News / Ottawa

Pedestrians biggest loser at Lansdowne

Putting parking on the Bank Street bridge could calm traffic and make the road less hostile for pedestrians heading to Lansdowne.

Fifty-eight per cent of fans took sustainable transportation to RedBlacks games last year, but only a fraction of that was on foot.

Fifty-eight per cent of fans took sustainable transportation to RedBlacks games last year, but only a fraction of that was on foot.

Pedestrians are losing out at Lansdowne Park, and fixing Bank Street bridge could be the solution, Coun. David Chernushenko said Wednesday.

A staff report found that more than half of all visitors took alternative transportation to major events like RedBlacks games and the AC/DC concert last year.

But only eight to 10 per cent of visitors walked there, something Chernushenko said could change if Bank Street’s famously hostile bridge was more comfortable for pedestrians and cyclists.

“That couple of hundred metres continues to be a problem,” he said, particularly in off-peak hours when speeds pick up.

The bad reputation could be sending potential visitors elsewhere, he said, or adding to the Glebe's on-street parking shortage if they choose to drive.

Chernushenko asked staff to consider new ways to calm the bridge to make it more hospitable. He particularly wanted to take the street down to two lanes from four in off-peak hours, even if that meant adding on-street parking.

That idea was immediately decried on Twitter by cycling advocates who argued a bike lane would do more to promote safety and sustainable modes than parking.

“As if (Bank) wasn’t bad enough, let’s take away the passing lane and add car doors,” tweeted one frustrated rider.

Traffic planning manager Phil Landry said bike lanes and wider sidewalks weren’t feasible last time the bridge was rebuilt, and the green super sharrows have only resulted in “minor behavioural changes.”

He said speed boards would remind drivers to go 40 km/h.

Chernushenko also raised concerns about pedestrian space inside Lansdowne itself. Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which runs TD Place inside Lansdowne, has been criticized for channelling cars through what many thought would be a more community-oriented space.  

Brian Mitchell from the Glebe Community Association said that’s a major concern for his residents, who are struggling with high on-street parking rates.

“It has proven to have a very car-centric design, which is quite disappointing for a centrally-located destination in 2016,” Mitchell said.

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