Northern Main also to be a “Complete Street”

OOECA transportation director Ed Janes stands at the location of the proposed safer crossing of Colonel By Drive, one of a number of road improvements planned for the north end of Old Ottawa East. Photo by: John Dance

OOECA transportation director Ed Janes stands at the location of the proposed safer crossing of Colonel By Drive, one of a number of road improvements planned for the north end of Old Ottawa East. Photo by: John Dance

Potential New Crossing on Colonel By Drive
By John Dance

Plans to complete the northern end of Main Street are well underway, driven by the need to replace aging water and sewer lines in much of Old Ottawa East’s triangular neighbourhood north of the Queensway. Plans include finishing Main’s ‘complete street’ and potentially creating a safer pedestrian crossing of Colonel By Drive.

A high-level plan for this area, along with portions of Hawthorne and Echo Streets south of the Queensway, was recently approved by Coun. David Chernushenko following consultation with residents. Further consultations will be held during the detailed design work over the next two years.

The plan for cycling and pedestrian facilities on the northern section of Main Street is similar to that of the southern section. For the most part there will be an elevated cycle track and a widened sidewalk separated by a “tactile strip.”

A constrained City right of way coupled with the desire to preserve existing landscaping and existing building features where possible has led to shared pedestrian and cycling portions for two short stretches: in front of The Emporium and on the west side of Main Street alongside 10 Main, the condominium at the corner of Main Street and Echo Drive.

The downside of the expanded pedestrian and cycling facilities is that the spruce trees in front of the Glassworks condominium at the southeast corner of Main Street and Greenfield Avenue will be removed. But according to Vanessa Black, the City engineer who led the functional design process, new trees will be planted at other locations so that the loss will be balanced out.

“I have worked closely with City staff and the community to come up with a design that comes as close to creating a continuous cycle track as possible, but without excessive impact on landscaping and street trees. This is a challenge in a space-constrained urban area,” said Coun. Chernushenko. “I am pleased overall with the result. It will be a huge improvement for most.”

The City’s functional design for the northern part of Main Street and Greenfield shows improved pedestrian and cycling facilities like those of the rebuilt southern portion of Main. Graphic courtesy of the City of Ottawa

The City’s functional design for the northern part of Main Street and Greenfield shows improved pedestrian and cycling facilities like those of the rebuilt southern portion of Main. Graphic courtesy of the City of Ottawa

Ryan Power, owner of The Emporium at the corner of Harvey Street and Main Street, echoes this sentiment. “The plan looks awesome,” said Power, a resident of Alta Vista who often bikes to work along the new Main Street cycle tracks south of the Queensway.

However, as one of Old Ottawa East’s oldest businesses, The Emporium has endured years of construction and Power worries the new project – slated to begin in 2020 – could have a negative effect on his business.

The planned road work extends considerably beyond Main Street. With the exceptions of Harvey Street east of Main, Concord Street North between Harvey Street and Havelock Street, and Havelock itself, all of the other streets in the area – including the full length of Greenfield Avenue and Hawthorne Avenue west of Main Street – will be reconstructed.

In addition to wider sidewalks in a number of areas there will also be better cycling facilities on both Hawthorne and Greenfield Avenue, including raised cycle tracks along Greenfield and a short multi-use pathway on the east side of Colonel By Drive between Hawthorne Avenue and Graham Avenue allowing cyclists to readily access Echo Drive to the south and the bike lanes on Graham Avenue. The modifications on Greenfield Avenue will lead to a reduction of on-street parking in some sections.

The full cost and duration of all of the work has not yet been determined.

Crossing at Colonel By

A proposed safer crossing at Colonel By Drive from the west side of Main Street is also in the project plan and within the National Capital Commission’s initiative for safer crossings of the canal parkways. Originally Old Ottawa East was slated to get only the safe crossing at Clegg Street along with the existing crossing at Pretoria-Hawthorne.

NCC spokesperson Cédric Pelletier said, “In the spirit of implementing the 2011 Rideau Canal Corridor Pedestrian Crossing Study the NCC has worked with the City of Ottawa on the conceptual idea to integrate its cycling and pedestrian network on Main Street with the popular Eastern Rideau Canal Pathway. The Commission is pleased with the City’s ongoing commitment to enhance connections in that corridor.”

Vanessa Black said the improved crossing at the northern end of Main is “subject to funding availability and NCC approval.”

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Filed in: FP, Front Page, Main Street Renewal

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