Rescue Bronson wants the city to keep an open mind From STREAMLINE on page 1 from Laurier to Gladstone; and from Gladstone to the Queensway. The construction will not include anything south of the Queensway. The section between Laurier and Gladstone is of particular concern. As Darwin put it, the community is looking to work with the city to create an environment that “fixes a blighted street” the community was saddled with in the 1970s. What was once a vibrant residential street with green lawns and trees has been gobbled up by wider roads and unattractive storefronts that are often left vacant by high business turnover. While some reports have characterized Rescue Bronson as a campaign to reduce traffic on Bronson, Darwin said the point of changing from a four-lane to three-lane format is to handle the same number of vehicles in a more efficient and safer way. Darwin said there are cases where traffic volumes increase or decrease after a four-lane road is converted to three lanes, but some of that change could be due to people adopting different driving patterns and other factors, he said. “The purpose of going to three lanes is to handle the same amount of traffic in a better configuration. “We’re not married to any particular configuration,” he added. “We just want the city to look at other options.” Darwin said studies show that Bronson handles 18,000 vehicles per day between Somerset and Laurier. That figure jumps to 25,000 for the blocks between Somerset and Gladstone. At the Queensway, Bronson handles 30,000 vehicles each day. “You need different measures tailored to different blocks,” Darwin said. The “road diet” of three lanes would work best for the section with lower traffic volumes, he said. The road would have a dedicated southbound lane and a northbound lane, with a dual-direction left-turning lane in the centre. That would allow left-turning vehicles to move out of the flow of traffic and into the centre lane without causing the traffic to stop. Any extra space in the width of the street could be devoted to parking, wider sidewalks or bike lanes. When it comes to cyclists, however, the rescue Bronson group says they would probably be safer on another street entirely. The group is asking the city to consider improving a parallel street such as Percy to make it better suited to a dedicated cycling lane. Unfortunately, the city’s response is that adjacent streets “aren’t part of the boundaries of the study” for Bronson’s reconstruction, Darwin said.
Photo by Laura Mueller
Rescue Bronson supporters are hoping to work with the city to come up with innovative ideas for turning the city’s main north-south arterial road into a safer, more livable community. Bronson after vehicles exit the Queensway, and there are no traffic-calming measures in place on Gilmour, she said. “Please consider the residential areas.” “The city is sometimes guilty of doing things piece by piece,” said Sue Stranks, a resident of Old Ottawa South who uses Bronson to commute to work. She said the city needs to look at the big picture of how changes to Bronson will affect other areas. Dave Weatherall said Bronson Avenue divides the community into “good” and “bad” sides. He would like to see more beautification of the street and more cross-
ing opportunities to make the neighbourhood more cohesive again. GET INVOLVED More information about the Rescue Bronson campaign can be found at www.rescuebronson.ca. Communicate with the group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, checking out the Facebook page or following @RescueBronson on Twitter. The group advised residents to share their ideas and concerns with city staff and Holmes’ office.
RESIDENTS WANT CHANGE The people who came to the Nov. 10 Rescue Bronson meeting generally agreed that something needs to be done to make the street safer and more pedestrian friendly, and many demanded that interim improvements be made immediately. Pamela Connolly was one of several people who bemoaned the crooked crosswalk and lane lines at the Gladstone intersection. She asked if there was something that could be done even before the road reconstruction to make it safer for pedestrians. Greg Bak, who lives on Cambridge Street, prompted a round of applause when he asked why people are forced to press buttons to activate crosswalks on Bronson, therefore making it unfriendly to pedestrians. Holmes said she has been working to get rid of the buttons and encouraged people to send messages to her office complaining about them. “I was under the impression that they were all gone,” she said. Moya Crangle said she is already concerned about the traffic zooming down her street, Gilmour, and was worried the situation could worsen if the number of lanes on Bronson were reduced. The street is already one of the few right turns off 427255
November 18, 2010 - OTTAWA THIS WEEK - CENTRAL