CBC has an interesting story about an online map which shows which pathways are being cleared of snow in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The map was developed by the advocacy group “Bike Ottawa” (formerly know as Citizens for Safe Cycling), and can be viewed on their website.
Needless to say, the map will be very useful for people who do winter cycling, but it’s also interesting to study. It shows that a surprising number of pathways are now being plowed of snow. However, outside the city’s core area, the plowed pathways are often disconnected and would be of limited use for anyone trying to get around by bike during the winter. Nevertheless, the map does show that it’s possible to travel on a cleared pathway from the Hog’s Back Park area to downtown, and in the west, from Woodroffe all the way to downtown Ottawa (with one small gap) .
The one thing the map does highlight is that major sections of the NCC pathways are not being cleared during the winter. The NCC pathways form the backbone of the cycling network in many areas of the city. Until these pathways are plowed, it will be difficult to convince a lot of people of the benefits of using their bicycles throughout the year.
The information on the map is crowdsourced, so it may not always be up to date or one hundred percent relevant or accurate. For example, I noticed that some of the plowed pathways on the map are really for pedestrians, and may not be very useful for cyclists.
It’s also worth noting that this map of plowed pathways is the latest addition to a series of very useful interactive maps that Bike Ottawa has developed to help cyclists get around the city.