Friday, November 27, 2009

Dalhousie Report, November 2009

by Ida Henderson,
Vice-President, Dalhousie Comunity Association
November 13, 2009

The Dalhousie Community Association’s (DCA) Board of
Directors met November 4 at the Dalhousie Community Centre (DCC).

Councillor Diane Holmes also attended the meeting.

Some of the main items discussed were:

314 Booth Street (former Desjardins IGA/Loeb site) update

Cornerstone’s plans to build a four-storey apartment building
with 42 studio apartments (20 for senior women and 22 for women
needing affordable housing) at Eccles and Booth Streets were successful
at the Committee of Adjustment. The vacant building is one step
closer to being transformed to a new residential feature. (Cornerstone
is a Community Ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa which
provides emergency shelter and safe, affordable housing for women
in Ottawa.)

Fall clean-up (October 17)

Board members were joined by neighbours and MPP Yasir Naqvi
in their efforts to control the litter on our streets, parking lots and
stairs.

City Centre Coalition (CCC)

The CCC is concerned that the Interprovincial Transit Strategy
(ITS) may be considering the Prince of Wales railway bridge for
possible conversion to a bus-way! (The ITS is a collaborative effort led
by the National Capital Commission (NCC), the Société de transport de
l’Outaouais [STO] and the city of Ottawa as funding partners, with the
participation of the Ville de Gatineau.) Certainly Ottawa is, if the city of
Ottawa Transit Services 2009 Tactical Plan for Transit Operations and
Finances, tabled at the October 21, 2009 meeting of Transit Committee
is anything to go by. From its pages the following: “High-frequency
Rapibus route between Gatineau and Bayview Station via Prince of
Wales Bridge”.

DCA comments on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system &
Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel (DOTT)

Most of the meeting was spent providing feedback to DCA
President Eric Darwin on his very thorough draft DCA comments re
the LRT and DOTT. The DCA reiterated its support for a comprehensive
LRT system. The DCA is also supportive of the proposed overall
design of the LeBreton Station on Booth Street, but wants to see room
for a bike path behind it on the south side. The Board expressed its concern
re too many southbound lanes on Booth between the aqueduct and
Albert. In addition, Albert is proposed to have seven lanes on the west
side of the intersection with Booth and six lanes on the east side - all
far too many for a road in a dense urban environment and certainly not
compatible with a safe pedestrian and cycling environment.

The DCA recommended the city stop catering to single occupancy
car commuter traffic at peak hours and instead invest in LRT to minimize
land loss and foster a compact urban environment. The board noted that
building the LRT should not be an excuse to expand and widen roads or
enable car commuting. As another example, the Albert-Preston streets’
intersection must not be widened, or temporary or permanent turn lanes
added to Albert for the Preston extension to Vimy.

The DCA was also very clear in its opposition to any bus marshalling
facility for STO and OC Transpo at the Bayview Station and
strongly opposed to Rapibus coming to Ottawa on a converted POW
bridge. The DCA wants LRT service extended to Gatineau via the POW,
preferably in the first phase of the east-west LRT. Any Rapibus road
to Ottawa will allow the long-term operation of STO buses through the
downtown, obviating the benefits of the LRT and reducing its passenger
volumes. The Rapibus station must be kept on the Gatineau side.

For the DCA’s complete comments on the LRT/DOTT proposal to
date, including the Tunney’s Pasture and other stations and the Preston
Street extension, see http://ottawadalhousie.ca.

Next regular meeting

The board’s next meeting will be a festive get-together on
Wednesday, December 2, at a local restaurant, beginning with a shortened
business meeting at 6:15 pm before dinner (and we all pay our own
bills, in case you’re wondering).

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