Preston Extension open (for how long…)

Recall that last week the Preston extension (running north from Albert to a legal crosswalk over the transitway to NCC paths along the River) was suddenly gated and locked. We still don’t know for sure who did it, but the NCC seems willing to take the hit.

Then, the next day the gate was open. I am told that the chain/lock were cut rather than unlocked.

On Tuesday evening, the path received heavy use for patrons heading out to Bluesfest, where they could catch The Long Waits and The NeverEnding Lineups. About dusk I headed out to check out the route.

Upon first seeing the route, the wife announced that a 747 must be making an emergency landing there. Our second thought was that Kate and her Willy were back to catch a few concerts. Indeed, the were was an enormous bright light illuminating the crossing of the transitway. The extension itself was lined with barricades on either side to prevent people from wandering off into the dangerous deep grasses of LeBreton Flats. OC Transpo was out in force with security guards and a large overhead light to make the crossing safer!


OC Transpo pulled out all the stops for the event. Three cars and four officers were requried to man person the crosswalk. Looking east and west, there was an enormous platoon of buses awaiting the rush minutes at the end of the show. Drivers start appearing at the end of regular work day rush hour, socializing until the last concert. I do wonder why OC cannnot have at least some of them cruising the 95 route all evening, offering a bit of extra service to the patrons of the transitway.

Despite the location of Bluesfest adjacent the transitway and O-Train service, thousands of people drove to the event*. What puzzles me is the common hope amongst motorists that they can arrive late and find convenient on-street parking in the first residential block off the site. Hint: try crusin’ the streets starting about a kilometer away.

Meanwhile, word continues to spread amongst neighbors that the Preston extension is to be closed to public use, and if it happens, we can expect a loud chorus of disapproval from many.



*The optimists in the Glebe continually point to the Flats as an “ideal” stadium site, conveniently ignoring the one they have, its partial replacement, or the next best recommended site(s) which were also in the same Glebe/Ottawa South areas. That proximity to rapid transit will result in no traffic problems, or neighborhood noise or parking problems, can be disproven by a simple walk around our neighborhood on Noisefest evenings. Every street, corner, and bulbout has cars appended, the main streets are closed for crowd control, etc etc. Honestly, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to thinking we live in the Glebe.

8 thoughts on “Preston Extension open (for how long…)

  1. and on the way out last night everyone naturally drifted onto the footpath in the right of the picture. The footpath access is a few feet before the paved path, and everyone just took the literal path of least resistance. We were all walking single/double file, beside this big wide paved path that couldn’t be accessed because of the barriers.

  2. We need either the Preston street extension or the path from Bayview opened to the the river. I walked through the extension yesterday evening with my son, along the river to the POW bridge and then along the path to Bayview and then back home via City Center. I laughed at the ‘barriers’ along the side of the path of the extension, plus the gas powered lights and the transit cops being paid overtime. What a waste of time and money.
    There is no sign warning you to keep out along the path to Bayview. OC Transpo has put up many newly painted saw horses along the north edge of their property at Bayview station. All they say is “OC Transpo” They certainly don’t say “Keep Out” . The permanent signs at the edge of the station say “No Trespassing” To me walking through the station is in no way trespassing. In any case we were not challenged by the Special (Olympic) Constables.
    I think the powers that be (City, NCC, Transpo?) are most worried about cheapskate Bluesfest fans driving on the Parkway going west, stopping and backing down the unused on ramp that you can get to from the so called Preston extension. There were temporary barriers at the top of the ramp yesterday and fresh looking smashed car body parts in the underpass. I guess its too difficult to put the padlocked chain linked fence at the top of the ramp, as opposed to where it crosses the transitway. That would make things too easy for those darned pedestrians and cyclists.

  3. I’d like to comment a bit on your footnote.

    Nobody wants event parking on their residential streets. That’s true anywhere in the city. I agree this problem exists in the Glebe and in Mechanicsville. I’d also say that the Glebe residents should have expected some sort of events to happen at Lansdowne, as they have in the past.

    However, the scale that has been expected for Lansdowne far exceeds any normal predictions. For instance, they’re planning on somewhere around 1,000 visitors on a normal weekend evening. While CFL games in the past have brought in maybe 20,000, now the expectation is around 25,000. And there’s condos, plus less onsite parking. So there will be a lot more traffic.

    Because the Glebe has no good public transit connections, two things will happen:
    – they will run buses from feeder parking lots (through Indian Village near Madawaska, then through Fifth, and more along Grove), but only for events, so residents have the PITA of having buses on their streets with none of the benefits of having actual transit
    – using suboptimal routing means public transit will be even less attractive, and more people will drive, thus adding parking pressure to the nearby neighbourhoods

    Transit use really can relieve local parking pressure, and that’s hard to provide in the Glebe. But that is something that could have been provided at Lebreton.

    I recognize that Noisefest isn’t a lot of fun for the neighbours, so consider now that the Glebe will have this more than 12 times a year spread out over the entire year, plus general day-to-day traffic problems, and shitty transit. And council representation in support of OSEG comes largely from far away, ie. football fans will be travelling from afar, many of whom would never take the bus.

    I also have a lot to say about the ability to walk or bike to the site… let’s just say it is not good.

    Looking into my crystal ball, the end result of this will be either we’ll get as many people as expected and traffic will be a nightmare, or not enough people will show up and the businesses (CFL, most probably) will go bust.

    I know a lot of people in the Glebe who are well educated on this topic. The only optimists I know are OSEG and city staff who are trying to ignore the transportation hell this will be, much of which will fall onto the shoulders of the local residents.

    1. Parking is a pain to the Glebe. Transit is a pain to the Glebe.

      We get it: anything that involves non-Glebesters doing anything in the Glebe is a problem for the Glebe.

      Life must be tough.

      I always thought an elegant way of getting people to/from Lansdowne events would be special buses on the Driveway, running between downtown and Carling O-Train in both directions. But, nope, not only will the NCC not allow it, they are enabled by the Glebesters who don’t want to share their car path with buses.

      1. Exactly. Except for the Tulipbuses and Snobuses, only slightly more so. (The connection to Carling O-Train is key). But, for some reason, buses at any other time of year are considered a blight on the neighbourhood.

      2. The transportation nightmare has nothing to do with Glebites, Glebazis or whatever else you want to call them. The geographic constraints of narrow roads and poor connectors makes this always a difficult place for large events. The result of this is a lot of foreign traffic clogging residential streets that were not meant for it.

        The problem isn’t just that of the locals, either. It will be difficult for people to get to Lansdowne. If those businesses fail (eg. the CFL team), it is a financial burden on all tax payers.

        There’s this strange attitude where somehow if you live in the Glebe, your concern for your neighbourhood should not matter.

  4. On the note about biking to Lansdowne, I had a laugh when the traffic consultants (from Texas) stated that 67’s games would have a 7% biking share. Maybe they didn’t get out a weather chart!

    On the greater point, I think it is obvious that a stadium ON a rapid transit line is better than one NOT on a rapid transit line. Every cities experience with stadiums shows this. Will people still drive? Of course they will, but that is where the city has to get tough and create very high priced lots and ban event parking in teh surrounding neighbourhood. In the case of the Glebe, not only are they not banning event parking, they are using street parking as the way in (because the stadium has insufficient parking to be allowed under the bylaws).

    I do not see this as a desire to shift a problem to a poorer neighbourhood – the cities own analysis shows that the LeBreton Flats area is the best spot for a new stadium.

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