Old Ottawa East Community Association

By John Dance

Construction activity in Old Ottawa East continues to ramp up, along with traffic disruptions, noise, dust, more trucks, and, alas, fewer trees – at least in the short term. It’s both disruptive and promising, as a number of long-sought improvements get made and the community grows.

OECAWith hundreds of new residents, OOE will have an adequately large population base that justifies public and commercial amenities, such as a large grocery store and a community centre, that have long been lacking.

The glorious location of Old Ottawa East became strikingly obvious to a number of CAG and community association members last month. Josh Kardish of the Regional Group, which will develop the Oblates property, invited us to tour the Deschatelets Residence.

As part of the tour we went to the roof of the five-storey residence and below was all of Ottawa with the Gatineau hills in the distance. I had never before been so seized by the uniqueness of OOE with the Rideau River as our eastern and southern boundary, the canal on the west, and Sandy Hill and Centretown to the north.

Specific issues that have arisen over the last two months include:

Main Street Construction Traffic:

Old Ottawa East’s limited street network – with no readily accessible street parallel to the full length of Main – means traffic can’t simply be detoured through the community. While a lane for southbound traffic will be maintained throughout two years of construction there isn’t enough room to also maintain a northbound lane. Consequently, northbound buses will be detoured along Colonel By between Clegg and Hawthorne. But buses can’t travel on Colonel By south of Clegg because this would deny hundreds of residents, Main Street businesses and others use of the #5 and #16 buses.

The city has also proposed northbound buses (about 50 per day) be detoured onto Marlowe during the second phase of Main Street reconstruction. Local residents have challenged this proposal. After considerable discussion, the city demonstrated it had no sound alternative. However, it committed to working with residents to mitigate any adverse impacts.

In terms of cut-through traffic, residents in the neighbourhood west of Main and south of Clegg are concerned that more vehicles will take Mason, Bower and McNaughton as they go between Main and Colonel By Drive at Clegg. Additional turning restrictions from Main have been suggested as well as new stop signs along Mutchmor and McGillivray. The problem with additional turning restrictions is that local residents’ access to their homes would become more difficult. Meanwhile the community association led by Don Fugler is compiling base-line traffic counts so that we can see what changes actually occur during and after construction.

Col By Safe Crossing at Clegg: By the end of June, the fully signalized crossing at the Col By – Clegg intersection should be complete and pedestrians and cyclists will be able to safely cross the busy Colonel By Drive.

Ideas for Greystone Village Parks: Please let Eddie Gillis (info@ottawaeast.ca) know your ideas for Greystone Village’s three new public parks, i.e., the Grande Allée, the Deschatelets Forecourt and the Rideau River Nature Trail park along the river.

Celebrating the Sesquicentennial: What might OOE residents and organizations do to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017? Ideas submitted so far include: a prime ministers’ book club where all of our prime ministers would be discussed and celebrated; and a multi-community paddling circumnavigation of Rideau Island.

For more details check out the OOECA website at: http://www.ottawaeast.ca/.

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