Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[LOABKW]: Getting from NE Waterloo to SW Kitchener by trail!

I work near Northfield and Bridge.

My dentist, for reasons best left unexplained, is at the Sunrise Centre at Ottawa and Fischer-Hallmann.

This is quite a trek: almost 16km! And today I did it by bike. The resulting ride shows off how well you can get around by trail, if you:
  • Know where you're going
  • Are willing to bridge the gaps in the cycling network.
Green, yellow and red dots highlight the good, meh, and bad parts of the ride. Blue dots are informational.

I hope this record helps you find better ways to get around on two wheels. And to learn how good our cycling network could be, with some key strategic improvements!

View the map.

Update: I had some good feedback on Facebook from a friend of mine, Chris D, who knows the southwest side of Kitchener better than I do. His advice is helpful:

"Some ideas in my neck of the woods (SW Kitchener):

During construction there is a bike/pedestrian crossing of the express way at Fisher-Hallman divided from normal traffic by a ba
rrier. Of course, with the speed of traffic through the bottleneck there you probably could ride with traffic (as I have).

After you get across the expressway you immediately gain a bike lane that can be used to get to the trails that border the culvert all the way to Victoria Park. As an added advantage, you can follow the trails under Westmount so crossing there isn't too bad... and if you don't like the bike lane on Fisher-Hallman, you can turn at McGarry Drive and pick up a trail along the creek that takes you to the culvert trails.

Another interesting path is to follow the paths on the hydro corridor, which will take you from Kingswood (a block from Homer-Watson) to Fisher-Hallman at Activa. Based on your path I'd cross Ottawa at Westmount and you'll find access to this trail on Westmount 50m past the intersection. It can be a challenge to follow between Westmount and Fisher-Hallman because it splits a few times, but if you end up on Dinison St it's easy enough to pick up the small trail to the lights at Fisher-Hallman and Activa further down anyway.

Once you're on Activa, take Grey Fox to Orchard Cresent and you can pick up a trail that drops you across Ottawa from the Home Depot at the Sunrise Centre.

The advantage here is that despite needing to cross Ottawa twice you don't need to travel along it at all..."
My notes on this: Fischer-Hallmann (I believe) will have bike lanes across the expressway-- and a removal of a dangerous basket weave-- when construction is complete. But FH is (to me) a route of necessity only, not a preferred choice. Much better for roads of this size and speed to have a separated trail or cyclepath, as parts of FH already does and will soon.

He also provided an alternative route segment. But it involves an un-improved section of Westmount, which doesn't seem better to me than a bike-laned section of Ottawa.

I see this as a key area for strategic infill. A little work along Westmount could greatly improve connectivity for the whole area!

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