Thursday, September 24, 2009

BikeWest - part vii - westward from Westboro

The previous posts followed BikeWest from the downtown at Bronson westwards along Albert, past Bayview, then along Scott to Dominion Station. This straight route is the crucial portion of BikeWest. To extend the route further west becomes more complicated, since it would involve other agencies such as the NCC, and depend on LRT routing and timing.

The essence of BikeWest from downtown to Westboro was that it is almost entirely along a straight right of way owned by the City where major planning studies and reconstruction projects will be underway for the next decade. Incorporating BikeWest into these plans is a rare opportunity.

 If the western LRT route extends west from Dominion like the BRT,  along the Ottawa River parkway, then the BikeWest route should be built along the LRT  all the way to Lincoln Fields. The bike route would be on the inland-side of the parkway, leaving the current bike path along the river edge for recreational users. The bike route could double as a service road for accessing the LRT tracks for maintenance. Note that running the LRT along the parkway is returning the parkway land to its origins – it incorporated the former CPR right-of-way, a few traces of which can still be spotted.

At approximately McEwan Avenue, BikeWest would split in two: one grade-separated route would cross under the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway lanes to pick up the existing western bikepath by Mud Lake en route to Britannia and points west.

The other branch of BikeWest would swing south to Lincoln Fields and link up with the existing Pinecrest Creek bike path that goes on to Algonquin College/Baseline and points further south.

The cycling time from Baseline to downtown along the LRT route and BikeWest would be about half the current Parkway path route time, expanding the comfortable safe cycling zone to tens of thousands of new households. The speedier travel time is due to the straighter configuration and shorter route distance than the current riverside paths.

The portion of new bike route closely aligned to  the LRT from Dominion to where it turns inland at Lincoln Fields would be a straighter and faster commuter route than the river edge recreational pathway. The routes west past mud lake and south from Lincoln would be existing NCC paths. Click map to enlarge.

If the LRT route does not follow the parkway, the BikeWest route could be left to end at Dominion Avenue, or it could be extended further west along the Byron right of way. Unfortunately, the Byron strip has a lot of cross streets and the existing path has been designed to make it unappealing to cyclists (it meanders, and is full of sharp turns). The success of BikeWest however does not depend on where it might be extended to, it is justified on its own merits for the downtown-Westboro length.

The opportunity to extend the BikeWest project west is just that, an opportunity. And it should be considered as another project to be examined and addressed separately. BikeWest is a viable concept running from the downtown to Westboro and is not dependent on a westward extension, however logical that extension might seem.

Coming up next: an alternative route opportunity, from the Albert-Slater split to Bayview, and a few elaborations.


  1. A couple of points:

    From about Cleary Avenue, it should be possible to remain in the former CPR RoW, with a little bit of effort. Parts of it have been built on, but not so much that a cycleway can't go through, and there is a path in a few places. This would knock off a lot of winding around along the river in the Woodroffe area. Personally, I hope the LRT goes in the Byron corridor from at least Cleary westwards; if so, that would be an ideal alignment for a cycleway as well.

    When crossing the so-called Parkway at the split, it would be better to do this in an overpass than an underpass. An underpass would take the path perilously close to water level and run the risk of flooding, especially in the spring. Somewhere around there Pinecrest Creek is buried in a culvert as well.

  2. I presume that if the LRT uses the western parkway lands that it will have its own curves and alignment that will substantially redefine the space and require extensive relandscaping; it would be easy to include a new bike path in this.

    re overpass vs underpass - I opted for underpass as the height clearance for cycling isn't much - just like the existing underpasses at Carleton and New Orchard. However, I forgot about the Pinecrest Creek, which is actually quite a ways back from the road, so I think a roller coaster route would be possible: under the LRT, under the parkway/expressway, over the creek. Whichever, it would require some careful configuration.

    Like you, I prefer the Byron streetcar right of way for the LRT and new bike path. However, if the LRT is depressed or a shallow tunnel - as it might well be to placate the McKeller folks - then the surface is awfully cut up by cross streets to make any time for cycling plus it would be tight to get past stations (worse than along Scott).