By Brian Mitchell
Like death and taxes, traffic and transportation issues are an unavoidable reality. Here are some traffic and transportation issues for which the Glebe Community Association’s (GCA) Traffic Committee will be monitoring, seeking community input, and liaising with City and provincial officials over the course of 2015. Residents are encouraged to share their views on these and other issues via email@example.com
Second Avenue Parking Garage
Construction activity has begun for the City’s new three-storey garage behind McKeen Metro Glebe, which will open in October. In the meantime shoppers will need to find parking in private lots such as Fifth Avenue Court and Lansdowne. No doubt some shoppers will choose to use nearby residential streets as well. The GCA is following up with the City to ensure the garage will include features committed to a year ago to allow for some community use of the garage’s ground floor for special events.
Bronson Avenue Reconstruction
The Traffic Committee is working with Ecology Ottawa to prepare a set of recommendations for the City on how to inject some “Complete Streets” principles into the reconstruction scheduled for 2017/18. On February 25 at 5 p.m. there will be a second “audit” of Bronson Avenue by a team of committee members, area residents and Ecology Ottawa representatives. Please visit http://www.ecologyottawa.org/bronson_audit_2 if you are interested in participating. Residents who regularly use Bronson as pedestrian, cyclist or driver are encouraged to complete an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QMJLSQ5 with thoughts on how Bronson could be improved and your “stories” of challenges with the street as it is today.
Airport Parkway Widening
The City has begun its Environmental Assessment for a widening of the Airport Parkway to four lanes from Brookfield to the airport, which City Council approved in 2013 as part of the Master Transportation Plan for the city. There are many concerns about what impact this will have on traffic volumes on Bronson in the Glebe and spillover effects throughout our community due to congestion. The Traffic Committee is monitoring this issue closely and asking the City for more analysis of expected “upstream” traffic impacts caused by this widening.
With most retail activities now underway, we are beginning to witness the true day-to-day impact of the redevelopment (although the full impact won’t be visible until March/April when the Cineplex opens). One immediate concern is loss of parking on streets around the Glebe Centre. A survey conducted by residents in December and January shows that nearly all of the streets in a three-block radius of Lansdowne west of Bank have near-zero parking availability at just about all times of the day, particularly on weekends and Thursday and Friday evenings. The challenge is finding a solution that the City and Lansdowne’s operators will accept and that ensures the viability of the Glebe Centre and Abbotsford House, while respecting residents’ need for parking on their streets, particularly since many are dependent on street parking.
Other Lansdowne watch files include enforcement, especially on weekends, of the new one-hour parking restrictions on streets directly adjacent to Lansdowne (Holmwood, O’Connor, Adelaide) and the need for more frequent bus service (routes 1 and 7) on Bank Street to make transit a more attractive option for Lansdowne shoppers, diners, workers, event-goers and 67s fans.
This spring the GCA will host a community information meeting on traffic and transportation issues related to Lansdowne, including traffic monitoring data collected by the City during the first year of activities at Lansdowne. That meeting will take place on Thursday, May 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre.
Glebe Neighbourhood Bikeway
In December the City provided the Traffic Committee with an update (posted on www.glebeca.ca) describing their latest proposals for the Glebe Neighbourhood Bikeway. For the most part, they incorporated suggestions made by the GCA earlier last year. There are some site-specific measures, though, that will require further community consultations (e.g. possible removal of parking on O’Connor and of some stop signs on O’Connor and Percy, plus a proposed partial closure of Craig at Fifth), which the City has promised to conduct sometime this winter or spring.
Other files the committee will be watching include traffic issues related to the proposed Canderel developments on Bank Street between Holmwood and Fifth, street reconstructions this summer on First Avenue and Broadway, and pending Queensway construction projects such as the Kent Street overpass replacement.
Brian Mitchell is chair of the Glebe Community Association’s Traffic Committee.