Monday, July 25, 2011

Follow the yellow line

Sorry for the absence. I was busy running the bicycle parking at Bluesfest 2011, which is a 100-hour-a-week volunteer gig. You'll be happy to hear that I've got over two weeks of posts pre-scheduled, so there won't be another gap for at least as long!

Most of the time, when a pathway in the national capital region splits, the yellow line will follow the direction where the pathway continues in whatever direction. For example, if you're trying to navigate the pathways under the Portage Bridge to get westward from behind the Parliament buildings, following the yellow line will help you get back to the pathway along the Ottawa River.

Many cyclists don't realize this, but they do get it at an unconscious level. Take here for example:

This is just under the Laurier bridge heading North toward the convention centre and Byward Market, on the pathway that runs along Colonel By Drive. This is a notoriously difficult place to navigate because it's not clear at all how to get from here to the other side of Rideau/Sussex.

Unfortunately, when I stopped to watch for a bit, I saw most cyclists followed the yellow line up to the abutment of the Laurier Bridge, which led them to a dead end and a hard curb along Colonel By Drive. They, as I had done just before them, ended up going down the steep cobbled footings of the bridge to get back to the pathway along the Rideau Canal and continue toward Union Station.

Unfortunately, even if this line gets fixed (which it might, there was still some construction going on when I took this photo in May 2011), there's not much place for people to go once they pass the bridge, it's still every cyclist to him- or herself to navigate Colonel By, Sussex, and the rest.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]


  1. They have recently cut the curbs to allow cyclists access to/from Colonel By Dr. The cycle portion of this multi-use path has always moved away from the canal near this location. Now, cyclists are expected to cross a lane of traffic to join the road way. I hope some some signage is added to clarify what cyclists are expected to do, it is not clear now, and warning motorists that bikes will suddenly be sharing the road at this point.

  2. Thanks for that update. It'll at least be more useful for people going South along Colonel By Drive. (I've had to awkwardly 'jump' that curb with traffic whizzing by me)

    I don't know if it was just for the construction and exactly what it means, but when I've ridden along Colonel By northbound, there's a sign asking cyclists to walk their bikes before either the Laurier or Mac-King bridge.

  3. The situation for bikes is getting better so I am reluctant to complain but for a city with so many waterways we really don't provide enough means to cross these waterways. From the Colonel By side, it would be nice to have a path over the canal without having to go back to Corktown Bridge and without crossing the locks on the lock gates. Right now, crossing down by Union Station, while completely do-able by going up and over and around, is a bit tedious.

  4. OBG: well once the tunnel is built you'll be able to go under the canal, too. ;)

    But don't be too reluctant to complain just because things are improving. Things are improving precisely because enough people have made it known that they want to see this change. One way of making it known is to identify problems, and sometimes this is effectively done in the form of a complaint.