Written by Sarah Sullivan Partridge and William van Geest
Bike Ottawa sent a letter to the City of Ottawa regarding a plan to add pedestrian infrastructure on Connaught Avenue.
In general, Bike Ottawa supports this project: a continuous sidewalk the length of Connaught will provide a safer space for residents of all ages and abilities to access local amenities, whether Connaught Park, Pinecrest Creek MUP, Elmhurst Park, Lincoln Fields LRT Station, Queensview LRT Station, Severn Avenue Public School, or Woodroffe High School, among others.
Nevertheless, Bike Ottawa also had some suggestions for these plans.
Connaught-Pinecrest Creek Pathway Connection
This proposal also has provisions for the connections from the Pinecrest Creek Multi-Use Pathway to Connaught Ave in four places: at Sackville St., Elmhurst St., Henley St., and Hanlon Ave. The Pinecrest Creek Pathway is heavily used by both pedestrians and cyclists. (See Figure 1. For more Strava heat maps in Ottawa, see Bike Ottawa’s map page.)
Bike Ottawa is concerned about the proposed bollard in the middle of the Pinecrest Creek MUP, at the junction of that MUP and Connaught Ave. This bollard would make navigating the path difficult for non-standard bicycles, such as cargo bikes, tandem bikes, bike trailers, and other modified bicycles. Bollards also pose a danger to children learning to ride and cause a friction point between varied traffic, such as groups of pedestrians and groups of cyclists, because the space to travel is limited. There are many MUPs in Ottawa that do not have bollards, and we recommended that the bollard be omitted from these plans.
The plans also propose a fence to be installed on either side of the pathway, anywhere from 0.5 m to 1 m from the MUP. Bike Ottawa recommended that a wider spacing be chosen. Given that the Pinecrest Creek MUP is an artery for cyclists and pedestrians, a wider space is necessary to ensure there is no crowding.
Lastly, to avoid conflict between the many users of the Pinecrest Creek MUP, Bike Ottawa recommended that the link to Connaught Ave allow for both pedestrian and cyclist access. Since according to provincial guidelines, a cyclist must dismount on a pedestrian cross-over (“PXO”), it is preferable to have a devoted space where cyclists can ride without having to dismount. This type of facility already exists where the Trillium MUP meets Carling Ave.
Carling Avenue and Connaught Avenue
Bike Ottawa also noted that the intersection at Carling Ave and Connaught Ave is also part of this plan. This intersection would benefit from cycling infrastructure, to ensure connectivity from the Queensway Terrace North neighbourhood to other existing or future cycling infrastructure. For example, through the development of the Lincoln Fields commercial area, QTN could be linked to the Richmond Rd. cycle track by way of a multi-use pathway through the commercial area. This could also be connected to the cycle track proposed for Carling Ave in front of the Lincoln Fields LRT station.
Bike Ottawa would like to see cycling infrastructure at the intersection of Carling Ave and Connaught Ave, to allow for cyclists to cross Carling Ave. This would include
a bike box for eastbound cyclists turning northbound, with a bike sensor
a “bicycles excepted” sign for cyclists to cross Carling to or from Connaught
green paint or a dashed line to guide cyclists along this crossing
Bike Ottawa is looking forward to the benefits of improved active transportation options in this area.