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Wanted: Home for Bridge to Gatineau

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Post by Olivia Crossman

Seldom do issues ignite passion in suburban residents like the plan to build a sixth inter-provincial bridge linking Ottawa and Gatineau in the city’s east end.

On the evening of June 12th, large crowds gathered at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans. A public consultation was hosted by the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Roche-GENIVAR Joint Venture as part of Phase 2B of the Interprovincial Crossing Environmental Assessment (EA) Study. The planners are considering public input for the social, cultural, human health, environmental, transportation and economic factors to select a corridor for the bridge.

Dozens of posters lined the walls in the lower lobby illustrating three potential crossing locations. The first, Corridor 5, crosses the Ottawa River at Kettle Island near the Rockcliffe Airport and uses the Aviation Parkway. On the other hand, Corridors 6 and 7 connect to the 174 further east, in Orléans.

Three corridors for new interprovincial bridge under consideration by NCC (National Capital Commission).

The public consultation event was the second of its kind. A week earlier, about 40 people attended a similar open house in Gatineau. Attendance at the Orléans event was not recorded; however, a representative said that they had run out of 1,000 printed comment cards and encouraged others to submit their feedback online before July 5th.

To the dismay of many attendees with “No Bridge” buttons and signs, a six-lane bridge will likely be built, according to the Roche-GENIVAR consultants. The goal is to ease the number of trucks that travel through the downtown core each day, most of which use King Edward and the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge. It is predicted that the bridge will keep downtown truck traffic to its current level (about 2,700 trucks daily); without a bridge, that number would more than double by 2031.

The question then remains: where to build the bridge? In 2008, a technical and environmental study elected Corridor 5 as the preferred route but public pressure by area residents led to reconsideration of other options. Now, the groups of east-end community residents (Rockcliffe, Manor Park, Rothwell Heights, Beacon Hill, and Orléans) have banded together in opposing all three proposed routes.

They argue that the bridge will have a negative impact on residents, hospitals, businesses and schools in the area; it will create a second heavily congested roadway ruining established neighbourhoods, popular bike paths and scenic roadways along the Rockcliffe Parkway and in the Greenbelt. What is more, it is not clear that it will achieve the objective of removing trucks from downtown. Instead, opponents say it will encourage urban sprawl and attract commuters from Gatineau, ultimately increasing congestion on the two-lane 174.

Though he does not have the authority to curtail the project, Mayor Jim Watson has recently said the $500-600 million earmarked for bridge construction would be better spent on extending the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system (which is set to be finished by mid-2018).

For now, it looks like east-end residents will just have to wait and see. In the coming months, the evaluation committee will select the preferred corridor which will be subject to Round 3 of public consultation in the fall. In late winter/early spring 2013, the final round of consultation will assess a preliminary design of the bridge.

Learn more and submit feedback online here.

Comments

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www.kingedwardavenue.com/includes/news/releases/speeding_e.doc

- pc

Get the trucks out of downtown! These 'protestors' should be ashamed of themselves; it's life and death! ANNEX : King Edward Avenue – Serious Accident Inventory: • In December 2009, a male in his 20’s was rushed to hospital with significant trauma after he was struck by a car on Rideau Street near King Edward Avenue; • [Death] In June 2009, a 55-year old male pedestrian was struck by a bus at the corner of King Edward Avenue and Murray Street and died later of his injuries; • In April 2009, a 58-year old male pedestrian was hit by a school bus at the corner of St. Patrick Street and King Edward Avenue (status unknown); • [Death] In March 2009, a 49-year-old mother’s car was struck by a cement truck killing her instantly at King Edward Avenue and St. Patrick Street; • [Death] In October 2008, an 86-year old female pedestrian was struck by a truck near King Edward Avenue on Rideau Street, on the truck route, and died; • In October 2008, a car struck a person in a wheelchair sending the person to hospital. • [Death] In July 2007, a truck hit a car making an illegal turn at St. Patrick Street and King Edward Avenue and the 65-year old passenger was killed; • In March 2007, a 20-year old woman was struck and sustained a broken pelvis bone; • [Death] In September 2006, a truck struck and killed an elderly male pedestrian at King Edward Avenue and Rideau Street. His body was dragged up to 18 meters before the tractor trailer stopped; • In November 2005, a 53-year-old woman was struck at King Edward and Rideau Street and sustained life-threatening injuries; • In June 2003, an 81-year-old man was struck by a truck at King Edward Avenue and Rideau Street and was dragged several meters, but survived; • [Death] In October 2002, a 22-year-old courier driver was thrown from his vehicle and killed instantly when another car struck his parked vehicle on King Edward Avenue at a very high velocity; • A bus driver lost control and crashed into the Tim’s Horton’s at King Edward Avenue and St. Patrick Street in June 2002. Two people were injured. • In December 1997, a 66-year old driver received multiple injuries when his car got into a collision with a small truck; two others were injured; • [Death] In May of 1997, an 86-year-old woman was run over and killed at King Edward Avenue and Rideau Street; her body was crushed under the front tires of the bus; • 20 cyclists and pedestrians were hit by vehicles on the avenue between 1997 and 1999.

- pc

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