Tag Archives: sidewalks

LETTER: Cyclists belong on the road, not sidewalks

Re: NOTEBOOK: New bike repair station at Village Square Park

Further to your article regarding bicycle infrastructure safety.  I was travelling south on Stittsville Main the other day and a teenager was riding his bike on the sidewalk going in the same direction facing the traffic on the opposite side of the road.

An SUV was exiting Bradley’s Insurance and I guess she wasn`t expecting a bike coming from her right while she was looking at traffic coming from her left. The bicyclist did a quick turn out onto the roadway to avoid being hit.

Every day you see people riding their bikes on the sidewalk which I believe is illegal. I can see young children riding on the sidewalk on Stittsville Main, but not adults.

Someone is going to get killed or very badly injured. Perhaps we can be pro-active in telling people to obey the rules rather than spending a lot to time following up on something that is preventable. As an elder bike rider, I’ll take my chances on the road. At least drivers know they can expect a cyclist on the road.

Bob Johnson, Stittsville


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COMMENT: Safety before shortsighted politics

I just read “Sidewalk scuttled in south Kanata, an article by Jessica Cunha in the Kanata Kourier-Standard and I am incredulous.

The article is about how a sidewalk project for Chimo Drive in Kanata South has been cancelled because some homeowners complained to their councillor Allan Hubley about it.

I am absolutely appalled that politics is getting in the way of pedestrian safety. There are residents on several streets in Stittsville that are clamouring for sidewalks, and I really can’t understand the mindset of these Kanata residents who complained. The councillor’s justifications for cancelling the project just don’t make sense.

Let’s break down the article and arguments:
(Text in italics is from the original Kanata Kourier-Standard article.)

Of the 28 affected homes that would see a sidewalk take up a portion of the city’s right-of-way at the foot of their front yards, 18 homeowners contacted Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley’s office to oppose it. Only three said they were in favour.

“I’m not going to build something to satisfy three people,” said the councillor in a phone interview. “I was not pro or against the sidewalk. I was going to do what the majority of them wanted.”

I appreciate a councillor wanting to appear like he’s listening and reacting to residents.  A better response might have been: “Politicians need to do the right thing, which may not always be the most popular thing. Let’s talk about why we need this sidewalk on your street.”

(Also: Opposition from 18 of 28 homes is a slim majority of just 64%. Not exactly a strong consensus.)

Moore’s eldest child Annaka, 12, walks to Katimavik Elementary School and delivers the Kourier-Standard to her neighbours. “

In summer it’s not really that bad because you can go onto the grass a few neighbours down. But in winter, the snow piles up and you can either walk in the snow … (or) walk beside it,” on the road, she said.

Moore said she’s seen plenty of fender-benders and near misses on Chimo, which has a bend on a hill and a stop sign that some drivers ignore. Flex stakes in the middle of the road, used to reduce speeds, cause drivers to crowd the side of the road.

“I think, at some point, a child is going to get hit and killed,” she said.

Pedestrian safety, she said, should trump losing a portion of driveway.

Jen Moore is absolutely right. I wonder how many of the dissenting homeowners have kids, or are seniors, or have mobility issues?  The City should be prioritizing equitable options for everyone, whether they have a car or not.

Another thing: The portion of driveway that homeowners are losing is part of a municipal right-of-way.  The City has every right to build a sidewalk, even if a few homeowners object.

Chimo Drive is classified by the city as a collector road, yet has no sidewalk on either side.

According to the city’s website, “Collector roads require a sidewalk on both sides of the roadway. The requirement becomes increasingly important when the corridor is a public transit route, leads directly to public transit, fronts onto schools, parks, community facilities and/or leads directly to these amenities.”

The Katimavik transit corridor, Katimavik elementary school, as well as at least five parks, are all accessed from Chimo. The road also leads directly to a number of other parks and the Kanata Leisure Centre.

Not every street needs a sidewalk, but clearly sidewalks on Chimo would benefit residents who live on the road and the surrounding streets. It should have had sidewalks when it was built in the 80’s. This project is a chance to fix that blunder.

Hubley acknowledged in his letter that pedestrian safety is an issue and people should instead be using the pathway system that runs near Cattail Creek Park.

“Safety concerns are still very real for pedestrians along Chimo Drive,” he wrote. “Please continue to encourage others to use the pathway network and we will work with you to try to address the speeding along Chimo with you.”

The pathway is a big reason many residents opposed the sidewalk.

“The feedback from the majority of residents was that they did not want that sidewalk there because they have a pathway,” said Hubley. “They saw this as a waste of tax dollars, duplicating the pathway. You can actually see the pathway from the street. It’s very close.”

The councillor’s argument really falls apart when he suggests that the recreation pathways are a good alternative to sidewalks. The walking distance is longer, the lighting is poor, and people still have to walk on the road to reach the paths!

The paths also offer safer walking conditions, particularly in inclement weather, said the councillor.

“When the roads are slippery, for example, cars can slide up on the sidewalks,” he said. “It’s not the safest place to have people walk, certainly not like the pathway. The pathway is as safe as it gets.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Sidewalks are not safe for pedestrians. I guess it’s best if we all stay inside, unless we’re safely enclosed by a car.


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NOTEBOOK: LRT open houses, pedestrian safety upgrades, more

LRT OPEN HOUSES
Watch for a open house events in June and November for updates on plans to extend light rail transit west past Moodie Drive towards Kanata and Stittsville.  Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson shared the news in a newsletter update: “An evaluation of alternative corridors and selection of a preferred corridor and station locations will be discussed… on the technically preferred plan, which will go to Transportation Committee and Council for approval in March 2018.  Construction of this section cannot occur until after the LRT reaches Moodie in 2023 and a funding source is obtained.” Continue reading


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UPDATE: More about Stittsville sidewalks

Last week we published a list of ten spots in Stittsville in need of sidewalk or pedestrian upgrades. We asked readers for your suggestions and heard from a lot of you. Here’s a sampling:

“I live in Traditions area. Why is there not a sidewalk from Fernbank to Elm Street along Stittsville Main Street? Where the church is. Children who want to walk from Traditions to where the gas station is, have to cross at Fernbank, go across a busy street, then go past the library, and cross at the light there. We need a sidewalk on the west side of the road there.” -Lori Claringbold Continue reading


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MIS-STEP: A list of mysteriously missing sidewalks

(ABOVE: Walking down Stittsville Main Street during Jane’s Walk 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.)

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study gives Stittsville a walkability score for of 54% for pedestrian infrastructure. That’s slightly above the city average of 50%, but it suggests there are a lot of places where we can do better. Here’s a list of 10 spots in need of an upgrade for pedestrians.

Stittsville walkability score
Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, 2016.

Continue reading


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Southbound lane reductions on Eagleson overpass

(Photo: The Eagleson sidewalk was closed to pedestrians last winter because the sidewalks were built too narrow for city snowplows.)

(story via Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson)

As of November 2nd  until mid December southbound traffic over the March/Eagleson Bridge over Highway 417 will be limited to oe lane.  Expect Delays. Continue reading


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UPDATE: Small step in the right direction for Eagleson overpass sidewalk

City officials and staff from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) think they have a solution to the sidewalk problem on the Eagleson overpass, but it won’t be safe for pedestrians until at least next fall.

The sidewalk is about five centimetres too narrow for city snowplows to safely clear, and there are issues with the design of the bridge and approaches to it that make it a hazard for pedestrians.

Wilkinson attended a meeting with city staff, along with a manager of highway engineering and senior project engineer from the MTO.

Wilkinson provided this update to StittsvilleCentral.ca:

“MTO is looking at how to make modifications to make the sidewalk accessible by a ramp, wide enough for a snow plow and without the drainage channel cutting across it. [We] will put together a design and discuss it with the City for implementation this year (before next winter),” says Wilkinson.

“Snow removal this year will not be to sidewalk standards but snow will be removed when the bridge is cleared leaving a packed snow area – we prefer pedestrians to not use it and may sign it that way as it will still not be safe due to the drainage cut and lack of adding grit or salt,” she says.

She also said the City is looking at fully connecting the sidewalk approach to the overpass sidewalk when it’s in place.

Brandy Duhaime, a spokesperson for the MTO, said action items coming out of the meeting include widening the paved approaches and changing the drainage on the bridge.

“We’ll work on getting this work added to another contract this summer,” said Duhaime.


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UPDATE: When is a sidewalk not a sidewalk?

Why can’t snow be cleared from the sidewalk on the Eagleson Road overpass?

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the City of Ottawa are both blaming each other for what’s become a very dangerous situation for pedestrians who use the bridge that connects Kanata North and Kanata South.

We asked city councillor Marianne Wilkinson and the MTO about a few of the issues. Their responses are collected below.

Continue reading


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EDITORIAL: City and MTO need to get in the same lane

The sidewalk on the Eagleson Queensway overpass in Kanata is closed for the rest of winter because it’s too narrow for sidewalks to plow the snow.

That’s right, the same bridge that just re-opened after months of repairs, the same bridge that is right next to the Eagleson OC Transpo Transitway stop, is now closed to pedestrians until the snow melts. Continue reading


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Here’s how you can help with winter road maintenance

Report potholes and any other road or sidewalk deficiencies by calling 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

Clear snow on your property. The Use and Care of Roads By-Law No. 2003-498 and Parks and Facilities By-Law No. 2004-276 prohibit the disposal of snow or ice on roadways or in any park. When clearing snow from your driveway or walkway (even if a contractor is doing it for you), snow and ice may not be pushed, thrown or otherwise deposited on the street, sidewalk or park. Anyone charged with an offence may be subject to a fine. Continue reading


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