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.
Byron Avenue runs parallel to busy Richmond Road. Richmond draws most of the commuter car traffic so we headed east along Byron.
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.
We continued along Byron, then turned left along Fraser Avenue and across Richmond at the lights.
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.
This path is poorly maintained. There are cracks that extend across it’s width every few meters creating a very jarring and uncomfortable ride.
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.
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.
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.
Kudos to the Ottawa EcoDistrict and their partners for organizing this great initiative, along with all the riders who participated!
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, which turns into Beechwood Avenue.
UPDATE 2018 : Bike lanes have been added to the full length of Beechwood, indentified by the purple line on the map, which allows for a slightly less circuitous route than the one described below.
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.
There are bike lanes along Montreal Road that end at St Laurent Boulevard heading west.
I turned north on St Laurent and rode down the freshly painted bike lanes.
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.
Headed west along Putnam then left down Vaughan Street, both quiet residential streets 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.
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.
All the more incentive to try out the second stretch of new bike lanes along Sussex Avenue.
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.
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.
There are a number of bike routes one may follow to get to the Ottawa International Airport from downtown.
Here’s my favourite.
Starting off from the corner of Laurier Avenue and Percy I headed south along the Percy Street bike lane. Percy and Laurier is an intersection that’s easily accessible from many points within the business core via the Laurier Bike Lane that slices through downtown.
Percy continues on the opposite side of the tunnel under the Queensway sans bike lane.
I turned right on Fifth Avenue and crossed Bronson Avenue at the traffic lit intersection.
Once across Bronson I continued down Madawask Drive, then onto the pathway that cuts through Commissioners Park.
This path took me to the intersection of Preston Street and Prince of Wales Drive.
I crossed at the lights and accessed the bike path that runs through the Arboretum along the edge of Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal.
I pushed my bike over the canal locks opposite Carleton University and continued west along the Rideau Canal Pathway as far as Mooney’s Bay.
The path continues over the Rideau River along Hogs Back Road.
On the other side of Mooney’s Bay Park the path continues along Riverside Drive for a short distance. Riverside Drive is a very busy street with lots of speeding traffic. For much of its length there are paved raised shoulders between the sidewalk and the street, however these are mostly lacking along the stretch between Walkley Road and Quesnel Drive.
I see lots of cyclists at this intersection whenever I ride through this area. Most stick to the sidewalks because they have little choice, considering the crazy traffic and lack of shoulder space to ride along. This stretch of Riverside is screaming for bike infrastructure.
To avoid this nasty section I rode a short distance along the dirt path beside the sidewalk and crossed Riverside to the parking lot of the Anglican Church.
I rode through to the opposite side of the church parking lot to the short path that cuts through to Otterson Drive.
I rode south along Otterson, then down the short path that links to Quesnel Drive. I then got back on Riverside Drive and continued south along the previously mentioned raised paved shoulders. They extend from Quesnel to Uplands Drive, apart from a few spots where Riverside intersects streets and bus stops.
Then I turned left on Uplands Drive for a short distance before continuing south along Bowesville Road.
Mid way down Bowesville there’s a NO THROUGH TRAFFIC sign, and a smaller green one below it that asks pedestrians and cyclists passing through to remain on the road. That’s because it cuts through the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. There’s a steel gate a bit beyond the signs, however there’s space to ride by just to the right.
Once beyond the golf club property I crossed Hunt Club Road at the lights and continued south along Paul Benoit Driveway. This is a very pleasant road to ride down. Traffic wasn’t too speedy, the posted limit being 50km/h. There is also a paved path that runs along the west side of the road.
To get to the terminal I turned right where Paul Benoit Driveway ends at the airport, straight through the employee parking, then left at the end of the parking lot, which became a lane that airport employees use to walk back and forth to their cars. This lane leads right to the arrivals doors in front of the terminal.
The following concrete pillars located just outside the entrance to the airport at the arrivals doors have bike racks placed up against them.
Bonus – if conditions aren’t right for riding back in to town, there’s the OC Transpo 97 with Rack&Roll you can catch beside the last concrete column at the arrivals entrance.
I retraced my treads on my ride back, except for the last stretch north of the Queensway where the bike lane is along Bayswater versus Percy, as indicated by the purple line on the above map.
UPDATE – summer 2019: For a route heading from the airport to the downtown Byward Market click here.
This past Sunday morning Patrick and I rode along Leitrim Road in an attempt to try to come to terms with this senselessness tragedy. For many there is an overwhelming feeling of apprehension that follow such horrible events. I know people who have given up riding after a friend or loved one was killed or injured while cycling, even though it remains one of the healthiest ways to get around. But when something like this occurs, facts and stats often seem meaningless.
This ride is in memory of Andy Nevin who should never have lost his life on that early Sunday morning.
Blue line is the route we followed to get there. Red is the stretch we rode along Leitrim Road. Purple line is how we got back.
We joined Leitrim where it crosses Bowesville Road on the south side of the airport and headed east as far as Albion Road.
Here’s our ride down Leitrim
Most cars passed us at speeds well above the posted limits. Drivers seem to have a propensity to speed along popular commuter routes such as Leitrim. In such cases relying on signs alone to get drivers to maintain safe speeds is not effective. As Leitrim is a popular commuter route for drivers, so should it be made safe enough for who wish to do so by bike. Leitrim is also the only way to access the northern trailhead of the Osgoode Multi-Use Pathway.
Laura was asking about a bike commute route from the intersection of Woodroffe and Carling Avenues to approximately where Herzberg Road becomes Terry Fox Drive in Kanata. Here’s the route I tested.
Carling & Woodroffe is a busy extended traffic intersection – not the most pleasant place to hang out on a bicycle, so I cut through the parking lot to the north to get to Woodland Ave.
I then zig-zagged my way along quiet residential streets to the northern end of Edgeworth Avenue. There I crossed at the traffic lights to the north side of Richmond. Richmond is usually busy however there are bike lanes that run alongside where it goes up and over the SJAM Parkway.
I then turned north off Richmond onto Regina Lane.
Regina Lane is one way so the return trip would require crossing Richmond a block further west at the lights at Assaly Street, as suggested by the green line on the above map.
I then wove my way north-westerly along residential streets to a path just off Lincoln Heights Road that leads to the Ottawa River Pathway.
I followed the Ottawa River Pathway west all the way to the cross lights at Carling.
On the opposite side of Carling the path becomes Watts Creek Pathway. There is another signalized crosswalk where the path meets Holly Acres Road.
On the other side of Holly Acres I rode along Aero Drive for a hundred yards or so before continuing on Watts Creek pathway.
Watts Creek Pathway rolls along very nicely through wooded area at times within sight of the Queensway.
Once arrived at Corkstown Road the path continues as a packed gravel path on the opposite side of the street for a short distance as far as Moodie Drive. Many choose to ride along Corkstown Road, but it doesn’t have a shoulder and many cars like to speed along this street, so if it isn’t raining or too mucky I take to the path. UPDATE 2017: A great new paved path has been created replacing the packed gravel path! So, no need to bike along Corkstown Road.
Across Moodie Drive, Watts Creek Pathway continues a short distance along Corkstown Road.
I continued along the path under the train tracks versus taking the split towards Carling.
A bit further on I took the exit off the path at the sign indicating Burke Road.
There’s a short section of packed gravel path on the way to to Burke Road.
Burke Road is very short before connecting to Carling Avenue.
There’s a mostly packed gravel & dirt path across Carling from Burke Road. It can get muddy if it’s raining but otherwise, it’s lots of fun to ride along through a forested area and past a golf course.
At one point there’s an unmarked left turn onto a narrow path. I missed it the first time round, which wasn’t a big deal because the path reaches Herzberg Road just a bit further on, which you can take back to Terry Fox Drive, as suggested by the pink line on the above map.
I prefer the short narrow path because it goes by this great old abandoned barn before arriving at where Herzberg Road becomes Terry Fox Drive.
Once arrived at Terry Fox Drive there’s a bike lane I followed the rest of the way to our final destination.
On the way back, rather than take the gravel path, I followed the bike lane along Terry Fox Drive/Hertzberg Road, then along Carling back to Burke Road, as indicated by the purple line on the above map.
If I’m riding at a time when there isn’t much traffic I may choose to continue along the Carling bike lane beyond the Burke Road turn, however where Carling passes under the train tracks the bike lanes disappear, like so. It’s location is indicated by the green drop pin on the above map.
Carling has a lot of speeding traffic, so I usually get back on Burke Road to avoid this tight spot.
Dear reader, if you know of anyone else who is looking for a bike route to work please feel free to forward them this promo:
The Lac-des-Fées Parkway runs along the eastern edge of Gatineau Park. A multi-use pathway runs parallel to it, then curls in to the park at Rue Gamelin, eventually meeting up with the Gatineau Park Pathway. It’a a good commuter route for those living adjacent to the park, as well as a slightly less arduous access to the park than the Gatineau Park Pathway, albeit not as scenic. The tricky part is how to access The Lac-des-Fées Pathway from the south, more specifically the Voyageurs Pathway that runs along the mighty Ottawa River. Here’s how.
Riding along the Voyageurs Pathway heading west there’s a sign indicating Rue Millar.
Right across Rue Millar there’s a path through cozy little Parc Baker.
The path through Parc Baker brings you to Boulevard Alexandre-Taché, one of the worst roads to ride along in the entire Outaouais. Fortunately Alexandre-Taché needn’t be followed for very long, and there’s a sidewalk to follow that goes over the train tracks.
Just beyond the tracks there’s a desire line path that crosses in front of the Salaberry Armory.
This leads to Boulevard St-Joseph, another less than spectacular riding experience, with many-a-pothole and cross town traffic, but far less insane than Alexandre-Taché. It also requires following for just a short stint before arriving at the FIP sign pointing to Promenade du Lac-des-Fées along quiet residential Rue Duquesne.
Then, hop! – you’re onto the Lac-des-Fées Pathway.
On the way back things get a little convoluted as Rue Duquesne is a one way heading west. This requires weaving one block south to Rue Graham, as indicated by the purple line on the above map, and the photo below.
Here’s a bike commute route from the Glebe to Pineview or, more specifically, from the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Bank Street, to Innes and Blair Road. Pineview is one of the trickiest areas of Ottawa to access by bike from points west and north. That’s because Highway 417 divides it from the western part of the city, while the Queensway separates it from the north.
Blue line on the following map traces the route I followed to get from the Glebe to Pineview, purple line is an alternate route I rode on the way back, and green line is a section I followed on the return trip.
UPDATE– 2017: The transitway bridge over the Rideau River is closed off while the new transitway is being constructed. The orange line is a detour I would take to where one can cross the river.
And off we go! To begin I headed straight down Fourth Avenue towards the Rideau Canal and turned south on O’Connor to access the bike lane that runs along Fifth Avenue to the signalized intersection across busy Queen Elizabeth Drive.
Rode north along the Rideau Canal path and crossed at Pretoria Bridge, which has a bike lane.
That took me to the intersection of Hawthorne Avenue and Colonel By, on the east side of the bridge. Things get a little tricky at this spot. If traffic is heavy, as it tends to be at rush hour, I cross to the opposite corner and walk my bike for a short distance along the sidewalk to where it veers left along Echo Drive, like so.
On this occasion, as traffic wasn’t too bad, I chose 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.
I then turned onto the first street heading east which is 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. I rode to the end of Springhurst to get on this stone dust path and veered left for a short distance along the edge of the Rideau River as far as the Transitway bridge.
I took the path along the transitway bridge over the river, like so.
Once on the other side of the river I turned right, circled under the bridge, and headed east along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway. I turned off the path at the sign pointing to River Road.
I then turned east onto Presland Road. There’s a pedestrian cross signal to get across the Vanier Parkway.
I continued all the way down Presland which became Hardy Rd.
At the end of Hardy I wove my way north-east a few blocks and crossed St Laurent Boulevard at Donald St. It’s a four lane intersection, but not for too long beyond St Laurent. I then wove my way further north-east along quiet residential streets to Gardenvale Road, off of which there is a short path that takes you to the Aviation Pathway.
I then crossed Aviation Parkway at the entrance to Cité Collégiale and rode along its narrow but adequate bike lane for a short distance as far as the pathway that links to Meadowcroft Crescent, which I took.
Wove my way along quiet residential streets to the three way stop at Matheson Road and Bathgate Drive. On the other side of the intersection there’s a link to a recently created path that goes around massive ominous works of architecture that make up the new CSIS headquarters campus. The buildings can be viewed from the path but, as the huge signs on the perimeter fence clearly indicate, not photographed! So this shot is looking back towards the intersection after crossing Bathgate.
The path ends at Ogilvie road, which I crossed at the lights, and worked my way through the giant mall parking lot to the Blair transitway pedestrian bridge over the Queensway.
The entrance to the transitway is on the east side. The bridge is one level up, accessible by elevator or stairs.
One is expected to walk your bike over the bridge.
On the south side of the bridge there is a meandering path that crosses Stonehenge Crescent on its way to Innes Road.
I turned east onto Stonehenge Crescent, then through Pineview Estates that came out onto Blair Road very close to our destination the intersection of Blair and Innes.
On my way back I followed Ogilvie Road, which becomes Coventry Road on the other side of St Laurent Boulevard, as suggested by the purple line on the above map. Now on first blush one might think it preferable to take this more direct route between Hardy St and the mall parking that leads to the pedestrian bridge. There are bike lanes along Ogilve Road, however Ogilvie is a 4-6 lane highway wannabe. Here’s what it’s like as seen from the bike lane along ogilvie just west of Blair. Lots of trucks too.
They are building segregated bike lanes along Coventry which will make the section between St laurent and Hardy much safer than it previously was. Whether this will change the intersection of St Laurent and Ogilvie/Coventry from remaining a hornets nest of traffic, we shall see.
The green line on the above 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.