The McIlraith Bridge (Main/Smyth bridge) is scheduled to undergo a major reconstruction, including widening the bridge to allow for bike lanes. The OECA is urging city staff to ensure that the bike lanes added to McIlraith Bridge are integrated into the existing and future bike lanes along the Rideau River, in Alta Vista and Old Ottawa East. This work will in turn correspond with the proposed reconstruction of Main Street’s roadway, watermains and sewers. Various sidewalks and curbs will also be rehabilitated throughout Old Ottawa East. This work was originally scheduled for 2013, following approval of the city’s 2012 budget, however, construction will not commence until 2014. It is expected that the work will take two years, and will see the elimination of the existing median and the installation of bike lanes. The work will require the closure of one side of the bridge at a time, with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction on the other side (similar to the procedure recently followed on the Billings Bridge on Bank Street).
At the February 2012 OECA board meeting, a working group was created to serve as the focal point of the community association’s participation in the redesign and rebuilding of Main Street and the McIlraith Bridge. The group has representatives from all parts of the community and from neighbouring communities which may be affected by the reconstruction. Priorities during this reconstruction for the OECA include safe cycling, safe sidewalks, improvements to the Main Street/Riverdale Avenue intersection, buried overhead hydro wires, the elimination of vibrations affecting houses in the vicinity of Main Street, and that the reconstruction supports the Community Design Plan (CDP). The city has since selected Delcan as their engineering consultant for the project. Please read Annex A of Main Street Reconstruction Request for Proposal, which outlines the specific duties that Delcan will be expected to carry out for the city.
Representatives from the OECA will serve on the Public Advisory Group (PAG) and provide input on the reconstruction on behalf of the working group noted above. The city has also created a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) composed of technical experts of the city and other agencies. For more details about these advisory groups, please read the Project Communications Plan prepared by Delcan.
Minutes from TAG and PAG meetings can be found here:
Further background documents on the project:
Community representatives have been fighting for the implementation of a "complete street" on Main Street following the reconstruction in 2014 and 2015. A complete street would give priority to active transportation (walking and cycling), and reduce the number of traffic lanes. The city was reluctant to consider a complete street for Main Street because reducing the number of lanes would require an environmental assessment. However, sensing the strength of the community's desire for safer streets, city staff agreed to look at the option and commissioned Delcan, the engineering consultant for the Main Street reconstruction, to undertake the environmental assessment.
The current option for a complete street can be found in this presentation from the Main Street renewal working group meeting, and includes provisions for wider, safer sidewalks, a separate dedicated bike lane, automobile parking and separate left-turning lanes where appropriate. This proposal would only include one lane of traffic in each direction. It is important to note that this is only one of five separate options being considered by the city and its consultants. However, it comes closest to the desires of the community. All five options will be discussed at a public open house on Monday, June 17, 2013, at Saint Paul University.
The OECA supports the proposed mid-town footbridge that would serve as an east-west link over the Rideau Canal and connect the communities of Old Ottawa East and the Glebe, as well as the larger city. Read the OECA's January 2012 letter of support to city staff for the project here.
In April 2012, city staff posted revised design plans for the proposed mid-town footbridge. These plans build on the feedback provided at the second open house held in November 2011. To view the latest progress update, please click here. Information includes design exploration, intersection improvements, latest design concept, and next steps. A final open house is scheduled for September 27, 2012. Details are available here.
Further information and opinions on the proposed footbridge can be found on the Rideau Canal Crossing Blog, and the Support Ottawa's Midtown Footbridge page on Facebook. The City of Ottawa's Rideau Canal Crossing page has more background information, including details on the environmental assessment study.
The OECA remains committed to fighting the construction of the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor (AVTC). The OECA has joined forces with neighbouring community associations to seek the removal of the planned $135 million roadway from the city’s Transportation Master Plan. Contrary to the city’s argument, the proposed AVTC would create even more traffic congestion, especially at the Nicholas ramp where it would feed into the Queensway, and we want the city to support a transit-centric alternative.
The proposed four-lane road is would run from Conroy and Walkley, through green spaces and parks in Alta Vista (behind the Ottawa Hospital’s General campus), through Hurdman Park, across the Rideau River to likely exit onto the Queensway via a new bridge just east of Springhurst Park. The corridor dates back to the 1960s and has been part of the city’s Official Plan since 1974.
In early 2011, the city approved spending for the first section of the AVTC, a new road linking Riverside Drive and the Ottawa Hospital. We will continue to fight this development and will post new information about the status of the AVTC on our website.
See also our archive page of older information about AVTC.
In 2008, the NCC initiated a study of safe pedestrian crossings for Queen Elizabeth Drive and Colonel By Drive. The second workshop was held on October 28, 2010, and the final report and the workshop reports are now available on the NCC’s File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site. The documents can be downloaded as follows:
NCC Crossing Parkway Study Final Report: June 13, 2011
NCC Crossing Parkway Study: Appendix 4
Next steps include:
As part of the canal footbridge design, safe pedestrian crossings of Colonel By Drive and Queen Elizabeth Drive at Clegg and Fifth Avenues will be expedited by the City of Ottawa.
The OECA has been actively working with its sub-committee, Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE), to establish a nature trail along the Rideau River, which serves as the eastern boundary of the Old Ottawa East community. For more information about this initiative, please visit SLOE's website.
At a community meeting held on April 12, 2012, community residents met with landscape architect Martha Lush to discuss improvements to the Rideau River Nature Trail. View the draft concept plan prepared by Ms. Lush.
Highway 417, also known as “The Queensway” through Ottawa, is being widened by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation. Work on the section from the Nicholas Street interchange to the intersection of Regional Road 174 and 417 (the “split”) will begin in spring 2013. The work will be done in two stages, with stage one occurring between 2012 and 2014, and stage two between 2014 and 2015. The immediate impacts on Old Ottawa East will be the closing of the Lees Avenue on-ramp to the 417 eastbound (expected in spring 2013), the rehabilitation of the 417 bridge over the Rideau River (Hurdman Bridge), and the replacement of the Lees Avenue overpass. An open house was held by the ministry on February 13, 2012, to explain the scope and duration of the work. Details of the work can be found at queenswayexpansioneast.com, as well as the OECA's letter to the ministry here.
The Lees Avenue on-ramp will be closed in late-May/early-June 2013 and will remain closed for the next four years. Traffic which normally uses the Lees Avenue on-ramp will be routed through Old Ottawa East along Lees Avenue to Main Street, west on Hawthorne Road over the Pretoria Bridge, onto Pretoria Avenue (behind Loblaws), north on Metcalfe Street to the Metclafe on-ramp to the eastbound 417. Some traffic, however, may choose to travel south on Main Street, north on Riverside Drive to the Vanier east-bound on-ramp. The work will also involve the rehabilitation of the 417 Hurdman’s Bridge. The final piece of construction involves replacing the Lees Avenue overpass over the 417. The overpass will be replaced using rapid replacement techniques and the work is scheduled to take place near the end of stage one in 2014.
OC Transpo has traditionally travelled through Sandy Hill, Old Ottawa East and on to the various hospitals and clinics at the Ottawa General Hospital’s Smyth Road campus. This was the only direct bus which residents of Old Ottawa East could take to get to these institutions. In September 2011, OC Transpo eliminated the portion of route 16 which ran along Main Street to Smyth Road and the hospital campus. A trip to the hospitals that used to take five minutes now takes from 40 minutes to an hour, or more, and involves a minimum of two transfers.
Residents of Old Ottawa East and Sandy Hill immediately raised strong objections to their respective councillors, to city staff and to OC Transpo. As a result of these objections, OC Transpo has begun two trips a day from Sandy Hill to the hospital campus through Old Ottawa East, and two return trips. These buses are designated as 5X. The two trips from Sandy Hill depart the corner of Chapel and Mann at 9:46 and 12:16, and the return trips depart from the General at 13:00 and 15:00.
In March 2013, the OECA was advised that OCTranspo plans to reinstate the #16 bus on part of Main Street. As of April 21, 2013, the #16 bus now travels to Saint Paul University. The bus travels south on Main Street from Lees Avenue and turns into Saint Paul University's parking lot opposite Hazel Street. It runs on a 20 minute schedule during weekdays from 6:43 a.m. to 10:38 p.m., with service also available on the weekends. The twice daily service through Old Ottawa East to the Smyth Road hospitals, previously offered by the #5X, is now provided by the #16X. Southbound trips depart Lees station at 9:47 a.m. and 12:16 p.m., with return trips departing the hospitals at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. View a map of the route changes.
OCTranspo has not consulted the OECA on these changes, despite our numerous requests for consultation. The community has rejected this measure as being totally inadequate to meet the needs for hospital appointments, visits to patients, and for commuting to work at the campus. The OECA continues to work for a return of the full route 16 service, and would welcome your comments and examples of how you have been affected by the elimination of this service.
The Main Street Streetscaping study, conducted in 1999, recommended traffic calming measures on Hawthorne Ave. E. These measures were occasionally included on the city’s list of things to do, but funding had never been available. However, funding for this work has finally been identified and residents of Hawthorne have been notified that the measurers, consisting of speed bumps and a bulb-out at the intersection of Hawthorne and Concord St. S., will be undertaken before the end of 2013. The city is also investigating the implementation of a pavement edge marking along the south side of the street to visually narrow the street to help channel traffic and cue motorists who are traveling the wrong direction on the street.
The city has received one quote for the work but it was deemed to be unacceptably high. More competitive bids will be sought in the late winter/early spring 2013. The exact locations of the humps will be confirmed by the residents, Public Works staff, and the ward councillor.