Letter re Bike route along Otrain corridor

The DCA sent the following letter to Vivi Chi and Mona Abouhenidy of the City cycling program, and Councillors Leadman and Holmes:

At its meeting on March 3, 2010, the Dalhousie Community Association passed a motion respecting the need for a cycling underpass at Somerset along the Otrain corridor. The Association feels it is a high priority for the community to have the technical feasibility study for the underpass and for its construction as part of the Somerset reconstruction process in 2010-11. We have been waiting almost half a century for our bike path to be completed; we do want it to take a full century to complete this cycling arterial.

In approx.1962 the first segments of the Carling-Bayview cycling and pedestrian path were built by the NCC as part of the railway relocation projects in Ottawa.

The segments ran from Prince of Wales to Carling to Young Street (the Queensway) along the east side of what is now the Otrain corridor. It is a stonedust path through a treed corridor and is remarkably placid and calm pathway.

The right-of-way is there for the path to continue under the Queensway (the underpass has plenty of room), cross Gladstone, and continue north to Somerset. Somerset has always been the big barrier to completing the path north to Scott/Albert and Ottawa River parkway. The existing railway underpass under Somerset is just too narrow to contain the bike path.

There is an opportunity now to get this missing underpass in place. As part of the Somerset reconstruction project the City could allocate funds for a feasibility study to be conducted in 2010. Preliminary work by Delcan, for the current Somerset Street road works, indicates it is possible to construct a cycling underpass parallel to the rail track. Detailed study is now required.

If the study is done, it would be possible to construct the underpass in 2011 as part of the ongoing Somerset reconstruction work. Once the underpass is built, the last barrier to completing the Carling-Bayview cycling and pedestrian corridor would be removed, and work could commence to complete the path in the next few years.

  • This path would be a vital link in the city and region wide official cycling plan;
  • It would offer local residents and employees an easy off-road cycling route through the neighborhood and access to other neighborhoods and work places;
  • It would connect with the existing Rideau Canal and Experimental Farm paths;
  • It would eventually connect with the Ottawa River and BikeWest routes, offering access to the downtown;
  • It would make a cycling loop possible, from our neighborhoods along the canal-downtown-Ottawa river-back to our west side communities;
  • It would meet recreational and commuter cycling needs;
  • It would offer a safe off-road route for those who prefer to avoid busier commercial streets.
This neighborhood has seen a number of false starts for this facility over the years. With the reconstruction of Somerset, and the rapid development of transit oriented condo developments along the corridor, now is the time to finally complete this cycling infrastructure that will manifest smart growth policies in the central area.

Eric Darwin,

President, Dalhousie Community Association.




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