I've started taking Smyth, and Main Street, to get downtown, like to the Market, lately. It's quick and direct, if gritty. And Main Street is pothole hell, but that's not the part I hate. The part I hate runs from the intersection of Main and Hawthorne under the Queensway, and ends at Colonel By Drive.
Heading down Main, you first have to make it through the little jog that Hawthorne does. That's not so bad. But then on the other side of the intersection you're suddenly in a right-turn lane. Like most right-turn lanes, I tend to stay right on them, and try to shoulder check and move across them into the through lane as I'm coming up to the intersection, rather than ride the block or so with cars passing on both sides. It just seems to freak the drivers out to have me in the centre lane. (I know, legally I should just be taking up my space in the centre lane. Tell that to an aggressive driver.)
So, once I've negotiated that block, my next problem arises. Assuming I've managed to get into the centre lane, I'm now faced with this ickiness.
Heading toward Colonel By, you have a choice. If you don't want to go with the flow and just keep right onto Colonel By (and how many times have I heard drivers complain about bikes on Colonel By when "there's a perfectly good bike path along the canal"?) - if you want to get onto the bike path, that is - you wind up having to move to the inside of the centre lane - along the yellow line - and then ducking off the road and onto a sidewalk/multi-user path/bit of Echo Drive, just before an island that separates the two lanes between Echo Drive and Colonel By. And you have to duck across the oncoming lane, where there is virtually no marking, crosswalk, or indication of what anyone, car or bike, is supposed to be doing.
Then the task of getting onto the multi-user path is only half over. Now you're stopped on a grassy median between Echo Drive, which is barely a street anyway, and Colonel By, staring at the bike path across the way, helpfully paved to the edge of Colonel By as if to say, "here, hop on!" However, you have two lanes of traffic - traffic that hasn't seen a stop light since Ottawa U campus in one direction, and god knows how long in the other - to brave before that happens, and no crosswalk, light, or signal. You can even see in the satellite picture, and in this one, where exit ramps have been paved up to the edge of Colonel By from the path.
I cursed this intersection at several places the other day. I know, I could have taken the easy road, and hung a right straight onto Colonel By. And given how many people were out walking, jogging, and cycling on the canal path that day, it might have been faster, if more harried, to take Colonel By as well. But that just results in more unpleasantness further down.
Again: these spots, where you have to somehow get from streetside riding to the NCC's beautiful network of rec paths, are far more annoying than they really should be. I'd take a ramp and pedestrian bridge, I would. Like the Corktown footbridge at Somerset, only over the parkways too. That would be awesome.