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: http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/04/11/ViaductRemoval/
This leads me to wonder what roads in Ottawa might be candidates for removal. Not downsizing, not diets, but outright removal, and replacement with something else.
I can think of three right away for conversion: return the Alexandra bridge to a surface LRT line connecting downtown Ottawa (and the new Rideau LRT Station) to Gatineau.
Second, Colonel By Drive is a former rail line — it’s time to put it back. As a surface LRT line it would offer an intersection free route all the way to Carleton U. Ped bridges or tunnels would cross the Canal for easy access to the Glebe, Lansdowne Park, and adjacent lands, all without tearing up Bank Street. (Observant readers will realize that the Colonel By and Alexandra lines meet at Rideau Street and could well be continuous…).
And thirdly, the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway. As our LRT planners have documented, the two east-bound car lanes between Dominion and Lincoln Fields could easily be removed without seriously inconveniencing car traffic that would move over to a two-way road now occupied by the west-bound space (with all the buses on the ORP now, it functions as two lanes of busway and two lanes of car traffic).
But can we do more? Can we identify roads that could be totally removed and converted to non-car non-transit use, much the same way as we removed the streetcar lines and the rail lines in the 1960’s? What roads do you see as surplus blights on the urban fabric?
Let’s rule out roads not yet built, such as the Alta Vista “parkway”. Or the road planned but not finished that will run through Great Turtle & Mosquito Swamp in Kanata. And downsizing roads is too easy, so that rules out King Edward and returning Booth Street to the residents. I wanna see a list of roads that we could completely, totally do away with. There are bonus points if the removed traffic isn’t just dumped onto the next neighborhood over. Here’s one suggestion from a reader in BC: Could we tear up the Queensway and replace it with a two lane road for trucks, an LRT line for people, and bike and park space for the benefit of the adjacent communities now blighted by the noise and fumes?
Readers, start your
engines… err, crank up your minds, and identify the surplus roads.