Plans for a new north-south corridor for Sandy Hill cyclists

John Verbaas

For some time now residents and our councillor have been advocating for a more cycling friendly north-south corridor in Sandy Hill, linking the east-west connection along Somerset Street East through to the ByWard Market. This past month the City held an initial consultation with residents to kick off the process of bringing such a connection towards reality. The project involves both a Sandy Hill and a Lowertown component. On the Lowertown side, the route will follow Beausoleil Drive to York Street via on-street cycling lanes and then onwards across King Edward Avenue to the ByWard Market. The most expensive part of the project will be some significant changes to the King Edward/York intersection to provide a protected crossing for cyclists.

On the Sandy Hill side an initial strengths/weaknesses analysis has been performed to compare possible north-south corridors (ie. Chapel, Nelson, Russell, Sweetland, etc). The initial recommendation of the consultants hired by the City was that Chapel Street would be the best corridor. At the public consultation meeting there was considerable discussion on this topic and the City expressed some willingness to take a closer look at the options. For example, although Nelson Street connects to more services within Sandy Hill (community centre, school, community health centre, and grocery store) it is also challenged by a very steep hill at Somerset Street as well as a busy block on the Lowertown side to make the connection between Rideau and York. Alternatively, along Chapel Street the grade of the hill is more reasonable and the connection to the Lowertown side of the project north of Rideau is much less busy. On the other hand, Chapel on the Sandy Hill side has the highest level of car traffic of all of the corridor options. Others at the meeting suggested a Goulburn/Augusta route that incorporates a potentially widened “Lovers’ Lane” connection between Laurier and Wilbrod. This is an intriguing option but would require some property from the Brunei High Commission in order to widen Lovers’ Lane. This may be too difficult to arrange.

For all of the potential corridors in Sandy Hill, the roadways are not wide enough to allow the implementation of on-street cycling lanes. Instead, some combination of traffic calming / traffic diversion measures would be considered to increase the safety and comfort levels for cycling.

A significant factor contributing to the initiation of this project has been the receipt of funds provided by the developer of the high-rise on the NE corner of Rideau and Chapel. Known as “Section 37 funds” these are negotiated in instances where a developer has received approvals for a development that is significantly larger than that which the zoning had originally envisioned. In this case $1.8 million has been earmarked for the project as well as to fund some upgrades to local parks.

The next steps for this initiative involve a closer analysis of the route options in Sandy Hill, decisions about the suite of proposed traffic calming measures, and a detailed design of the King Edward/York intersection. More information about the project can be found on the City of Ottawa website by typing “cycling ByWard Market” into the search bar.

50 Ways You Can Be Car Free

Words by Judy Rinfret


Sing along, with apologies to Paul Simon, as you imagine the beat of drums and tambourines  –


Our planet’s dying and we must do our parts

car free is better for the world and for our hearts.

Imagine asphalt turned to parkland where play —

there must be 50 ways to become carless-

50 ways to leave you carefree




Remember once we humans travelled without cars

We had time to tell our stories and to gaze upon the stars

We too can have that world again, it would be bliss

there must be 50 ways to become carless

50 ways to leave you car less




Use your big feet, Pete

Skip down the lane, Jane

Pedal that path, Cath

get yourself car free…


Take a big hike, Mike

Sell your old Ford, Gord

Come round the bend, friend

Just listen to me…


Just click on those skiis, Lee

Flip on your pack, Jack

Protect your head, Ned

Get yourself car free…


Remember your hat, Matt

No need to park, Marc

No gas to pay, Jay

just listen to me…