City’s Main Street road safety final report leaves community concerned for the future

By Tom Scott and The Mainstreeter

The City of Ottawa recently completed its review process for the Main Street Road Safety Audit and has provided a final traffic audit report to the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA).

The final report includes the City’s responses to the consultant’s twenty-five findings and recommendations contained in the draft report, as well as input from the OOECA Transportation group provided in response to an earlier draft report released in the fall. A copy of the final report can be found on the OOECA website.

OOECA members undertook a walk-about on Main Street following the release of the draft report, using their observations as the basis for their input to the City, which is found in the “Client Response” section of the final report and summarized in the report’s Appendix A. The city’s followup actions are outlined in Appendix B.

OOECA’s Transportation group will meet next and discuss the final report and its implications in an effort to develop a consensus view on: i) the adequacy of the consultant report; ii) the adequacy of the City staff ’s responses, including those relating to the group’s earlier input; iii) the amount of work needed to resolve safety concerns, which will now be considered by the City in the context of the Main Street NorthGreenfield-Hawthorne reconstruction project; and iv) whether issues observed in the Safety Audit will be improved or exacerbated by impending Main Street Overpass and Rideau Canal Crossing bridge work the province will undertake as part of its Highway 417 bridge renewal project.

The final report will also be discussed at the December OOECA Board meeting.

OOECA has already expressed concerns with the safety audit and the City staff ’s responses. In particular, the community association is troubled by the City’s “wait and see” approach for accident and injury reports to determine if observed infrastructure deficiencies should be improved.

“I hoped that the whole point of this community consultation would have been that we don’t need an injury or death to tell us we should have taken action,” said Tom Scott, chair of the OOECA Transportation group.

“A better risk management approach would be to observe incidents (where issues arose but where no material property damage or personal injury occurred) and actual safety issues over a longer time frame at the critical points already identified in the audit, plus those that OOECA added – but certainly not wait for reported accidents to better assess the safety concerns.” OOECA also believes that the larger community should have been consulted earlier in the process.

“There is another lesson to be learned here for collective community inputs to the upcoming public information sessions for the reconstruction projects related to Main Street North-GreenfieldHawthorne,” noted Scott.

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Filed in: FP, Main Street Renewal Tags: ,

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