Urban detail (ii) repurposing roads and streets

In addition to converting minor urban streets into cycling-friendly facilities…

or removing a parking lane from very wide streets to make a cycling facility …

we can find entire roads or multi-lane freeways removed to make way for pedestrian and cyclist facilities that allow more people close up access to the waterways and open spaces of the big city:

Of course, those who prefer to see nature from cars or commute faster wont be impressed, and will complain of the war on cars:

When might we see Colonel By Drive or Queen Elizabeth Driveway shift from being primarily commuter through roads back to local access streets, streetcar lines,  or even dialed back completely to make way for people to rub up against nature directly?

Note that recent NCC efforts to shift the focus on Sir John A Macdonald Parkway (aka Ottawa River Commuter Expressway) from through traffic to a more people-friendly park-like design is only a very first step, and a fairly timid one at that since it preserves automotive dominance and banishes transit as unworthy of riparian views. Sigh.

3 thoughts on “Urban detail (ii) repurposing roads and streets

  1. But lets fight the LRT Tunnel along the Ottawa River Parkway! Riders deserve the view, as much as bicyclists and runners… wouldn’t you say?

    1. The problem with the western exit of the LRT being a surface track is that it becomes a barrier to people who might otherwise enjoy a stroll from their neighbourhood to the parkland along the river. The surface LRT tracks will likely have to be protected by high fences to prevent people from crossing them willy nilly, endangering not only themselves but also the people on the LRT. That these people already cross the high speed, multi-lane Western Parkway at their own peril is beside the point. As Eric Darwin pointed out in his recent series on Copenhagen, the absence of rails or other barriers along the harbours and canals was noteworthy, in comparison to what we so often see here in Ottawa.

      Access across the approximately 1 km length of surface track would require one or more elevated walkways (like the bungled pedestrian bridge over the Airport Parkway). Absent that, these people would be forced to walk around the extended barrier.

      It would have been prudent (first week content in a Planning 101 level course) for the city to negotiate the land rights with the NCC in advance of starting construction of Phase 1. The explicit decision to not do so created a public confrontation, and as a consequence the subsequent PR battle. This failure to take the most basic of steps in planning (securing the right to use the land) was due to political gamesmanship by City Hall, not the NCC.

  2. Yes, I think the discrimination against transit users along the waterfront is elitist thinking at its worst.
    But then ,,, given winter weather, maybe only the tunnelled sections will actually work in winter … and then maybe we will be covering the Scott Street trench to make it a tunnel too (and get the cheapest new parkland above it possible), and covering the surface portion on leBreton Flats, and covering the Trillium Line cut.
    Life is full of unintended consequences, good and bad.

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