The City held an open house last night on the OLRT. There wasn’t anything new there that you wouldn’t know about if you read the papers and this blog.
I did feel a sense of insincerity about it though. Quickly announced, not much content, a quick visit from Hiz Honnor: I got the feeling the event was held so that some lawyer could point to it later on, at a hearing, saying “See, we had lots of public consultation, blah blah blah”.
Rather more disturbing was the number of minor errors on the display boards. Many of them I have seen before, and pointed out at consultation sessions. But they don’t get fixed.
And I must say I don’t mind if ordinary citizens get mixed up which is Scott Street and which is Albert. But it does bug me when city planners mislabel Albert as Scott. Accuracy and good knowledge starts at the top.
At Tunneys Pasture, the City planted a dense grove of trees along the north edge of the transitway cut. After 30 years or so, these have grown to a nice mature size. They are to be cut down, replaced by a bus stop, on the other side of which the city proposes to plant a new double row of trees. Why not simply move the bus stop a few meters north and keep the mature trees and don’t plant the new ones? But trees seem to be just decorations, accessories, the throw-pillows of transit decor.
And why is Ottawa’s largest (or maybe it’s the second largest) office building, the 29 storey Place de Ville, home of Transport Canada no less, labelled as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Building, when they are mere tenants in another multipurpose building? And the Bank of Nova Scotia, located next door, left years ago; and ditto the Marriott Hotel is not Scotiabank either. Nor is there a BofM at Kent/Albert anymore; try SlatOr. I’ll forgive the old Delta not being The National, as that is new, but the new Delta replaced the Crowne Plaza about a year ago.
It doesn’t inspire confidence.
It also gets tiresome at public consultation sessions when suggestions are batted away. The Lees Avenue station, for example, delivers all its users out onto the street above, where they can make an at-grade crossing to the Ottawa U satellite campus there. Now students are disproportionate users of transit, and if I may so observe, somewhat prone to feeling immortal and above the law. I therefore predict there will be widespread crossing of this street against the light. And the City enthuses about putting lots more traffic at that intersection, where peds are just so much collatoral delay to motorists.
So why not simply connect the platform to the University property after going under Lees? Ah, the answer is that “such details are to be considered later”, perhaps when the adjacent property owners “offer to pay for the connection”. My answer to that, based on decades and decades of hearing the same cock and bull story from the city, is that when the final plans are being shown such suggestions will be deemed “too late to make any changes because they would delay the whole project and you wouldn’t want to do that, would you?”
The ritual of public consultation grows wearying.