Well, we’re almost through January, and the city has been busy digging out from some pretty big snow falls (and some freezing rain). It’s still a lively time in the city, though, and there’s lots to tell you about, but first, let’s talk snow removal.
Snow Removal Update
It’s Ottawa, so we’re used to getting a lot of snow, but in fact, getting two blasts of 20 cm each within four days hasn’t happened since 1998 (and before that, the glorious disco days of the ‘70s). This has put a crimp in snow clearing.
Snow removal has begun this week, but the repeated snow falls and the freezing rain have meant that there’s been a delay in clearing all snow banks. My staff has been on the phone with Public Works repeatedly this week to ensure that they are staying on top of things. Public Works understands the issues in our ward, with so many narrow streets and such a high level of pedestrians and transit users.
We recognize that this has been an unprecedented snowfall for January and that staff are working overtime to get this mess cleaned up. The fact of the matter is that snow-clearing operations in the City have not been given the resources they need. This is a significant, health, safety, and accessibility issue. We want residents to know that we hear you, and that we will work to make sure that the political leadership at City Hall does too.
City crews are working diligently to clear the snow and make our infrastructure accessible again but it has still been a struggle.
Arterial streets—like Bank, Main and Bronson—should be getting their snow banks cleared out over the weekend. Then they’ll move on to the collector roads and after those, the residential streets. They are targeting the middle or the end of next week to have all residential snow banks cleared. But, if there’s another big snowfall, that could complicate matters.
I know that proper snow clearing, snow removal, and general winter maintenance is a big issue in the ward, so in late February or early March, I’ll be holding a ward meeting about snow clearing. My team and I are still finalizing the details, but we’ll let you know all about it in a future newsletter. So stay tuned!
Please stay safe out there!
Capital Ward Cup
A quick reminder that the Capital Ward Cup happens tomorrow, Saturday January 26th, at Brantwood Park. Participants are asked to arrive at 9:30 AM. The first game will start at 10:00 AM and will be between the Old Ottawa South Moose (defending champions) and the Old Ottawa East Hosers!
Flora Footbridge Update
It’s the bridge that’s been talked about for over one hundred years (literally), and we’re finally close to the completion of the footbridge over the canal from Fifth to Clegg. The good news: the project is still on track to be completed in fall of this year.
And more good news: the city has created a Flora Footbridge Newsletter that you can sign up for at the eSubscription page on the city’s website, so you can get all the updates as they happen!
New Crossing Guard at Bank and Fifth
For years, the Glebe Community Association and the Mutchmor Parent Council has been advocating for a crossing guard at the intersection of Bank Street and Fifth Avenue. Since we took office December 1st, my team and I have been working hard on this initiative, to help ensure that all kids in the neighbourhood have a safe walk to school.
We are happy to announce that we have spoken to Currey Properties, the owners of the development at the southwest corner of Bank and Fifth (the old service station), and they have agreed to fund a crossing guard at the intersection.
This will begin on February 4th and continue the end of the school year. In the meantime, we are working with staff to fund a crossing guard there permanently. We want Capital Ward to be the safest ward in the city, and this crossing guard is one step towards that.
Currey Properties is currently constructing a four-storey, mix-use building at the intersection. It will have retail and commercial units on the first two floors, with residential units above. Currey Insurance and Investment Agencies Inc. will occupy the majority of the second floor.
After some delays with the original contractors, HEIN Construction is now on-site to finish the building and work is once again picking-up. The project is expected to be completed this fall.
Currey Properties has been working with the community and councillors office throughout this project, and we look forward to the completion of their building, and the welcome addition to the street life at such a prominent intersection in the community.
Pedestrian Crossover at Seneca Street and Colonel By Drive
We know how important it is for residents to be able to access the canal safely. There is a plan to install a pedestrian crossover at Colonel By and Seneca, and we're working with city staff to get work started this spring. We understand that a pedestrian crossing will be a significant safety increase for local residents, Carleton University students and tourists seeking to get from Old Ottawa South to the canal.
Currently, the National Capital Commission is concerned about Colonel By Drive's status as a ceremonial route and they are resisting putting in a raised crossing. We know that residents feel a raised crossing would provide added safety for pedestrians, and we agree; a raised crossing would be best.
We continue to work with the NCC and city staff on this, but at the very least, an "at-grade" crossing will be installed.
Bronson Avenue Road Closure and Consultation
This spring, work will begin on Bronson Avenue from Arlington south to Imperial. This will mean that Bronson will be closed for several months through that section, with only one southbound lane for car traffic. This will be necessary to do sewer and watermain work in advance of work done by the Ministry of Transportation on the Queensway.
I will be working with city staff to ensure that safe detours are in place and that traffic isn’t cutting through the residential streets that connect to Bronson.
This work is a precursor to additional work that will be done on Bronson from the Queensway to the Canal. During the election campaign, there was general agreement that Bronson Avenue is far too dangerous, and something needs to be done about it.
I am still fully behind safety improvements for Bronson Avenue. Further, I want to know what you want to see out of a new Bronson…so I’ll be holding a consultation in the coming months to get your feedback and begin the discussion to finally fix Bronson.
This may be a bit of a fight, because there are forces in the city that want to keep it as an urban freeway, but that’s not the Capital Ward we’re all fighting for.
This is a reminder that I’ll be co-hosting two budget consultation sessions in the coming weeks.
First, I’ll be participating in the South End Budget Consultation on January 30 from 6:15 pm to 8:00 pm at Ellwood Hall in the Jim Durrell Complex (1265 Walkley Road). RSVP here
And in February, we’ll be collaborating with the urban councillors for a Budget Speak consultation. This consultation will focus on housing and transit. It will be held on February 13 at City Hall from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. RSVP here
Glebe BIA Annual General Meeting
It was a snowy Wednesday night when the Glebe BIA hosted their annual general meeting at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, but I was glad to be able to attend, and speak to so many of the business owners in the community.
I’m looking forward to working on overlapping initiatives with the BIA, such as better modal share options on Bank Street, improving transit service, investments to find homes for those who need them and installing gateway signage to welcome people to the Glebe.
City Council Meetings are Back!
After a brief hiatus during the end of December and the beginning of January, city council meets for the first time in 2019 this Wednesday, January 30th, at 10:00 am. City council meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, but there will also be a special meeting on February 6th when the draft budget gets tabled. These meetings are open to the public.