City hall roundup

Municipal and community officials spent the summer preparing for significant transportation-related changes expected in Old Ottawa East.

The environmental assessment for the proposed footbridge over the Rideau Canal at Clegg Street and Fifth Avenue moved forward.

Following the assessment, the city must decide whether to approve the bridge’s $5-to-10-million price tag.

The third and final public open house on the bridge project was to be held in June but was rescheduled for September to give authorities more time to review the cost estimate. Bridge construction is not forecast to begin before 2015.

The city agreed to add speed bumps on Hawthorne Avenue to deter drivers using the street as a short-cut to the Queensway.

“The residents on Hawthorne have lobbied aggressively for these traffic calming measures, and it looks as if their efforts will be rewarded,” said Ron Rose, Old Ottawa East Community Association’s Director of Transportation.

The city also agreed to install boulders to be used as seats in area parks at a projected cost of $1000 each – $200 per rock plus about $800 for transportation costs. Bulletin boards in the Old Town Hall and new park benches were among other projected purchases.

Capital Ward Coun. David Chernushenko is expected to do a ‘ward walk’ in September or October through the area most affected by planned reconstruction of Main Street. The walk will allow dialogue about the multi-million-dollar project between Chernushenko and the community and help set resident priorities, the councillor’s office said.

The first public consultation to cover Main Street construction and the 2014 redesign of the McIlraith Bridge will take place on Sept. 18.

“We are optimistic about the consultations which are scheduled to start in the fall,” Rose said. “The city has proposed that a number of consultations, either open houses or meetings of advisory committees, take place during the length of the project.”

An OECA-authorized committee of interest groups and individuals will focus on community demands during reconstruction of the bridge and Main Street. The committee will meet in September to prepare for public consultations, having spoken to other community associations to learn from their experiences in overhauling streets, Rose said.

Traffic concerns are at the top of most lists, he added. People are also worried about traffic expected to detour south on Main Street to Riverside Drive when the eastbound on-ramp to Highway 417 from Lees Avenue closes due to highway roadwork.

The OECA and Chernushenko’s office continued taking part in a grassroots committee campaigning against the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor. The much-debated project is aimed at improving north-south traffic flow – part of the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which will be renewed in 2013.

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