Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11

Albert-Scott Interim alignment, west from Champagne Avenue Open house 11 Dec 2017 at Tom Brown arena, 6pm to 8.30pm This story is mostly aimed at those citizens who are keen on city planning and the details of what is planned … Continue reading Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11

West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert

The City is hosting an “open house” on Tuesday (Nov 28, 5.30pm  onwards  ) to show their plans for the future Albert and Slater Streets between Empress (the Good Companions) and Waller (Rideau Centre, UOttawa U). Here are some things … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert

Yes you can, Mr Mayor

John Turner and Jim Watson have lots in common. In a crisis, both  claim they can’t do something. It didn’t work out well for Mr Turner. So people get killed moving about in Ottawa. Anyone looking at the traffic fatalities knows … Continue reading Yes you can, Mr Mayor

Some real ped improvements, and some not

It is good to be (still) living, in a time when transportation is finally focusing on people who walk, people who cycle, and not just people who drive. Yet to come, of course, is any concern for the people living … Continue reading Some real ped improvements, and some not

Traffic splitting in the Glebe

Rescue Bronson was born a few years ago when the City decided to “improve” [for through motor traffic] Bronson north of the Queensway. Their plans did not include landscaping, traffic calming, fixing the jack rabbit stop-and-start flow or the frequent rapid lane changes. Pedestrians? Never heard of ’em. Cyclists — run ’em over til they go somewhere else. Rescue Bronson had limited success in correcting the City’s mania to facilitate commuting to Pointe Gatineau. We got better landscaping. A signalized intersection at Arlington where the unmarked crossing was heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians. Cost of relocating the utility poles … Continue reading Traffic splitting in the Glebe

Churchill Cycle Track takes shape

  Churchill Avenue running north from Carling Avenue towards Westboro is being rebuilt today as a complete street. In addition to the regular car / truck traffic lanes on the street, there will be concrete walks and at the same level as the walkway, a cycle track. A cycle track differs from a bike lane, which is a painted zone on the street just off to the side of the car traffic. Road traffic can readily intrude into the bike lane (hello FedEx). The cycle track is separated from other vehicular traffic by a curb and buffer zone. The opening … Continue reading Churchill Cycle Track takes shape

Rescue Bronson makes lemonade (part i)

Long-time readers will recall the bru-ha-ha about Bronson reconstruction. The City rather high handedly announced it was rebuilding Bronson through the west side of the downtown, was going to widen it by 2′, and do precious damn little for pedestrians, cyclists, and residents. The Rescue Bronson led a valiant two year battle against the current dysfunctional and dangerous road design that blights the community. Efforts to put Bronson on a road diet failed. The City opted for a faithful remake of the 1950’s roads-are-sacred movie (best seen at a drive-in, of course). Within the Rescue Bronson group and community at large, there … Continue reading Rescue Bronson makes lemonade (part i)

Will Art on Bronson be better than lipstick on a pig?

Bronson is downright butt ugly. And it’s unsafe too. Now the City proposes putting some public art on the street verges to “humanize” the experience. The City didn’t believe the community when we lobbied for a better, safer design (see previous Rescue Bronson stories). Instead they opted for a remake of the 1950’s horror show version. That nightmare unfolds daily.  Can public art be more than putting lipstick on a pig? Battered and bruised community residents came into the Bronson Centre earlier this month seeking to find out. Seven artists had proposals on display. The City had “steered” the artists to … Continue reading Will Art on Bronson be better than lipstick on a pig?

Major changes coming to downtown streets

The current downtown Ottawa is rather blah. Some might even call it bleh. Over the decades, it has become a motor-vehicle-oriented environment, with the fast movement of vehicles the main only priority. We all know about the walls of buses. And the priority given to automobile commuters over pedestrians. Trees: rare as hen’s teeth. It has become a downtown one goes to because you have to. It is not a shopping, or even much of a recreation destination. All rather sad. When the LRT is opened, there will be major changes. Most OC Transpo buses will be off the Albert … Continue reading Major changes coming to downtown streets

Progress on Rescuing Bronson

The City has compromised on some Bronson issues. They have agreed to remove their proposal to widen the street, which would have speeded up vehicular traffic while simultaneously making the corridor less cycling and pedestrian friendly and chopping off numerous front yards, church entries, and mature trees. In our opinion, it didn’t make the road any safer for motorists either. I like to think it had a lot to do with people objecting. Rescue Bronson encouraged many people to have their say. This included residents, landlords, school principals, recreation coordinators, churches … and yup, we even got some of Ottawa’s condo … Continue reading Progress on Rescuing Bronson

Building a better underpass

I snapped this pic while in Toronto a few months ago. It illustrates several bits of better transportation engineering than we are likely to find in Ottawa. First, notice the dark line down the centre of the lane. It is a painted-out white line that used to divide the road into four lanes, two in each direction. These would have been narrow lanes, especially narrow-feeling at the underpass structure itself. There was no accomodation for cyclists. The road has been dieted, and changed to one wider lane in each direction. Sailing through the underpass in a car was easy and … Continue reading Building a better underpass

Highway to Heaven Marked with Big Red X’s

Congregants at the Peace Tower Church on Bronson face a difficult road to heaven. The way needs to be proclaimed, work must be done, respect paid, songs sung. The traffic engineers have it easier. Their road is wide, straight, paved, and about to be even wider. Truly a fast road straight to heaven hell. At the Peace Tower Church, City engineers propose chopping off the main front door steps. And removing the trees on their lawn. The City hides behind innocuous statements. Like, “minor widening”, or “improvements to lane width”. What does it mean out on the street? Rescue Bronson activists … Continue reading Highway to Heaven Marked with Big Red X’s

To Clem, in Saudi Arabia

Note to reader: After a recent meeting with City staff and consultants, I found this piece of paper on the floor. I wasn’t being nosy, I was being tidy. But I couldn’t help noticing the text. It appears to be most of a letter being drafted to email to someone named “Clem” working in Saudi Arabia. To protect the not so innocent, I’ll report that the author’s name is conveniently missing. –  Ed. “Clem: How is work going on your contract in Saudi Arabia? How I do envy you. To work in an autocratic kingdom must we marvellous. The grand … Continue reading To Clem, in Saudi Arabia

Ontario Bike Summit, Day 1

The Ontario Bike Summit started Monday at the Museum of Nature, and continues on Tuesday. Bug Me, says Watson: What’s a public meeting without politicians to speak? This meeting opened with an abundance of them. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson spoke of the increased volume of cyclists (155,000 in May) and their increased visibility. Speaking of the Laurier Separated Bike Lane (SBL) he made it clear that he understood some cyclists did not like the project, but “they don’t have to use it”. It is designed to offer a safer route for cyclists, to encourage more cycling, and to facilitate tourists who cycle … Continue reading Ontario Bike Summit, Day 1

Great Roadway Removal Contest

It seems to me that other cities are galloping ahead of Ottawa, converting freeways and elevated structures to other, more urban-friendly purposes. New York converted an elevated rail line to the High Line linear Park. Seoul, Korea tore down a huge urban freeway in just six months and created a long linear park along the (previously sewerized) river below once it was daylighted. San Francisco also removed freeways and no one noticed any transportation disaster unfolding. Now Vancouver is examining removing some elevated road bits: This leads me to wonder what roads in Ottawa might be candidates for removal. Not downsizing, not … Continue reading Great Roadway Removal Contest

King Edward, meet Mr Bronson

The Transportation Committee meet yesterday morning and I was there to speak on the funding of the Somerset multipurpose path underpass at the O-Train corridor. The motion passed, the tunnel will be installed later this year, although it won’t be opened because the City hasn’t yet funded any paths or access along the route. Presumably that will come later. I rejoice we got as much (as little?) as we did and am confident we will get the actual usable facility in the next few years. The Committee then moved on to discuss King Edward Avenue. Essentially the Community there has been fighting … Continue reading King Edward, meet Mr Bronson

Declines in Interprovincial traffic on bridges

This is a guest post by John Verbaas, continuing on the theme of declining traffic counts even while we build more roads: “Here’s  one that is dear to my heart.  The information is from a graph taken from the Dillon Consulting Study in 2009-2010 done for studying the impact of reducing King Edward from 6 lanes to 4 lanes.   It shows the 10 yr  trend analysis of daytime traffic volumes on all of the Ottawa River Crossing bridges.  The traffic is flat to declining on all of these bridges except the westernmost one (Champlain).   Amazingly somehow the NCC decided in their … Continue reading Declines in Interprovincial traffic on bridges

Traffic counts

 Here is a city data set on streets and traffic volumes. AADT means average annual daily traffic (ie, daily traffic averaged over a year to account for seasonal and daily fluctuations). If you find a four lane urban road with under 18,000-21,000 aadt then it is a candidate for a road diet. The diet might recover the outside lanes for landscaping and streetscaping, protected parking lanes, bike lanes, or some combination. But maybe it isn’t needed for through traffic. Get out your red pencils! Roadway Classifications & Volumes     Roadway Classification Street Location AADT Survey Date Ward   Local    … Continue reading Traffic counts

Traffic in decline? some examples

In response to the previous post, a reader JV sent me data showing that some traffic predictions for 2021 (predictions made in 2003 TMP) are wildly too high, and that in fact measured traffic is actually declining on the Main Street and Bank Street bridge screenlines. (Bridges make nice places to count traffic as they are funnels, with limited by-pass options). Nonetheless, these old predictions continue to carry weight in justifying more road expenditures. Hmm. Anecdotal evidence, or some sample points, does not yet make a trend. But I am reminded that when our neighborhood fought the Bronson widening (see, suggesting … Continue reading Traffic in decline? some examples

New Year’s Diets: for roads

  Everyone is familiar with the New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, to get fit, to go on a diet. For the better part of a year the Rescue Bronson group in downtown Ottawa have been pushing back against the City’s plans to rebuild Bronson without first looking at what should be done with the road. Is it so perfect today that no improvements could be made? Is its interaction with the adjacent community, landlords, tenants, businesses, pedestrians, transit users … so obviously beneficent that no one need inquire if it could be improved? Or was the city just trying to slip a 1950’s … Continue reading New Year’s Diets: for roads