Main Street Re-opens, Readers Speak Out

When traffic began circulating again in Old Ottawa East, we asked some of our far-flung correspondents to weigh in on the new Main Street. The O’Reillys of Harvey Street actually gathered comments from several neighbours.

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It would be good if they could finish the job and renovate the north end of Main Street. Are there plans to do so? The sidewalks up our end are woefully inadequate – all cracked and narrow! It would be good if The Emporium – Canadiana furniture – could be honoured by having the sidewalks and streetscape improved. It’s a small business of almost 40 years duration. It’s a valuable part of both Main Street and the entire city of Ottawa.

I am generally happy with the work, but I have two questions:
1) Will the bike paths receive winter maintenance, once the construction is over?
2) When will Main Street north of the 417 be reconstructed?

Overall, we are very impressed with the Main Street reno. It’s a great improvement, with the designated bike and walking lanes and the green painted road-markings. But is it actually finished? What about the gaping holes around the newly planted trees? The brickwork is falling into the holes. We notice the broken bollards where drivers racing southward on Main keep crashing into them. Now they are all broken. We fear an accident one day with people racing down the street to work in the morning, then noticing (at the last minute) the street swerving left and darting out in front of other drivers. Daily, angry honking ensues! Slow down, mes amis!!

Also we worry about the trees. Is there an irrigation system in place? There seems to be a deep drop between sidewalk level and tree-ball level. Hoping that these trees will be maintained, and not just left to languish and die as so often happens with city-planted trees. Looking forward to seeing the big artwork in front of St. Paul U. We really like the benches. They look like nice ones. There could be more public garbage receptacles is the only thing. But overall: a great job and a great improvement. Well done, guys!

J. and S. O’Reilly (Harvey Street)

 

Before the snow buried the new sidewalks, they looked fantastic. The benches are the best street benches I think I have seen. With all the extra sidewalk space in front of the Green Door, I hope the shops there get sidewalk tables ASAP. Shade is an issue in the summer however. Perhaps umbrellas will look after that but we can hope for the little trees to chip in. The whole big investment makes me think it would be a good place to sit and people watch, but not yet.

The balance of its greatness will depend on making it people-friendly. It will need more then the Green Door and the other fine shops already there. It will depend on the shops, restaurants and whatever else is there to draw people to be Down on Main Street (Bob Seger).

So, while there is snow, all the extra effort is of little value. In fact. it kind of bothers me that in some spots they have been doing the extra snow-clearing. That while the bike route closed signs are up. I thought two feet of snow on the bike route would be self-explanatory like all their fancy-pants symbols they have painted at every corner.

The only thing that has bugged me is the extra sits in traffic. It does not work well around Hazel, which tends to back things up. That turning lane that I think will be valuable when the new development is in has caused anxiety with drivers. I think (the city is) on the right track ending the left lane from Lees with a temporary island. However I think the turning lane into the neighbourhood needs to be longer. (Perhaps I should have been a traffic planner.) As with everything the city does, patience is a blessing.

The only other worry I might have is what bikers feel entitled to do along the bike routes. That could affect the friendliness of the sidewalks in the summer. (I am wondering about kids and absent- minded adults in front of fast-moving bikes.) But that remains to be seen.

We’re a short way into the project so we’ll see how it works out. I hope those wide sidewalks are like a dream catcher. The dream is a place where people in the neighbourhood walk out to see other people in person. Then we can call it ‘social’ infrastructure!

Jamie Brougham (Letchworth Street)

 

The City Takes your questions

We sent reader questions to the city. Josee Vallee, the senior engineer of infrastructure projects, who has led the way on Main Street reconstruction, replied.

1. Will the bike paths receive winter maintenance, once the construction is over?
ANSWER: The cycle tracks north of Clegg Street are presently winter maintained and the cycle tracks south of Clegg Street will be winter maintained once construction is over.

2. When will Main Street north of the 417 be reconstructed?
ANSWER: A functional plan is presently being prepared for Main Street from Harvey Street to Echo Drive, Hawthorne Avenue from Colonel By Drive to Main Street, Greenfield Avenue from Main Street to King Edward Avenue and Colonel By Drive/Echo Drive from Hawthorne Avenue to Graham Avenue. Detail Design will begin late 2017 or early 2018 once the functional plan is developed and a design consultant is retained.
Construction could start as early as 2019, depending on the phasing developed during detailed design but may get pushed later due to various factors. The construction schedule is dependent on utility work, combined sewer separation phasing, coordination with other local projects with respect to traffic impacts and funding. Definitive timing of construction is unlikely to be available until late 2018 or early 2019 in the detailed design phase.

3. What about the gaping holes around the newly planted trees? The brickwork is falling into the holes.
ANSWER: The settled pavers will be repaired in the spring. Any safety concerns will be addressed immediately.

4. We noticed the broken bollards where drivers racing southward on Main keep crashing into them. Now they are all broken. Will they be repaired?
ANSWER: Three bollards are presently damaged. All damaged bollards will be replaced or repaired in the spring.

5. Also we worry about the trees. Is there an irrigation system in place?
ANSWER: All the street trees north of Clegg located between the cycle track and the sidewalk are planted in Silva Cells. A Silva Cell is a modular building block used to contain healthy soil beneath a hard surface like a cycle track and a sidewalk. The Silva Cells support the cycle track and sidewalk loads and are filled with high-quality, uncompacted soil to grow trees. The system includes irrigation pipes to aid in watering of trees and the trees will be watered regularly.

6. There could be more public garbage receptacles. Are there more coming?
ANSWER: A total of seven recycling units will be installed this spring (between Hawthorne Avenue and Clegg Street). Each recycling unit will have three receptacles – bottles and cans, trash and paper.

 

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Filed in: Front Page, Letters

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