Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Portaging the Parkway

Two things: I have a much better cell phone camera now, and this week, because of two evening Festival events at the Mayfair, I found myself at this intersection twice. The second time around I got the camera out. This is on the canal path - which is very pretty, but not all that easy to cycle. Between the terrible pavement from U of O to the Pretoria Bridge, and the high volume of pedestrians, joggers, and baby strollers, you should probably not be the sort of cyclist that likes to feel the whoosh of wind in your hair on this path. But that's all right. Slow up, ring your bell, smile, and pretend you're one of those happy, bucolic cyclists you see in those utopian YouTube videos of Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

Anyway. This intersection is where you have to get off if you want to get to Bank Street. You may not be able to see the helpful little sign that says "<--Bank", but it's there, next to the paved, landscaped little slope that clearly indicates you're meant to cross. Opposite that little slope there's a pedestrian stair that follows the steep street that takes you up to Bank Street, with another paved space leading to the edge of the parkway.

Note, though - there is a curve in the road not too far along. Behind me, in this shot, Queen Elizabeth Drive vanishes under the Bank Street Bridge and around a curve, so visibility isn't great that way either.  And, well... note the total lack of indication to the cars that people might be trying to cross here. These intersections occur the whole length of Queen E and Colonel By. . . funneling pedestrians, joggers and cyclists alike across the parkway at unmarked crossings. (They put in signs on Colonel By, just opposite the canal from here, last winter... but only while there was construction going on. When the construction workers finished up, the signage was carted away too.)


  1. Crossings of the parkways along the Rideau Canal is a longstanding issue, and the NCC even has a deceptively-named "Rideau Canal Crossings Study" that's looking into it. I'm not sure what the status is of that study, because I'm not on the PAC for it.

    If I were you I'd find out more about that study and submit this post for input on it. You make a great point!

  2. The NCC has a bad habit of routing bike paths across major streets without any kind of controls. My daily commute has me cross Carling[1] and Holly Acres[2] with absolutely no signage to cars saying "Hey, there's bikes trying to cross here!"

    Were the festival events you were going to the Kelp Weekend events at the Mayfair last Thursday and Friday?

    1. Damn, the first one doesn't have a full write up, but it's the dot near Britannia

  3. Yeah, I think the problem with the parkways is partly that the paths and parkways were conceived as a single recreational unit - you were meant to go for scenic drives down the parkways and no one really thought that people might be trying to use the paths to commute. (I guess that based on the parkways being built in, I think, the sixties.)

    And the Festival events at the Mayfair were actually on Monday and Tuesday, for the Writers Festival (who I work for.)

    Thanks for the tip on the study, Centertowner! I'm definitely going to look that one up.