The Preston “extension” running north from the Preston/Albert intersection, is a popular paved path for pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers, and people walking to Gatineau. The NCC recently closed and locked the gate (scroll down to see two previous posts…).
Typically for the NCC, it did so after saying it would leave the link open. And it closes the link without explanation. Well, Madame Chairman Marie Lemay has finally responded to a resident. Here is her letter (I added the bolding to the key phrase):
“Thank you for your e-mail of September 30, 2011, regarding the closure of an informal passageway leading north from Preston Street. We are sorry for the inconvenience or the apparent ambiguity in our messages but, as always, public safety is our priority. This access is closed for safety concerns, specifically the fact that it leads to the Transitway at a point where there is not a marked pedestrian crossing. This access is not part of our maintained network of trails. It is not an official pathway; it is an informal shortcut which was opened during Bluesfest because for that period it had been possible to provide a staffed controlled access. We are currently looking into this matter with the City of Ottawa to determine if it can be made safely accessible to the public, specifically at the Transitway crossing. As soon as we hear back from the City will we be in a position to make a decision and we will inform you. We appreciate your patience and thank you for sharing your concerns with us.
Marie Lemay, P.Eng., ing.Chief Executive Officer
Manager, Executive Office Administration and Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer / Gestionnaire, administration du bureau de la direction et adjointe exécutive à la première dirigeante
National Capital Commission / Commission de la capitale nationale
202-40 Elgin, Ottawa, ON K1P 1C7 www.canadascapital.ca
Tel: 613-239-5271 Fax: 613-239-5039
E-mail / courriel: firstname.lastname@example.org“
There are two major errors in the explanation. First, the NCC claims there is no marked pedestrian crossing of the transitway. In fact, it has been a marked, signed, painted legal crosswalk there for three decades:
above: crosswalk on transitway viewed looking south towards Preston
Second, the NCC claims the path was only recently reopened to benefit Bluesfest, and only while there could be manned crossing guards.
While it would be nice if the NCC provided crossing guards at all busy crosswalks (lets start with all the intersections along Confederation Boul.) their rationale is plainly hooey. The crossing has been a public legal crosswalk for thirty years, year round, not just during Bluesfest. I am unaware of any incidents, accidents, collisions, or other dangers over the 30 years.
Finally, the NCC lobs the ball into the City’s court, saying they want a safe crossing. Since the lines are already painted, the signs are already up, this should take the City less than five minutes to confirm to the NCC that it is in fact a crossing. I am bringing this to my councillor’s attention.