Paved River Pathway Coming to OOE This Year

By John Dance

Ann Langmuir and Dave White walk their dog down the new multi-use pathway at Clegg.

Ann Langmuir and Dave White walk their dog down the new multi-use pathway at Clegg.

By the end of this year, Old Ottawa East will finally have a multi-use pathway along most of its Rideau River corridor.

One of the pathway’s key components – the ramp from Clegg Street into Greystone Village – just opened.

When it is completed, the new Rideau River Western Pathway will run from Brantwood Park to Sandy Hill where the already-built portion goes on to Strathcona Park and the Adàwe footbridge.

In the fall, city council approved $625,000 for the project.The federal government provided the same amount, following an announcement by Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna.

The funding allows construction of a three-metre wide paved pathway, part of the city’s official plan for decades. It is a key feature of the Old Ottawa East community design plan.

Over the years, the community succeeded in having the Springhurst Park segment of the pathway built when sewer repair work was done. The University of Ottawa was convinced to build another stretch on its lands along the river.

Greystone Village developer the Regional Group built and paid for the new ramp at Clegg street, a long-sought improvement that replaces a steep, muddy and dangerous footpath.

During the summer of 2017, much of the pathway through the Greystone property will be paved. The rest will be completed when construction shifts to the development’s northeast quadrant.

Years of consultation have gone into the approved pathway design. While not all community members are pleased with all aspects, the changes that were made in response to public concerns improved the original plan.

The soft-surfaced Rideau River Nature Trail also runs through OOE’s river corridor but it remains distinct from the Western pathway. The trail runs behind Rideau Garden Drive and through much of Brantwood Park including the massive oak-tree alley north of Brantwood Drive.

To avoid using the nature trail, cyclists using the new pathway will be encouraged to take Onslow, Elliot and Bullock streets rather than going through the southern portion of Brantwood Park.

The nature trail will form a separate walking path through the 30-metre riverfront open space of Greystone Village.

Sustainable Living Ottawa East, the organization that conceived and developed the nature trail, wanted to preserve a safe walking trail in nature-sensitive areas near the Rideau River. SLOE lobbied to have the entire pathway soft-surfaced, arguing it would be better for the environment and users.

In the end, the city decided to keep the paved pathway out of much of Brantwood Park and further south along the river, and to pave the rest so that cyclists and other users had a smooth surface for commuting.

One other contentious issue was the lighting of the pathway. SLOE was concerned about light pollution and the impact of pathway lighting on wildlife. The city wanted lighting for the safety of users.

In the end, the city agreed to install 3000K LED lights that emit yellower light than other sources. It said they were, “the best choice from a natural systems perspective.”

Mid-Town Footbridge Update

All is rosy on the Clegg Street-Fifth Avenue footbridge front: the detailed design is nearing completion, funding has been approved and construction is scheduled to begin this year.

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