Barrhaven Bicycling


The Greenbelt between MErivale and Woodroffe.

The Greenbelt between Merivale and Woodroffe.

This winter, to beat the winter blues, I will post some sunny material that is still on the desk from earlier this year.

Late August, we wanted to go for a shorter ride on a Sunday morning, but we didn’t feel like doing the closed loop along the Ottawa River once again, so after some staring on maps, we decided to go to Jan Harder territory. We packed out passports and cycled to Barrhaven. Barrhaven! When we were pondering buying a house in the late nineties, we took a look at Barrhaven, but we were nervous that the commute into town would be too long in a few years time with all the development going on.  The last thing we want is sitting in cars, at least not longer than necessary. Barrhaven, for those who don’t live in Ottawa, is a suburb outside of Ottawa, about 20 km (14 miles) outside of down town Ottawa.

From Baseline to Fallowfield

We cycled from Baseline down through Fisher Heights, crossed Meadowlands towards Prince of Wales in order to cross the rail way line and along Prince of Wales to an area called Country Place, west to cross Merivale to the trail head of the Greenbelt Pathway just north of Black Rapids Creek. The fairly new stone dust pathway is part of the NCC’s attempt to build a rural pathway system through the Greenbelt and ends again at Woodroffe, not far from Fallowfield, where earlier in 2013 that terrible accident took place, when a bus was hit by a ViaTrain, killing 6 people in the bus. The north-south connections aren’t great in this part of town by the way. Merivale and Baseline, where Mario Théoret was killed this autumn is another example of a bad cycling infrastructure.

Surprises

We cycled into Barrhaven, passing schools, parks and lots of houses, very much as expected. But there were surprises too. Barrhaven has some complete streets already, the Jock River is an Emerald Belt winding through this former Nepean suburb with even some fly fishing going on and a very nice path, the Stonebridge Trail,  following the Jock River connecting with the Rideau River. From there, you can head further south to Manotick (that in our minds is always way out, but a look on the map shows we were nearly there already).  And we found Complete Streets despite Jan Harder’s dire warnings against Complete Streets:

She also proclaimed to be driven by growth, which must be accommodated by roads being built. She also made it extremely clear that she does not want any assumption that there will be Complete Streets developed in the suburbs in the future.Ecology Ottawa

Coffee

In some ways, it was a typical North American bike trip. You easily cycle 40 km without really realising it, but there is never a small restaurant to sit down for a coffee and to take in the views of the river, never a terrace to watch the world go by, other than the local Starbucks (or was it Second Cup, I can never keep the two apart) with views on a the parking lot. Barrhaven has a tons of cycling potential though: bike lanes, complete streets and multi use paths galore. We didn’t see many cyclists unfortunately. But it’ll come. At Citizens for Safe Cycling, we already have the first requests for bike activities in for 2014 for the older suburbs, the newer ones will follow. The infrastructure is there already.

A nice hidden short cut through Country Place that I used to take to work.

A nice hidden short cut through Country Place that I used to take to work.

The akward P-gates that bother a lot of cyclists, but are in place 'to keep drunk partying youth in cars from the paths'.

The awkward P-gates that bother a lot of cyclists, but are in place ‘to keep drunk partying youth in cars from the paths’.

A long path along Woodroffe in Barrhaven. Not the most scenic one.

A long path along Woodroffe in Barrhaven. Not the most scenic one.

Every one came by car, in order to move the coolers and umbrellas.

Everyone came by car, in order to bring the coolers and umbrellas.

Surprising for Barrhaven. Condos by Minto, with solar panels on the roof. Just off Barrhaven city centre.

Surprising for Barrhaven. Condos by Minto, with solar panels on the roof. Just off Barrhaven city centre.

Downtown Barrhaven at eye level.....

Downtown Barrhaven at eye level…..

...and from above. Can you think of a more picturesque place?

…and from above. Can you think of a more picturesque place?

A new bridge over the Jock River to accommodate more traffic.

A new bridge over the Jock River to accommodate more traffic.

Bridge over the Jock river.

Bridge over the Jock river.

Fly fishing in Barrhaven, who would 've thunk?

Fly fishing in Barrhaven, who would ‘ve thunk? (Not in the picture)

The Stone Bridge path. (missed the stone bridge though)

The Stonebridge path. (missed the stone bridge though)

Ah, the bridge over the Rideau River that was supposed to be finished in the summer of.....

Ah, the bridge over the Rideau River that was supposed to be finished in the summer of…..

....2011! It does get bike lanes though, but not sure how that is going to work out at those huge intersections east and west of the bridge. Likely, they'll disappear halfway.

….2011! It does get bike lanes though, but not sure how that is going to work out at those huge intersections east and west of the bridge. Likely, they’ll disappear halfway.

A great example of a complete street in Barrhaven. Road, bike lane and Multi Use Pathway.

Crestway Drive: a great example of a complete street in Barrhaven. Road, bike lane and Multi Use Pathway (MUP).

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2 thoughts on “Barrhaven Bicycling

  1. Pingback: 8 houses for sale | bellscorners

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