy under the Queensway, however the northbound bike lane disappears a few blocks later at Flora St.

Flora
Northbound bike lane along Percy ending at Flora St

Turn east on Flora, then continue north along Bay St, which has a bike lane.

Percy bike lane
Bike lane along Percy

This stretch of Bay goes past the Powers House designed by architect Francis Sullivan. Sullivan worked with Frank Lloyd Wright before settling in Ottawa. If the works of Sullivan strike your fancy there’s a tour with visits to this and other buildings he designed within Ottawa that can be found by clicking here.

Powers house
The Powers House

The trickiest part of this route is encountered at the intersection of Bay & Gladstone where there aren’t any traffic lights to help get across busy Gladstone. You have to wait for a break in traffic.

The next busy street to get across is Somerset a few blocks further north along Bay. UPDATE – June 22, 2016: A cross walk with pedestrian activated lights has just been installed at this intersection that greatly facilitate traversing busy Somerset.

Crosswalk Bay & Somerset
Crosswalk at the intersection of Somerset and Bay

Once across Somerset, continue for a block along Percy, then turn right on to Cooper St. Cooper is a quiet one way street. The next two streets that require crossing are Lyon St and Kent St, both of which are one ways that drivers fly along on their way in or out of Centretown. No cross lights at these intersections but the gaps in traffic tend to be quite generous due to lights being one block away. Being one-ways there is also less traffic to contend with.

Once arrived at Bank Street I recommend walking your bike the final block to Somerset because Bank & Somerset is a pretty crazy intersection with cars and buses squeezing around each other or jumping the lights. You can also lock up to one of these sidewalk bike racks.

Bank St bike rack
Bank St bike rack

OR you can lock up to this fine bike rack in front of the Independent Grocery, also popularly known as Hartman’s.

Bike rack at Bank & Somerset
Bike rack at Bank & Somerset

Heading home, walk another short block along Bank to MacLaren, another quiet one way heading west, and follow it all the way to Percy. Another fine building encountered on this route along MacLaren is the old St Elijah’s Antiochia Orthodox church that was successfully converted into apartments, while maintaining it’s original outer form and aesthetic. It’s at the corner of Lyon and MacLaren right across from Dundonald Park, a.k.a. The Beer Store Park.

Speed bump hoping in front of the old St Elijah's Antiochia Orthodox church
Speed bump hoping in front of the old St Elijah’s Antiochia Orthodox church

Once arrived at Percy St, head southwardly along the bike lane back to the Glebe. Fortunately there are lights at the intersections of Somerset and Gladstone along Percy.

et voila!

Biking down Nanny Goat Hill

Nanny Goat Hill is a rise of rock that cuts through a section of Centretown, separating Chinatown from Lebretton Flats. It is roughly defined by the yellow line on the map below and extends from Bronson Ave to Somerset St. A longstanding challenge for many cyclists heading north or west has been how to negotiate a safe way down this mini-precipice.

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One of the few options that avoids having to dismount your bike is to take the steep hill down Bronson, identified by the red line on the above map. But Bronson is filled with speeding traffic at all times of the day flying blindly over the crest of the hill, except at rush hour when it tends to look like this:

Traffic jam on Nanny Goat Hill along Bronson
Traffic jam on Nanny Goat Hill along Bronson

The recently opened path link that cuts below Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden connecting the Laurier Bike Lanes to the Albert Street Bike Lanes, as per the purple line on the map, has done wonders to facilitate avoiding Bronson. It is also the safest option of all for those pulling a trailer. Here is a clip starting from the intersection of Laurier and Bronson down to the Albert Street Bike Lanes.

Another north-south option is to take the set of stairs that joins the upper and lower sections of Empress St, as shown in orange on the above map. This set of stairs has a trough along which you can push your bike.

Stairs with bike trough joining upper and lower sections of Empress St
Stairs with bike trough joining upper and lower sections of Empress St

Many cyclists ride east-west down Somerset, as per the light blue line on the map, however I’ve seen a number of cyclists get hit by drivers along this stretch. I’ve also seen a cyclist get doored by a someone getting out of their parked car, as well as many other close calls along Somerset. It’s a popular commute route where aggressive drivers have been known to threaten cyclists who dare to take the lane. Suffice to say it is not one I would recommend.

My preferred east-west option is to carry one’s bike down the stairs that join the two sections of Primrose – see dark blue line on the map. While much safer than riding down Somerset, this set of stairs unfortunately doesn’t have a trough which makes it difficult for those with heavier bikes, loaded panniers or little kids in tow.

Stairs joining upper and lower sections of Primrose
Stairs joining upper and lower sections of Primrose

Et voila – a few options to get down or around this challenging geographical feature.

Bike commute from the intersection of Woodroffe Ave & Richmond Road to Downtown

The Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict organized a great event to promote bike commuting, as well as hi-lite potential improvements to infrastructure that will further encourage cycling to work. Groups of riders started off from various locations around town and arrived at the final destination – City Hall, where the mayor and a number of city councillors were there to greet us. Our group of three started off from the intersection of Woodroffe Avenue and Richmond Road. Here’s the route we followed, along with observations for potential areas of improvement that we made along the way.


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Byron Avenue runs parallel to busy Richmond Road. Richmond draws most of the commuter car traffic so we headed east along Byron.

Start from Woodroffe Ave
Start from Woodroffe Ave

There is the odd aggressive driver along Byron that many potential cycling commuters understandably prefer to avoid at all cost. An alternative solution would be to follow the shared multi-use path that runs between Byron and Richmond. One disadvantage of this path is that it starts 10 meters east of Woodroffe along a sidewalk that passes in front of a bus shelter. A solution would be for the path to start at Woodroffe extending behind the bus shelter.

Start of path beyond bus shelter..........path looking west
Start of path beyond bus shelter……….path looking west

We continued along Byron, then turned left along Fraser Avenue and across Richmond at the lights.

Lights at Fraser & Richmond
Lights at Fraser & Richmond

We rode to the end of Fraser, then one block back along Skead St to access the paved link onto the multi-use path that runs along the south side of the SJAM Parkway.

Access path off Skead
Access path off Skead

This path is poorly maintained. There are cracks that extend across it’s width every few meters creating a very jarring and uncomfortable ride.

Bumpy path
Bumpy path

We rode along this path as far Westboro Beach where we crossed under the parkway to the much better maintained Ottawa River Pathway.

The crossing at River Street was noted as a potentially dangerous spot, identified by the red marker on the above map. The path takes a quick turn just before reaching this intersection. Cyclists who notice and take heed of the miniature stop sign are quickly overtaken by cyclists approaching from behind.

Intersection at River Street
Intersection at River Street

Good to see the gaps have been filled between the path and the ends of the small wooden bridge just to the west of the War Museum.

Filled in gap at edge of wooden bridge
Filled in gap at edge of wooden bridge

The rest of the ride was smooth sailing. We followed the path below Parliament Hill then up beside along canal before cutting through Confederation park to City Hall.

Arrivée!
Arrivée!

Kudos to the Ottawa EcoDistrict and their partners for organizing this great initiative, along with all the riders who participated!

Yeah team Woodroffe&Richmond!
Yeah team Woodroffe&Richmond!

Bike commute from Aviation Parkway & Montreal Road to Downtown – Option 2

In the Spring of 2014 I posted a bike commute route from the intersection of Aviation Parkway & Montreal Road to downtown which you can check out by clicking here.

This summer two new lengths of bike lanes along busy roads have been introduced that allow for a less circuitous route. The first set of new lanes are along St Laurent Boulevard, linking previously existing bike lanes that run along Montreal Road and Hemlock Road.

The second set of new lanes encountered on this outing are along Sussex Drive that complete an important bike link from downtown to the Ottawa River Pathway.

I tried out the route one morning last week during commute hour. Here’s how it went.

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There are bike lanes along Montreal Road that end at St Laurent Boulevard heading west.

DCIM100GOPRO
Bike lane along Montreal Road

I turned north on St Laurent and rode down the freshly painted bike lanes. A more detailed description of these new lanes can be found on the web site of the local city councillor by clicking here.

Bike lane along St Laurent Boulevard
Bike lane along St Laurent Boulevard

Here’s a clip of my ride along the new bike lane along St Laurent heading north.

I turned left onto Hemlock Road and followed the bike lane to where it ends at Putman Avenue.

Bike lane along Hemlock
Bike lane along Hemlock

Headed west along Putnam then left down Vaughan Street, both quiet residential streets through New Edinburgh.

Riding through New Edinburgh
Riding through New Edinburgh

Vaughan ends at Crichton Street. A short jog west along Crichton took me to a gravel path that links to the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Gravel path off Crichton that leads to.....the Rideau River Pathway
Gravel path off Crichton that leads to…..the Rideau River Eastern Pathway

One of my favourite routes from New Edinburgh to downtown takes me over the series of little white bridges along Union Street, then cuts through Lowertown, as described in the other route, however the bridges are presently under major renovation.

Closed for construction
Closed for construction

All the more incentive to try out the second stretch of new bike lanes along Sussex Avenue.

Bike lane along Sussex
Bike lane along Sussex

I then turned in to the parking lane of the National Gallery and cut across the plaza where one can admire Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture Maman.

Maman
Maman

Here’s another clip, this time of the new section of bike lane along Sussex heading in to town.

I then crossed at the signalized pedestrian crosswalk over to the bike lanes that run along Majors Hill Park. Before crossing the Alexandra Bridge (which would be a fine thing to do if your commute was to Gatineau) I turned left onto the road that goes down to where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River and walked my bike over the second set of locks. From there one can follow the Ottawa River Pathway to points further west along the river, or bike up along the canal towards the NAC and the rest of downtown.

Et voila!

Rideau Canal locks
Rideau Canal locks