A friend, let’s call him “Bob Gray,” asked for advice on the best way to cycle from UPEI across town to Riverside Drive. I gave him my suggested route:
- Go down the trail from UPEI to the Experimental Farm road (by the beehives).
- Turn left, uphill, through the farm building complex to Crop Lane, which will lead you to Mt. Edward Road.
- Cross Mt. Edward Road to Confederation Street, past Parkdale Elementary School. Cross St. Peter’s Road and continue along St. Plus X to Kensington Road.
- Take a left then a right onto Garfield Street, which will lead you straight to the Riverside Drive trail.
On Saturday, after cycling out to Gallant’s for our smoked salmon bagels, and back to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market for our weekly shop, our next stop was Riverview Country Market, and I resolved that we should subject ourselves to The Bob Gray Way to see whether it actually works.
Here’s the map of our complete 15 km Saturday cycle:
Here’s The Bob Gray Way:
We discovered some pitfalls:
- Crop Lane is almost impossible to find: it runs in from Mount Edward Road to the Experimental Farm, but in a non-obvious way that doesn’t connect to any of the other farm roads. You can cycle to it by going in back of a large farm building and going along a rough dirt trail.
- Garfield Street is rocky and sandy, has no shoulder, and vehicles don’t expect to find bicycles there, so it didn’t feel safe to cycle on. As you can see from our route on the map, we departed Garfield and cut through the Liquor Commission and Access PEI parking lots to avoid some of this.
- The Riverside Drive multi-use trail, which is a great gift to cyclists, is, nonetheless, somewhat harrowing to cycle: while it is physically separated from the roadway, when there’s a large transport truck using its air brakes a couple of metres away from you that physical separation doesn’t feel very comfortable.
On the upside, we avoided the Allen Street roundabout, the tricky Allen Street-St. Peters Road intersection, and Exhibition Drive.
But we had confirmed for us that east-west cycling in Charlottetown remains no easy feat.
As the area north of Exhibition Drive shifts quickly from industrial to residential, we should start thinking more about what the active transportation routes in and out of this area should be, and especially what the best way to safely connect to the Confederation Trail spine is.