Bike commute from The Glebe to Gloucester High School

Chris was wondering what route I would choose to get from Fifth and Bank in the Glebe over to Gloucester High School in the east end of town. It’s a tricky ride. The challenge lies in figuring out safe ways to cross a number of major north-south arteries including the Rideau Canal, the Rideau River, the Vanier Parkway, St Laurent Boulevard and the Aviation Parkway, without the route becoming too erratic. I also wanted to avoid bicycling down busy streets. Here’s what I came up with. Blue line shows how I got there. Red lines are variations I took on the way back.

All set to go!
All set to go!

Headed straight down Fifth Avenue towards the Canal. Crossing Queen Elizabeth Drive to get to the path along the canal can take awhile if traffic is heavy, however this will be alleviated when traffic lights are installed at the intersection this summer. UPDATE – July 2014: Signalled crossing is in!

Rode north along the path and crossed at Pretoria Bridge, which has a bike lane.

Up and over Pretoria Bridge
Up and over Pretoria Bridge

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 bad I recommend crossing to the opposite corner and walking your bike for a short distance along the sidewalk to where it veers left along Echo Drive, like so.

Making your way over to Echo Drive
Making your way over to Echo Drive

I then turned down the first street on the left which is Graham Avenue. It has a bike lane.

Graham Ave
Graham Ave

Three quarters of the way down Graham Ave, before reaching Main Street, I took a shortcut through the parking lot of the school on the right to avoid Main as much as possible.

Shortcut
Shortcut

Unfortunately I had to ride along Main for a block before turning left onto Springhurst Avenue. UPDATE – Summer 2017: There are now protected bike lanes along Main Street.

When traffic is heavy along Main, as it tends to be at rush hour, I cross at these lights at Evelyn Avenue and walk my bike along the sidewalk to Springhurst. UPDATE – Oct 2014: A section of Lees, joined at the end of Graham, now has a bike lane heading east, as described in this post, providing an alternative to riding along Main. There is no bike lane along Lees heading west so I took Evelyn Ave on the way back, as per the above map, thus avoiding riding along dangerous Main and Lees.

Main St. Turn of to Springhurst is at the red brick building
Main St. Turn off to Springhurst is at the red brick building

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. 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 shown as an orange line on the above map.

Path at the end of Springhurst
Path at the end of Springhurst

I took the path along the transitway bridge over the river, like so.

Bridge over the Rideau River
Bridge over the Rideau River

Once on the other side of the river I turned right, circled under the bridge, and headed east along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

The path under the Queensway remains accessible while they continue with construction, however the passageway under the scaffolding is pretty narrow so watch out for oncoming traffic.

Path under Queensway
Path under Queensway

I turned off the path at the sign pointing to River Road.

Exit
Exit

I turned right off River Road onto Presland. There’s a pedestrian cross signal to get across the Vanier Parkway.

Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway
Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway

I continued all the way down Presland which became Hardy Rd.

Presland Road - nice quiet street.
Presland Road – nice quiet street.

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 4 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.

Path off Gardenvale....up to Aviation Pathway
Path off Gardenvale….up to Aviation Pathway

I then crossed Aviation Parkway at the entrance to the Cité Collégiale and rode along its narrow but adequate bike lane into the centre of campus.

Road into the centre of La cité collégiale campus
Road into the centre of La cité collégiale campus

I rode through the campus, turned left on Bathgate Drive, then turned right into the National Research Council campus.

Riding on Bathgate just before the turn onto the NRC campus
Riding on Bathgate just before the turn onto the NRC campus

Wove my way through the NRC campus, then turned right on Blair, which is a speedy two lane road, but I only followed it for a short bit and it has a bike lane.

Bike lane on Blair Road
Bike lane on Blair Road

Turned left into the quiet residential area of Cardinal Heights along Mowat St, then right on Crownhill St, and finally left on Appleford St which brought me right to Gloucester High School. Ta-da!

Gloucester High School seen from Appleford St and Ogilvie Road
Gloucester High School seen from Appleford St and Ogilvie Road

Now on first blush one might think it preferable to take the more direct route from the end of Hardy St along Coventry Road and Ogilvie Road beyond St Laurent Blvd. There is a bike lane along Ogilve Road as indicated on Google Maps bike layer, however Ogilvie Road is a 4-6 lane highway wannabe, and the bike lane ends at Blair Road heading east. I took this route heading back. Here’s what it’s like just west of Blair. Lots of trucks too.

Ogilvie Road just west of Blair.
Ogilvie Road just west of Blair.

Coventry Road doesn’t have a bike lane, and this is what St Laurent looks like from Ogilvie looking across to Coventry.

St Laurent looking across to Coventry Road
St Laurent looking across to Coventry Road

Google maps estimated the alternate route I chose through Cite Colégiale and the NRC would take an additional 10 minutes versus heading straight down Coventry and Ogilvie.

So there you have it. It was nice to get back on Presland.

Presland2

Bike commute from the intersection of Aviation Parkway & Montreal Road to Downtown

Chris was wondering if I could recommend a safe route from the intersection of Aviation Parkway and Montreal Road to the path below Parliament Hill. Here’s what I came up with. Blue line on the map is the route I followed. Red line is an alternate route described in more detail on the May 15th ‘Bike commute from Rockcliffe Park to Downtown and Chinatown‘ post.

Our journey begins at the North/West corner of the Aviation Parkway and Montreal Road, across from the CMHC headquarters where I joined the Aviation Parkway Path and headed north.

Access to the Aviation Pathway at the north/west corner of Montreal Road and the Aviation Parkway
Access to the Aviation Pathway at the north/west corner of Montreal Road and the Aviation Parkway

The path weaves it’s way through a wooded area. Just before the path exits the wooded area there is a short unmarked dirt path that turns off to the left. This path brought me to Truro St.

Dirt path along Aviation Pathway
Dirt path along Aviation Pathway

I turned left on Truro, then right on Britany Drive. I followed Britany Drive down to where it crosses St Laurent Boulevard. There are painted yellow dots on the asphalt at this intersection. Stopping your bike above these dots activates the timer for the lights to change.

Yellow dots at the intersection of Britany Drive and St Laurent.
Yellow dots at the intersection of Britany Drive and St Laurent.

I crossed St Laurent and continued straight on Dunbarton Ct which eventually turns to the left. A bit further on I turned right onto a lane covered with pavers with an open waffle pattern. The lane is a short bumpy connection to Pauline Charron Pl. UPDATE- November 2016 – The connection has been rendered un-bumpy!

Lane connecting Dunbarton Ct & Pauline Charron Pl
Lane connecting Dunbarton Ct & Pauline Charron Pl

I followed Pauline Charron to a path off to the right that cuts through Richelieu Park over to the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre parking lot.

Path into Richelieu Park
Path into Richelieu Park

I continued through the parking lot past the crowned statue of Mary dressed in blue, and down Pères Blancs Ave. as far as it went to Marier Ave.

Through the parking lot, around past Mary in blue
Through the parking lot, around past Mary in blue

I turned left on Marier, past the house with the wild collection of plastic lawn ornaments.

Left on Marier
Left on Marier

Just a bit further on I turned right on Hannah St.

Turn right on Hannah. Don't know this guy. Sheer coincidence he rode by as I took the picture.
Turning right on Hannah. Don’t know this cyclist. He rode by as I took the picture.

I continued a short distance along Hannah St and turned right onto Deschamps Ave.

Turning right on Deschamps. Don't know this guy either. Lots of riders in Vanier!
Turned right on Deschamps, just like this cyclist. Lots of riders in Vanier!

I crossed the busy Vanier Parkway at the signalled crosswalk at the end of Deschamps Avenue. This is a much safer location to cross than either Montreal Road or St Patrick St.

Crosswalk at Vanier Parkway
Crosswalk at Vanier Parkway

There’s short path on the other side of the Vanier Parkway that links to Coupal St. I followed Coupal to North River Road, then crossed the park along a path that linked up with the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Path through the park at the end of Coupal St
Path through the park at the end of Coupal St

The path goes under the St Patrick Street bridge as far as Stanley Ave. The route continues west along Stanley for a short distance before re-becoming the pathway just beyond the playground.

Rideau River Pathway along Stanley Ave for a short distance
Rideau River Pathway along Stanley Ave for a short distance

I rode along the pathway, then crossed the white Minto bridges over the Rideau River. The bridges are presently closed to vehicular traffic but not to bicycles. Whenever they do re-open to car traffic, and if you aren’t comfortable with sharing an open metal gridded surface with cars (the sound car tires make on these surfaces can be pretty spooky and intimidating), you can push your bike across the very generous wooden sidewalk on the side of the short bridges.

Minto bridges
Minto bridges

Once over the bridges I turned left onto the path that takes you along the river.

Path into Bordeleau Park
Path into Bordeleau Park

A bit further on the path forks to the left along the river, or right towards King Edward. I stayed left.

'Bear left! Right frog.'
‘Bear left! Right frog.’

I followed the path until it reached Rose St. I went down Rose St, then turned right on St Andrew to the crosswalk across King Edward Avenue.

King Edward crosswalk at St Andrew
King Edward crosswalk at St Andrew

I then followed St Andrew all the way to Sussex Drive. Sussex is presently under construction, however I was able to cross over to the National Gallery drop off lane way. As construction is unpredictable by nature, or if traffic is heavy along Sussex, one may be required to walk one’s bike along the east sidewalk of Sussex for a couple of blocks and cross Sussex at the lights at St Patrick.

Sussex at St Andrew
Sussex at St Andrew

When all the construction is completed there will be bike lanes along Sussex that will extend all the way to Stanley Avenue and beyond, as described in this attachment (click).

Once on the open plaza in front of the National Gallery I crossed over to the pathway that runs along the edge of Major’s Hill Park right here.

Where to cross to the path that runs along Major's Hill Park
Where to cross to the path that runs along Major’s Hill Park

I turned right onto the pathway and followed it to the end of Major’s Hill Park, before turning left onto the paved lane that goes down what my good friend Nadia calls Bastard Hill. It’s really steep.

Where to turn off the path on and head down the hill to the Ottawa River
Where to turn off the path on and head down the hill to the Ottawa River

This winds down to the canal locks, over which you cross to get to our final destination – the path below Parliament Hill. Ta-dah!

Canal locks
Canal locks

Bike commute from Kenson Park to Overbrook

A number of studies have shown that a large proportion of commuters want to bike to work but hesitate to do so for lack of a safe route to follow. I have an open offer to scope out a safe bike route to anyone within the national capital region. All I need is two cross streets – one to start from and a final destination. Halden took me up on my offer, starting from the intersection of Woodroffe and Iris at the edge of the Kenson Park neighbourhood in the west end, to the intersection of Vanier Parkway and Coventry Road in the Overbrook neighbourhood. He’s already a regular bike commuter but thought it would be interesting to see the route I scope out compared to his. Me too! Here’s what I came up with.

The Blue line is the one I recommend- a very picturesque route almost entirely along bike paths. The red line is a short cut that shaves 15 minutes off but traverses the not-so-safe Bank Street Bridge over the Rideau River. More about that later. The green line shows the route Halden takes. After crossing the locks at Carleton he rides along the canal and cuts over to the Rideau River along Graham Avenue, Lees Avenue, then through the Ottawa U Lees campus. Lees is a pretty busy road so one’s comfort level with riding in traffic would be an important factor in choosing this route.

And away we go! First I headed east on Iris.

Nice quiet street. Easy on the Iris.
Nice quiet street. Easy on the Iris.

The Experimental Farm Pathway crosses Iris. I got on the path and continued eastwardly.

Experimental Farm Pathway at Iris
Experimental Farm Pathway at Iris

This interesting building is located just south of where the path crosses Maitland. I used to think it was some sort of power station associated with the hydro towers that ran past it. Well it is a power station but of a very different sort. It’s the Trinity United Church designed by the late Ottawa architect James Strutt.

Trinity Church
Trinity Church

The path winds up and over Carlington Heights, then down through the farm.

Branches budding on the edge of the farm.
Branches budding on the edge of the farm.

Things get a little screwy where the path meets Fisher. To continue along the path on the other side requires riding south along Fisher for a hundred yards or so and crossing at the lights, like so.

Crossing Fisher Ave
Crossing Fisher Ave

The path becomes Cow Lane, and then turns right on Morningside Lane.

Corner of Cow and Morningside Lanes
Corner of Cow and Morningside Lanes

Midway down Morningside Lane there is a small road on your left that takes you to an intersection with traffic lights across Prince of Wales Drive. The path continues along the road on the other side of Prince of Wales, and ends by the canal locks across from Carleton U. I pushed my bikes over the top set of locks.

Up and over the locks
Up and over the locks

On the other side of the canal I followed the path to the right (blue arrow). The red arrow is the way you’d go for the alternative route on the above map across the Carleton campus and Bronson, through Ottawa South and across the dreaded Bank St Bridge. The green arrow points is the direction Halden takes.

Route options on the south side of the canal
Route options on the south side of the canal
Biking up the canal (the blue arrow direction)
Biking up the canal (the blue arrow direction)

The path pops out at Mooney’s Bay and crosses over the river.

Bridge over troubled waters
Bridge over troubled waters

On the other side of the bridge the path dipsy-do’s back under the road.

Follow the painted yellow line
Path going back under Hogs Back Road

The scenery is quite spectacular all the way down along the path through Vincent Massey Park.

Rail bridge the O-Train takes to get across the river
Rail bridge the O-Train takes to get across the river

This path is called the Rideau River Eastern Pathway which I followed almost entirely to our final destination. It is a very pleasant path however there is one dangerous spot, and that’s the intersection of Bank St and the pathway/Riverside Drive. Riverside Drive is a four lane speedway. Cars crossing the Bank St Bridge heading south often try to hurriedly turn right onto Riverside on the red without looking to their right, regardless of the sign. As such they threaten cyclists and pedestrians on the path as they nervously try to rush around the corner, for example this car at the intersection this Sunday that came to a screeching halt well over the stop line.

Screech
Screech

The ghost bike at this same corner is a commemoration to Meg Dussault who was struck and killed by a cement truck in July 2013. UPDATE: May 2016The ghost bike has been removed by the city.

Ghost bike
Ghost bike

On the secondary route option suggested by the red line, crossing the bridge is what is proposed. There are sharrows painted on the road, suggesting cyclists share the road. This Muddy Bike post (click here) shows that this is an ineffective option, and I believe a dangerous one as it suggests this is a safe area for cyclists when it is quite the opposite. So, when my son and I biked to Billings Bridge Museum on Sunday we walked our bike on the sidewalk.

So, what to do once you get to the corner? I don’t move until I am sure the driver stopped at the corner sees me and seems aware that I have the right of way to cross.

OK, enough on the dangerous bridge, time to continue down the pathway.

Rideau River Eastern Pathway west of Bank St
Rideau River Eastern Pathway west of Bank St

They’ve re-opened the path under the Queensway where they are doing construction, but it’s through scaffolding and only wide enough for one bike so I went pretty slow in case a rider was coming the other way, giving me time to react.

Path under Queensway
Path under Queensway

Getting close to our destination, I turned off the path at the sign pointing to River Road.

Exit
Exit

I turned right off River Road onto Presland, and was pleased as punch to discover a pedestrian cross signal to get across the Vanier Parkway.

Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway
Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway

I continued along Presland for a jot until I turned right onto Forestlane. Part way down Forestlane there’s a small opening that allows you to pop out almost right at our final destination.

Opening in the wall
Opening in the wall

And There it is – the intersection of Vanier Parkway and Coventry Road!

Van&Convent

30 Days of Biking – Day 28 : Ride through Hintonburg to do some banking, then along the river home.

Today I biked to to the bank. My main branch is on Sparks St, but the Sparks St BIA is so rabidly anti-biking they not only forbid riding, they chop locks and confiscate bikes whenever it meets their fancy. Fortunately we live in the age of bank machines, so on day 28 of 30 Days of Biking I wove my way over to the one in Hintonburg. Transaction completed, I headed north to the Ottawa River and meandered along its shore towards home. Here’s how.

Detailed description of routes to the bank can be found on my Day 2 blog entry, a combination of which I followed today. To get back home I rode north along Hinchey towards the river. Hinchey dead ends but there’s an accessible opening onto NCC lands.

Path access at end of Hinchey
Path access at end of Hinchey

A bit further on there’s a fine view of the bridge onto Lemieux Island.

Bridge to Lemieux Island
Bridge to Lemieux Island

There isn’t an official trail through this area, but the paths are well trodden and very bike-able. I took the one to the right which led to the intersection of Slidell St and the parkway.

So many paths to choose from....
So many paths to choose from….

From there I rolled onto the bike path and headed home.

30 Days of Biking – Day 27 : Ride to the Centretown Community Garden Project and Théâtre de l’Île

The annual Spring clean up of the Centretown Community Garden Project took place this morning so I rode over to lend a hand. Lot’s of fantastic folks all getting together to clean up the site and yack about what to plant this year.
I then biked over to Théâtre de l’Île with my talented assistant Mika to get some set work finished up. Short jaunts but energizing none-the-less on day 27 of 30 Days of Biking.

The Centretown Community Garden is located at the corner of Lisgar and Lyon St N. To get there I followed the same route as described on Day 1 (seems so long ago) as far as Lyon St. Then it was half a block on Lyon to the garden.

Spring clean up at the Centretown Community Garden
Spring clean up at the Centretown Community Garden

It was a fine day for a ride to the theatre. The sky above the Chaudière dam was impressive when we biked over the Portage Bridge.

April sky over the Chaudière dam
April sky over the Chaudière dam

The ride home was great too.

Riding home

30 Days of Biking – Day 26 : Riding to the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology

I needed to pick something up at the Museum of Science and Technology so I rode there, on Day 26 of 30 Days of Biking. Blue line on the map shows route I followed there. Red line is the one I took to get home.

One thing I like about riding at this time of year is the opportunity to notice details within the landscape less visible once the trees have sprouted leaves. Such as this pavilion, attached to the back of the slowly disappearing Sir John Carling Building presently being torn down. I hope it avoids the wrecking ball. You can take this narrow path up to take a closer look.

Up the path........ to see the pavilion
Up the path…….. to see the pavilion

I then biked through the Arboretum, crossed the locks across from Carleton U, and rode up the bike path towards Mooneys Bay.

The path gets a little convoluted at Mooneys Bay. You can ride over the falls along the path on the west side of the street, but you won’t see the falls, which are pretty spectacular at this time of year. or you can cross back under the road and ride over the falls the east side, as I did and indicated on the above map, where you will catch great views of the falls. It means carrying your bike up a few steps.

Stairs to climb..... to view the falls
Stairs to climb….. to view the falls

I rode down along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway (no more flooding) then turned up Pleasant Park Road, which around Pleasant Park Woods, isn’t so pleasant. This huge swath of trees has been cut down because of the Emerald Ash borer bug.

Sad Pleasant Park Woods
Sad Pleasant Park Woods

I took a short cut through Weston Park to Weston Drive. It’s the one with the colourful works of crochet stretched on the chain link fence.

South entrance to Weston Park
South entrance to Weston Park

Weston Street is on the other side of Weston Park, which I followed to Othello St. I rode north along Othello then cut through the Elmvale Acres Shopping mall parking lot to the intersect at Smyth Road and St Laurent Boulevard.

I then rode through the huge park in front of the museum, which brought me up close to a giant old locomotive and the big silver rocket.

Hello rocket!
Hello rocket!

Bike parking is located just to the north of the main entrance.

Museum is behind you.
Bike rack near museum entrance. Not that white dome

On my way home I turned off Pleasant Park road onto the bike path that goes past the allotment gardens and followed the same route described in this post.

Et voila – only 4 more days to go!

30 Days of Biking – Day 25 : Late night ride to Nepean Point and back

Day 25 was so crazy busy that I didn’t have a chance to hop on my bike, so to meet my 30 Days of Biking pledge I decided to go for a late night ride down to Nepean Point behind the National Gallery. It was great. I rode along the Ontario side of the river and back along the Quebec side. Here’s how.

To get down to the Ottawa River Pathway from Chinatown I took the stairs at the end of Empress Avenue. Good lighting and bike ramp.

Empress Ave stairs down Nanny Goat Hill
Empress Ave stairs down Nanny Goat Hill

On a late night ride through La Capitale Nationale one is reminded of how well we light our national edifices. Take, for example, the always impressive Library and Archives Canada, as seen from the Ottawa River Pathway.

National Archives at night
National Archives at night

And of course there’s always fabulously lit Chateau Laurier, as seen from the Rideau Canal locks.

Chateau at night
Chateau at night

Maman, the spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeous, sits infront of The National Gallery, across the street from the elegantly lit Notre Dame Cathedral.

Maman et Notre Dame
Maman et Notre Dame

Off the path up to Nepean Point sits this Majestic sculpture, composed of lamp posts blown over by Hurricane Catrina in New Orleans.

Majestic at night
Majestic at night

Looking across the river from Nepean point you can see and hear the sound of the car wheels humming over the Alexandra Bridge’s metal surface.

Aleaxandra Bridge from Nepean Point
Aleaxandra Bridge from Nepean Point

It’s a fantastic place to watch summer storms roll in along the Ottawa River, or to watch the Equinox sunrise.

I crossed the river along the bike path and zig zagged down to the Voyageurs Pathway behind the Canadian Museum of History. It’s a great time of day to view the large impressive sculptures within the Grand Hall. Many of these works were meant to be viewed from a distance which is possible when looking through the windows from outside into the space at night.

CMH

View into the Grand Hall
View into the Grand Hall

I rode along the Voyageurs pathway, which was very serene, to the Portage Bridge where I crossed back into Ottawa as rider number 1044 for the day.

NCC counter

Et voila!