Posted by: HamptonIona | May 18, 2011

Planned Re-opening of Access Road Through Byron Linear Park

Recently we posted on our (HICG) website that Councillor Hobbs’ office was reviewing the City’s decision of November 2010 to prevent the Ashcroft development access through the Byron Linear Park. HICG was advised of this by area residents and had not received any notice from the Councillor’s office. As soon as we learned of this situation, we posted it on our website. .

Residents have since written Councillor Hobbs to express their views and have received long answers back from the Councillor’s office which outline her reasons for re-opening a decision made by Council last year. In responses to many of the comments she received, Councillor Hobbs included comments regarding “the tone and tenor” of the notice issued by HICG. Our previous communique was merely designed to provide you, the community, with information given your strong interest on this subject. The Councillor never informed HICG of what she was planning to do or why. While it is not the role of the community association to explain the actions of an elected official, in this case HICG was never even provided with the information.

On May 17, at the Wellington Village CA’s AGM, Councillor Hobbs announced that at the May 24 Planning Committee Meeting she would be requesting that the City agree to construct an access road through Byron Linear Park linking to the Ashcroft development. While the agenda had been published on the City’s website and notice of the meeting appeared in newspapers last week, HICG was never directly advised by the City or the Councillor that this was going forward. Email and written notices are only just now going out from the City. Further details on the item can be found at http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/pec/2011/05-24/agendaindex14.htm.

The main rationale the Councillor states for wanting to build a road through the Byron Linear Park is to avoid the serious problems that would result to the residents of Shannon Street if Shannon Street became the access to the Ashcroft development. Many people in our community were advised by the Councillor that Shannon Street would have to be widened from approximately 3 metres to 16.5 metres. A widening of this magnitude would require that the City would have to take over the right-of-way on the front lawns of the houses on Shannon and would in fact have to go up to the front porch of one house.

For those of you who are more comfortable with the imperial measurement system, 16.5 metres is approximately 54 feet wide and the current width of Shannon is approximately 12 feet (with the catch basin). To put this in context, Brennan Street is approximately 22 feet wide, Kensington Street is approximately 24 feet wide, Tweedsmuir, which was just rebuilt, ranges from 22 to 24 feet wide, Byron Avenue is approximately 30 feet wide and Richmond Road is approximately 40 feet wide. If this 16.5 metres is correct, it appears that the City is proposing to widen Shannon to approximately six lanes.

If the City were to widen Shannon Street to a more standard width of approximately 22 -24 feet wide, there is room to accommodate such a widening on the south side (parkside) of the street without having to cut down the trees (the distance from the south edge of Shannon to the trees is approximately 18 feet). While this would result in the street being opened up to the Ashcroft development there should be no need for anyone to lose any of their front lawns. We note, however, that there would be no need for a southerly exit if Ashcroft were to redesign their site plan (including less buildings) to allow for the traffic to flow from Richmond Road to their various buildings.

As well, while Hilson Public School and the Board of Education have expressed concerns about traffic on Shannon Street, they are equally as concerned about traffic and safety impacts of traffic on the Byron Linear Park walking/bicycle path. While an exit through Shannon would primarily affect children going to Hilson Public School and the Daycare, putting the exit through the Byron Linear Park also affects children walking or cycling to Churchill Alternative School, Elmdale and Fisher Park. There are also countless people of all ages who use the path throughout the weekends and evenings and who would be far less affected by additional traffic at Shannon and Hilson than by traffic crossing the Byron Linear Park.

If as reported, Shannon Street would have to be widened to approximately 54 feet, does this mean that the proposed road through the Byron Linear Park would also have to be 54 feet wide (or six lanes)?

Last Fall over 40 people and groups went to Planning Committee to voice their concerns and 800 people signed a petition against building a road though the Byron Linear Park. Even the City’s own Parks and Recreation department was strongly against approving a road through the Byron Park. It is important that as many people as possible appear next week and let City Hall know their views on this matter. If you wish to speak, please contact Caitlin Salter MacDonald, (613) 580-2424 x. 28136 (Caitlin.Salter-MacDonald@ottawa.ca) to get on the list. As well, you can typically sign up on the day the matter is heard.

We also encourage your to write Peter Hume, head of the Planning Committee (peter.hume@ottawa.ca), Mayor Jim Watson (jim.watson@ottawa.ca) and Katherine Hobbs (katherine.hobbs@ottawa.ca) to let them know your views on this issue and the way in which it has been handled. If you do not live in Kitchissippi, please also contact your ward councillor to let them know your views. Other councillors on the Planning Committee are: Jan Harder, Stephen Blais, Rainer Bloess, Allan Hubley, Bob Monette, Shad Qadri and Mark Taylor.

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Responses

  1. According to City documents the total paved surface need only be 9 to 11 meters. This includes provision for on-street parking. Remove the latter, 6.5 to 7 meters would meet the standards.

    http://ottawa.ca/residents/planning/design_plan_guidelines/completed/road_corridor/road_corridor_en.pdf

    Is staff misleading Hobbs?


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