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  • Writer's pictureMatthieu Gagnon

North Vineyard Pathway: Why community consultations matter.

I was walking home from Jeanne D’Arc Station. Since I live off Voyageurs Drive, the quickest way to do so is to go through the park next to Station 52 and to use the pathways that lead to the Des Voyageurs school. I was excited to do so since the paths were redone this summer and it was my first time using it. After suffering through the Jeanne D’Arc overpass, which went for a horrible walking experience to an absolute garbage walking experience with construction, I arrive to this:


Desire path by Station 52 leading to North Vineyard path.
Desire path by Station 52 leading to North Vineyard path

Of course, there is a path 40 meters a little bit further down that is paved and can lead to where I want to go but it is a good illustration that the city blindly rebuilds flawed infrastructure without any thought about how it can be improved beyond just bringing it up to the new standard.


If you look at Google Maps, it clearly shows a desire path that leads from the edge of the firehouse fence to the basketball court with the exact same layout as the current desire path. Those who led the project clearly did not think about the layout of the path or to do any research on how people use the infrastructure. I have spent too much time staring at the map to try and figure out the purpose of the path as it currently lays since it does not lead to a crossing or to and from anything meaningful.


Image shows a clear desire path starting from the intersection of the Station 52 fence to the basketball court.
Location of the desire path (circled in red) found on Google Maps and the pathway 40 meters north of the desire path

Unfortunately, this is not the only flaw in the design of the path. A few weeks ago after a snowstorm, I was meeting someone at Art of the Bean so I decided to do a quick detour to see the winter maintenance done on the trail with my trusty ebike. While the winter maintenance on the newly redone portion of the trail allowed me to easily ride on it with my studded tire with only one awkward moment while crossing someone walking their dog, it was clear that the layout did not meet the needs of the many people walking to the school. In the image below, you can see where people walked on the fresh snow to the path.


Desire path in the snow between the Des Voyageurs school parking lot and the new winter maintained park going to Jeanne D'Arc.
Desire path in the snow between the Des Voyageurs school parking lot and the new winter maintained park going to Jeanne D'Arc.

In the image below, I roughly traced the location of the desire path. The path circled in blue is a pave section that was not redone. The length of the desire path is about 35 meters.

Location of the desire path in red and the location of the path in place circled in blue. The section of the path circle in blue has not been re-done and is not winter maintained.
Location of the desire path in red and the location of the path in place circled in blue. The section of the path circle in blue has not been re-done and is not winter maintained.

These issues by themselves may not see like a "big deal" since it remains theoretically possible for most people to walk where they need to go most of the year. However, these small issues combined make walking an unpleasant experience and encourage the use of cars. It also prevents users who may not be able to navigate desire paths from walking to school.


There is currenlty work planned on the path leading from Vineyard to the River Pathway. The paths will need to be redone because the stormwater infrastructure in the area needs to be replaced. I plan on doing some work to ensure that the design actually includes improvements that need to be made for the path to be more useful to the community. You can help me by taking pictures of desire paths on that path system this winter and suggesting recommendations to me. Please place all your pictures in this folder. Make sure that the location is clear. We don't want the consultations on this project to look like the ones for the Richard Ward Park Pathway Renewal.


Expected project area for the new stormwater management project based on discussions with Laura Dudas. The area follows the pathway starting on Vineyards and ends at the Ottawa River.
Expected project area for the new stormwater management project based on discussions with Laura Dudas.

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