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.
Adam Kveton has a good report about it this week in the Kanata Kourier-Standard. The sidewalk is less than 1.5 metres wide, too narrow for the city’s plows. The City considered shovelling the snow by hand, but decided it would be too dangerous for City workers.
Although the City plows the sidewalks, responsibility for the bridge rests with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson told Kveton that the MTO did not review design plans for the bridge with the city.
Kanata South councillor Allan Hubley calls the sidewalk an “error” by the province.
The City of Ottawa needs to be more proactive to ensure the MTO is on the same page when it comes to pedestrian facilities in Ottawa, and the MTO needs to start considering pedestrians when they build and rehabilitate these bridges.
A similar problem exists in Stittsville. The Huntmar overpass, also recently rehabilitated, has no sidewalks at all, despite being adjacent to a major shopping centre, a major sports arena, and a new residential subdivision.
When the Tanger Outlets opened in October, a shuttle bus ferried shoppers from the Canadian Tire Centre parking lot to Tanger Outlets, normally a five-minute walk across the bridge.
@JimHancockYGK options being looked at but public safety is paramount in this. Not ideal but Terry Fox is safest (but very long) route
— Sgt. Pete McKenna (@OfficerMcKenna) October 16, 2014
When we asked the city about the sidewalk problem on Huntmar, they blamed the province. When we asked the province, they said that nobody from the city asked them to build a sidewalk.
(The City of Ottawa says it will help build a new Huntmar bridge width sidewalks, but not until 2026.)
It’s a problem all over the city. Reader Erik de Vries told us on Twitter that the new Lees avenue bridge has incomplete bike lanes, and there are no bike lanes at all on the new Vanier Parkway bridge.
City of Ottawa officials keep saying that safety and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists is a priority. If that’s the case, they need to start convincing the MTO to get on the same roadmap.
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