Recreational trails in the municipality of Pontiac
February 2004

Possible users:
horse riders
walkers, hikers
inline skaters, roller skaters
cross-country skier
bicycle: mountain biker, sports rider, commuter, child etc
snowmobiler
ATVer
dirt biker (motorbike)

restrictions on use/needs
Snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes not allowed near residences, on municipal roads or highways, but can be on trails alongside roads.
Can horses and bicycles share a trail, or need parallel trails?
road bikes need smooth, hard surface
inline skaters need wide, smooth, hard surface

Very important question: are we talking about bicycle trails, with winter use by cross-country skiers, or trails for other users such as horses, snowmobiles? In residential and natural areas, motorized vehicles are not welcome.


Constraints on routes
Topography: hills, streams, rivers, ravines, existing roads, power lines.
Legal: ownership, availability of abandoned rail-lines, parks, agricultural zoning, residential areas, rights of way.
Tourist attractions and economic advantages



Routes (better shown on a map)
1. between Aylmer sector of Gatineau and Wyman (end of PPJ Cycloparc)
1.1 from Lattion, Aylmer
1.1.1 continue existing trail along old railbed
1.1.2 continue from existing trail at Lattion/hwy 148 junction
1.2 north on Perry, Klock, Vanier (existing liaison sur route) to ch de la Montagne, then northwest on ch de la Montagne.
1.3 along St. Raymond, Pink, ch de la Montagne North, from where existing bike trail divides at fire station on Boulevard St Raymond (formerly ch de la Montagne South)
1.4 along edge of Eardley escarpment (from where ch de la Montagne leaves this, heads west along line between Eardley range 6 and 7). Join up with existing horse/snowmobile trail near Luskville falls.
1.5 on municipal roads from Terry-Fox, Smith-Léonard, Rivière, Pères-Dominicains, Papineau, Tremblay, Damas-Perrier, de la Baie, Alary, to hwy 148, then on Clarendon through Quyon, Mackechnie to Wyman, start of PPJ.

2. connections to Gatineau Park
2.1 at Eardley Masham Rd,
2.1.1 connect to Gatineau Park hike/bike trails near Lac Ramsay
2.1.2 connect to horse/snowmobile trail along edge of escarpment
2.2 at Luskville Falls
2.2.1 connect to trail to fire tower (very steep), Ridge Road
2.2.2 connect to horse/snowmobile trail along edge of escarpment
2.3 ch Hammond to Lac La Pêche
3. connections to Pontiac municipal waterfront/beaches
3.1 Quyon ferry
3.2 public boat launch ramps
3.3 public beaches?


Costs

Land acquisition
Physically preparing the trail, bulldozing, gravel, paving
Bridges
Fences
Drains, ditches, culverts
Signs, road markings
Maintenance e.g. annual clean up
Patrolling
Toilets, phones, picnic spots
Québec MoT use construction cost estimate of $30-$45,000 per km for shoulders each side of highway. For 2m shoulders on highway 148 in municipality of Fasset, $48,000 per km (both sides). In 2002, MoT paved 8 km of shoulders on Île-aux-Allumettes for $38,625 per km (Le Droit, 18 June 2002). For La route verte, the MoT budgeted $4500 per km for 4000 km - in 1999 this ended in Hull. However, when highways need repaving, the shoulders are paved to increase safety. An agreement may be possible with the MoT to pave these shoulders to the standard of les accotements asphaltés for cyclists.

Advantages
Disadvantages


1. From Aylmer’s trails to Pontiac boundary
Aylmer did a study in 1999/2000? on converting the rail-line between Lattion and Terry Fox into a bicycle trail, 2.3-2.5 km for $200,000+. Alternative routes to the boundary with Pontiac include highway 148 to Terry Fox (3.5 km), and along Vanier and ch de la Montagne (already described as a voie de liaison on the Hull et Aylmer à vélo map).

2. Terry Fox to ch de la Rivière
Génivar’s study for the URLSO says (page 56),
“from the Aylmer-Pontiac boundary the rail-line is owned by neighbouring landowners. This corridor being difficult to recover, the first option studied is to use Terry-Fox, uphill to 148. A two-way bike path, separate from the road could be constructed on the far side of the ditch on some parts of this road. The route continues to the north of 148 along Terry-Fox, where a two-way bike path separate from the road would be possible, it being flat and in an agricultural zone. [Is this completely so?] The length of bike path would be 4.2 km.” [about 4.5 km from rail-line to Elm along Terry-Fox]
“The same concept continues to Elm Rd and along Elm Rd to 148 [2 km]. From this point the route has to follow 148 up to Rivière, 2.7 km [3.7 km]. Highway 148 is very narrow in this sector and the possibility of widening the shoulders is practically nil. The only possibility is to pave shoulders on both sides of the highway...
“A second option is proposed and consists of recovering the railroad corridor between Elm Road and Rivière. The sector to the south of 148 [southwest] not being in an agricultural zone, the owners may be more open to allow a right of way for a bicycle path. Motorized activities are not desired by the ‘riverains’”. [river bank or railway bank neighbours].
Unfortunately about 0.5 km of the rail-line northwest of Elm is in the agricultural zone. The next 2 km runs through the Breckenridge Creek Nature Preserve, which wishes to restrict access to the Preserve.
Despite the remarks on page 56, Génivar’s map of the East section (Figure 4.3) shows option 2 as a chaussée désignée along Cedarvale for 1.5 km, followed by a piste en site propre (equivalent to MoT’s piste cyclable) along the rail-line to Rivière, about 7.5 km.



Riverains (owners of rail line Terry Fox to Rivière Road) have the following specific problems with use of the rail line:
Noise, use by motorized vehicles even late at night
Vandalism, break-ins, security
Fires set in woodland
Disturbance of plants and wildlife
Breckenridge Creek Nature Preserve, wildlife corridor between Gatineau Park and Ottawa River
Dividing many properties into two, with 10-15 metre stretch along river bank, effectively removes waterfront from property.

Along steep slope, embankment is only 2 to 2.5 metres wide at top, bulldozing to make it wider will cause drainage problems above railbed, erosion below railbed, loss of trees that have grown on embankment (including black walnut trees) and in some places is too close to high water line for construction.

In Eardley township the rail-line cuts diagonally across lot lines, divides land into wedge-shapes, which makes it awkward for farmers (unlike most of PPJ, where rail-line is mostly parallel to lot lines.

3. Rivière to Kennedy
Génivar’s study for the URLSO says (page 57):
“The second section ... uses Pères-Dominicain, Papineau, Tremblay, Lamoureux, de la Baie and Alary roads, and rejoins 148.”
Types of bicycle trail
(Québec Ministry of Transport definitions. In spring 2003, they have about 3000 km of highways adapted for safe cycling).
Les accotements asphaltés - paved shoulders on highways that allow cyclists to share the road with cars and trucks. They are one to 1.5 metres wide for highways with speed limits up to 70 kph. Over 70 kph they are 1.5 to 1.8 metres wide. They are divided from the highway by a white line on the road. Cyclists move in the same direction as other vehicles. Warning signs are used to let car and truck drivers know of the possible presence of cyclists on the paved shoulders. (If the speed limit is higher than 50 kph, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult on paved shoulders or highways.)
Les chaussées désignées - bike routes along municipal roads or low traffic highways with low speed traffic. There is no reserved bicycle lane, but warning signs and pictograms painted on the road remind drivers and cyclists that they share the roadway.
Les pistes cyclables - paths specially made for cyclists and generally completely off road (e.g. PPJ, and along Boulevard des Allumettières (formerly McConnell-Laramée)). They may be reserved for cyclists or also usable by walkers, inline skaters, cross-country skiers or snowmobiles. They have special path signs as well as signs indicating services for cyclists, such as picnic areas, toilets, shelters, camping, drinking water, telephone, and bicycle repairs.
Usually paved, cement or stonedust surface, with road markings similar to those on highways to separate traffic in two directions.
Les bandes cyclables - bicycle routes in urban areas, at the edge of the roadway, reserved exclusively for cyclists. Road markings or physical boundaries show the reserved strip.

Génivar report states (page 56) that the concept used to extend the PPJ Cycloparc on Île-aux-Allumettes, is to have separate bicycle paths along the edge of rural roads. They suggest that this concept could be used in the Wyman to Aylmer axis. “Where the land is not too hilly, it is easily realized at low cost, but requires owners of neighbouring lots to cede the width of the land required.”