Drop into the sales offices of the various developers active in the south end of Preston Street and you’ll notice a common theme. Their site is close (-er, or -est) to Preston, its lively cafe culture, the restaurants, the cute ethnics parading on the street.
A big part of Preston’s charm is that it is the traditional anchor of the Italian community. Most of them may have pulled up home anchors and sailed to greener suburban pastures, but the pull of church, banquets, “card games” at the cafe, weddings … the heart returns to Little Italy.
Every year the street is closed to car traffic on Friday and Saturday nights in June for Italians, those married to Italians, offspring of Italians, and those who like Italians, to parade up and down the street eating and drinking on-street. It’s a big party, and it’s a key part of Ottawa’s Italian culture.
So how are we going to have closed streets once those condos start appearing? It’s one thing to close little dead end streets with six houses on them. Tell the locals to park elsewhere, and presto, its done.
Will that be feasible when Taggart builds 150 apartments on Norman? Their only road access is via Preston ….
Will that be feasible when Richcraft builds 1300 apartments on Dow Honda? The City has directed that all traffic be routed via Adeline to Preston, even though Carling Avenue, which the City’s own reports acknowledge is underused, and grossly over-capacity … must be reserved for commuter traffic and not be sullied by having a driveway for local traffic.
So say goodbye to the street parties and street closures on Preston. But don’t worry, it won’t affect the attractiveness of the neighbourhood to new residents, or developers, or city planners all cozied up in their gray planning cubicles. People will just have to walk somewhere else. After all, whadd’ya think — that streets are for people?
Italian culture is just a little bit more collateral damage in Watson’s rush to remake Ottawa’s skyline. Nothin’ to see here folks, move right along.
tomorrow: Sidney could do better …