New Saftey Feature For The Corner of Main and Hawthorne

John Dance

Permanent bollards may be installed at the dangerous southwest corner of Main Street and Hawthorne Avenue in order to provide some improved safety for the many pedestrians and cyclists who use this intersection.

In light of the insufficient improvements that City staff proposed for the corner in the plans for the rebuilt Hawthorne Avenue, Councillor Shawn Menard recently proposed to City staff that solid concrete or steel bollards be installed.

Some years ago, Councillor Menard persuaded staff to install “flex posts” to delineate and protect the substandard pedestrian “storage” area at the corner. Unfortunately, this installation is regularly destroyed as large vehicles cut the corner and run over the sidewalk. The Main Street Safety Audit of 2018 deemed the safety issue as “extreme” but aside from the “flex posts” nothing has been done to remedy the situation.

The key challenge is that the building on the corner is built to the lot line and the sidewalk has substandard width. The City says it does not have enough time to acquire additional roadway width from the provincial government before the Hawthorne reconstruction begins.

The “flex posts” at the southwest corner of Main and Hawthorne have again been destroyed but, when the intersection is reconstructed, permanent bollards may be installed to protect pedestrians from large vehicles running over the substandard sidewalk. Photo by John Dance

The “flex posts” at the southwest corner of Main and Hawthorne have again been destroyed but, when the intersection is reconstructed, permanent bollards may be installed to protect pedestrians from large vehicles running over the substandard sidewalk. Photo by John Dance

Consequently, the fundamental problem of inadequate space may not be remedied for years, if ever.

In response to Menard’s request that solid bollards be installed, City staff wrote: “ [T]he addition of permanent bollards in this location may be merited and so we will look into the design further and also review details from the similar installation at Rideau / Waller.”

However, the Rideau / Waller use of bollards is strictly along Waller and they do not provide protection for pedestrians waiting at the corner.

“The current flex stakes at Main / Hawthorne are situated around the radius [of the corner] and, given the close proximity of the corner building, the placement of immovable bollards could pose a problem for accessibility; specifically, ensuring that pedestrians have sufficient space to pass in a location where pedestrian storage is also required,” City staff wrote.

“This is something we will need to assess,” they continued. “However, […] perhaps placing the bollards on the Hawthorne approach to the intersection, may be enough to encourage the trucks to start their turns in the correct location, and prevent trucks encroaching on the curb / sidewalk around the radius.”

The use of bollards to protect pedestrians in other cities such as Paris is standard practice. In Ottawa, bollards have been used to protect above-ground gas lines and electrical boxes. The question is whether the City will now also use them to provide solid protection to pedestrians and cyclists at what is arguably Old Ottawa East’s most dangerous corner.

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