Faithful readers of past postings will be aware of that the City traffic engineers have wet dreams about widening Bronson.
Motorists won’t notice the widening very much at all, since it is modest, about 2 feet wider. But it will make it just that little bit easier to go a little bit faster. Which is surely what the street and neighborhood needs — a faster road. Curiously, the road widening makes the lanes wider than what the City’s own guidelines call for (see table below).
Now you really do have to smile in amusement at the limit of their wet dreams. They only want wider lanes where they can chop out the trees or remove front porches or remove front gardens. They are perfectly content to have narrower lanes at major intersections, such as Gladstone, where they’ve run out of room to eviscerate the neighborhood.
Note also that the additional foot won’t make the street safer for cyclists. The lanes are wa-a-a-y below standard for shared motorists/cyclists; instead cyclists are supposed to use parallel streets such as Percy and Cambridge. All the additional width will do is let cars go faster. Alas, all the community suggestions to make those parallel streets really useful or attractive for cyclists were brushed aside, as being “outside the boundaries of their study zone”. (As noted in previous posts, they were very willing to jump outside their study boundaries when it came to making negative comments about community proposals. Their flexibility is somewhat selective).
So what are the consequences of the proposed widening that gets these traffic boffins so excited? Well, they propose to cut off the stairs to this historic church, as there won’t be enough space for them to come down to the sidewalk:
And this entrance to a house, chop it off! Presumably residents will be issued a ladder or springboard to get from the sidewalk to doorstep (and never, never ever extend your hand out the window or it might get broken off) :
Bronson is a pretty bleak street right now. And the traffic consultants are twitching in sheer delight at the prospect of removing so many trees to open up sight lines, to enhance public safety, to rid the city of fallen leaves and other traces of nature. They’re doing for the cyclists, remember? Here’s some of the trees they are removing:
(Above trees are ones actually identified by the traffic engineers as ones to be removed. And there are many more…)
And here is Councilor Holmes, shown during a public walkabout with the engineers a few Saturdays ago, standing on the micro-sidewalk by a hedge that is slated to go-go-gone. But don’t worry, the consulting landscape architect tells us, it will be replaced by a new one of 12″ shrubs, set further back. We’re sure not to notice a thing:
And lastly, here is a picture of a large Russian Olive tree slated for removal in the next few months. No one is going to notice its absence. It will be replaced, the landscaped consultant tells us proudly, with several low-growing shrubs and some of those “columnar trees” which mature at 15-20′ of height and only 5 feet of width, and look rather like overgrown bushes. That’s progress in traffic-centric Ottawa. Coming up next: the same consultants will be looking at Bronson south of the Queensway, for the next phase. I wonder what gets them excited about the Glebe? Will it be the Official Plan that says we design streets for pedestrians first, cyclists, and transit users, and commuting motorists last? Or can it be the traffic opportunities? Watch out Glebites, you’re next!
The City’s ONLY public consultation event for the Bronson road widening and neighborhood massacre is at 6.30 Thursday, Nov 24th; at Centennial PS in the gym.