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Infrastructure improvements in six Ottawa neighbourhoods

October 30, 2018 Written by a HealthBridge guest blogger Accessibility, Advocacy, Cars, Cities, Cycling, Impact, Livable Cities, Public Transit, Walking Post a comment!

Since 2015, we have been working with residents in six lower-income neighbourhoods to identify improvements needed to make them better places for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit riders. This has involved door-to-door outreach, sharing circles, active transportation audits, the formation of resident-led working groups, dot-mocracy to prioritize the top needed improvements, and pop-up projects intended to demonstrate how the neighbourhood would improve if the needed improvement were implemented.

As a follow up to all these activities, we have then worked with the local city councillor to seek their support, and the support of the City, to make the improvements permanent.  

Bayshore: residents indicated two main priorities: i) the need for a better pathway connection from the community to the nearby Trans Canada Trail; and ii) their desire for a safe pedestrian crossing on Woodridge Crescent north of the Bayshore Transitway Station. We worked with the property owner, Ferguslea, to have them pave and widen the pathway connection to the TransCanada Trail so that it avoids two large dumpsters. And, we’re presently working with the City, the local City Councillor Mark Taylor, and residents to hold a pedestrian crosswalk pop-up project in September 2018. By attending consultations related to pedestrian and cycling connectivity to Phase 2 of the City’s Light Rail Transit Project, we were able to secure a commitment from the City that it will provide a safe pedestrian crossing at the location by the time Light Rail Transit starts operating at Bayshore, currently scheduled for 2023, and we hope the pop-up project will demonstrate the need for the safe pedestrian crossing to be implemented more quickly than that.  

Heron Gate: residents prioritized the need for safe cycling infrastructure on Heron and Walkley Roads, and on Bank Street; in addition, they wanted a pathway paved that runs through Sandalwood Park connecting residential buildings to the Herongate Square shopping centre and the closest grocery store. We received media coverage (in the Metro newspaper; 23 May 2016) of the residents’ desire for the safe cycling infrastructure on Heron Road, spoke with the City Councillor Jean Cloutier, and City cycling staff, and in August 2016 the federal government provided $275,000 in funding for the design and construction of an eastbound cycle track on the south side of Heron Road. The cycle track segment runs about 790 metres eastbound from the Colbert Pathway and the shopping centre entrance opposite Jefferson Road. And, in June 2018, the pathway through Sandalwood Park was paved with asphalt, following a related pop-up project we held in the park in 2016, and work with Councillor Cloutier’s office and City Parks staff. 
Vanier: residents indicated one main priority, which was the need for more bus shelters and benches in Vanier, including on Montreal Road. Working with local residents, City Councillor Mathieu Fleury, and City staff, we held a pop-up bus shelter and bench in Vanier on Montreal Road in September 2018. We surveyed approximately 171 people throughout the day, which included people either waiting for the bus or walking on the sidewalk. In some cases, people were biking on the sidewalk because Montreal Rd. currently lacks safe cycling infrastructure. The vast majority of respondents indicated overwhelming support for bus shelters and benches along Montreal Road and throughout Vanier. Among those 171 who answered the survey, 169 indicated they would like more bus shelters and benches on Montreal Rd., and throughout Vanier in general. In addition, 158 respondents said they would prefer a smaller, less protective bus shelter if there were space constraints compared to having no bus shelter at all. Although the City has not yet made a firm commitment, and space constraints may make things challenging, we are confident that we have adequately demonstrated to the City that the neighbourhood needs more bus shelters and benches. As a result, as part of the Montreal Road reconstruction project, the City is planning to install six additional bus shelters, for a total of 13. 

Cummings: residents indicated a desire for safe cycling infrastructure on Donald St. from Cummings Ave. to the Vanier Parkway. We met with Councillors Tim Tierney and Tobi Nussbaum to discuss the priority and learned of the City’s plans to build a protected intersection that will improve it for pedestrians and cyclists at St. Laurent Blvd. and Donald Street. Responding to the community’s needs, Councillor Tierney secured a commitment to add painted bike lanes on Donald to be completed during a scheduled road resurfacing between Cummings and St. Laurent to occur in Sept. 2018. Councillor Tierney also had staff fix a badly damaged sidewalk on the south side of Donald near the Q Residential apartment towers.

Bells Corners West: working with residents and City Councillor Rick Chiarelli, we put in pop-up bike lanes on July 22, 2018. One hundred people attended the event and more than 500 people signed a petition addressed to the City asking it to add safe cycling infrastructure on Moodie Drive and to reduce the speed limit from 60km/h down to 50km/h. The event received extensive media coverage (including on CBC News, CBC Radio’s All in a Day, CTV News, CTV Ottawa, and Radio-Canada) and Councillor Chiarelli is now planning to add the residents’ formal request to City Council’s meeting agenda in August 2018. He’ll also speak to Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli to seek his support for the improvements.  

Hawthorne Meadows–Sheffield Glen And, in Hawthorne Meadows–Sheffield Glen, a curb extension and crosswalk pop-up will hopefully occur in September or October.

Thanks to our members, supporters, and funders We have been able to make this progress thanks to the support of residents of Ottawa, our members (who live around the world, including

in the National Capital Region), our volunteers, and important funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Sweanor Family Fund, the Ottawa Community Foundation, Safer Roads Ottawa, and the Ottawa Sustainability Fund. 

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