Jon Willing - November 21st, 2013
Lots of chatter recently about truck traffic in Ottawa’s core.
In case you missed it, there was a letter-to-the-editor war on the Sun op-ed pages between National Capital Commission chairman Russell Mills and Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger.
Mills’ letter is in this group and he refers to the Belanger newsletter found here.
Belanger fires back with his own letter.
Mayor Jim Watson has been talking recently about the possibility of a truck-only toll tunnel between Hwy. 417 and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, essentially somewhere under Lowertown and Sandy Hill.
All the hubbub of discussion has prompted the Downtown Rideau BIA to get in on the action:
In response to Russell Mill’s recent letter and Jon Willing’s Tunnel article
November 20, 2013
Protect Kettle Island Corridor in TMP as future crossing option
We echo the concerns raised in letters from Russell Mills and Sandra Martin in the last two days regarding truck traffic on Rideau Street downtown. We are still awaiting a response from the Ontario Minister of Transportation, Glen Murray, to our letter sent to him on September 5, 2013 regarding the province’s decision to no longer support a new interprovincial crossing at Kettle Island. The Minister’s decision came as quite a shock since the province spent $2.3 million tax dollars to select the “preferred corridor”, only to reject the study’s outcome so lightly.
Any concerns regarding the “livability of communities” along the Kettle Island Corridor is not supported by facts. There is simply no possible rational comparison between issues of livability in the Kettle Island Corridor with setbacks between 80-300 meters from trucks, to the existing situation on Rideau Street in Downtown Rideau with setbacks of less than 1 meter between long-haul heavy trucks and tens of thousands of pedestrians, tourists residents, businesses and local heritage, tourism and cultural landmarks such as the University of Ottawa, Ottawa Art Gallery, Arts Court, Ottawa Convention Centre, Rideau Centre and the Westin, Novotel, Les Suites and Quality hotels.
Recent suggestions of a toll tunnel for truck traffic is an unworkable solution and only serves to delay. Tunnels in most jurisdictions have restrictions prohibiting trucks carrying hazardous materials and dangerous goods. Where do these trucks go? Remain on the surface of the existing route? How does this solve the existing problem? Can the government even impose a toll on interprovincial goods movement? Government policies throughout North America require alternative non-toll routes whenever a toll is implemented. Where will the non-toll route be?
Clearly this subject is complex and requires strong leadership committed to implementing and building a solution to remove truck traffic from downtown now! Until then, the City of Ottawa should remove the truck route from the downtown’s main street, Rideau Street, to provide immediate relief to the community impacted by the interprovincial truck route and protect the 15,000 employees, 400 businesses, 700 hotel rooms, 40,000 students and 6,000 residents who have suffered far too long.
Most importantly, the City of Ottawa should be including the Kettle Island Corridor, and all other available crossing corridors, in its Transportation Master Plan (TMP) going before City Council November 26, 2013, to protect options for future interprovincial crossings to resolve this 45+ year-old problem, once and for all.
Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Area
Jon Willing - June 27th, 2013
The province’s stance on a new interprovincial bridge has knocked several groups off-kilter, including the National Capital Commission, as the Sun’s Doug Hempstead reports today.
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury and his constituents are left with the problem of heavy-duty trucks rumbling through his ward.
That has prompted Fleury to write to Transportation Minister Glen Murray…
Fleury Letter to Murray – June 27, 2013
Jon Willing - February 27th, 2013
Council made two decisions today relating to travelling around Kanata.
One: Staff were directed to sign an agreement with the province to build a ramp between Scotiabank Place and the eastbound lanes of Hwy. 417. It will help buses access the highway after Sens games and other major events at the arena.
The other: Council signed off on the zoning changes necessary to build a massive outlet mall on Huntmar Dr., near Scotiabank Place.
(The details on both are in this synopsis from the council meeting.)
That outlet mall is going to be a shopping destination, so you can imagine what Hwy. 417 is going to be like in December when it opens. We’ll have Sens games combined with the Christmas shopping traffic.
It’s already brutal trying to get out of the SBP parking lot on game nights and the highway is often jammed going east.
I asked Mayor Jim Watson if the city can do anything more to relieve the traffic congestion in the area, here’s what he had to say…
Jon Willing - February 6th, 2013
Lynn Southam at his home on Steamer Lane in Orléans last week.
I’ll tell you what I told Lynn Southam after today’s transportation committee meeting: I didn’t expect the committee to spend much time over residents’ curb complaint on Steamer Lane in Orléans.
But councillors actually had some follow-up questions for staff on the issue after Southam’s presentation. Osgoode Coun. Doug Thompson especially took interest in Southam’s case, noting that he has streets in his ward that have elevated curbs at driveway entrances.
“It is quite a jolt. I don’t have to visit Steamer Lane to know what it’s like,” Thompson said.
“It is a problem the municipality has a responsibility to correct.”
I don’t know if it was thanks to Southam offering councillors some “cool bubblies” if they come out to Steamer Lane to see the problem, but they heard him out and followed up with staff.
Staff couldn’t really guarantee any fixes, but Thompson’s comments are on the record, and Orléans Coun. Bob Monette asked staff to make sure Steamer Lane is on the queue for roadwork.
Heck, the committee spent more time on Steamer Lane than a lot of major issues at City Hall.
So there you go.
You, too, can make politicians listen to your own community’s Steamer Lane.
Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.
Jon Willing - January 17th, 2013
The pedestrian bridge being built on the Airport Pkwy. near South Keys, photographed Jan. 17, 2013 by the Sun’s Darren Brown.
I was always under the impression the cost of the pedestrian bridge being built on the Airport Pkwy. was $5 million
, but apparently it’s more.
I found this out today while asking the city about a spending item in the third-quarter contracts awarded by management under delegated authority. The spending line describes $65,954.60 paid to Genivar Consultants for construction engineering on the bridge. I was curious because it was expected taxpayers wouldn’t cover overruns linked to the faulty concrete on the first try and wanted to make sure this expense wasn’t above and beyond.
The city responded this afternoon saying the spending is within the approved budget.
But, it added this:
“To clarify, the total approved budget of the project is $6.9 million which includes the cost of the pedestrian cycling bridge, pathway connections, the O-Train underpass structure and transit station tie-ins.”
Just so you know.
When you build a bridge, you need connections. And it costs money.