Residents still fighting Lansdowne's massive TD billboard

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Tim Leah has been fighting to get the TD Bank logo removed from the RedBlacks stadium, saying it's a "blight" on the heritage landscape of the canal. EMMA JACKSON/METRO

The bright green TD Bank logo on the back of Lansdowne stadium conforms to all the city's rules, but residents say it's a "blight" on the heritage landscape.

By Emma Jackson, Metro

Appalling. Atrocious. Offensive.

Those are just some of the adjectives residents have attached to the massive green TD Bank logo on the backside of the RedBlacks stadium.

It’s a blight, they say, on the heritage landscape of the canal: a “knife in the eye” for visitors and locals trying to enjoy the paths and waterway that run through Old Ottawa South, according to John Dance, who has been trying to remove the sign since it was installed in 2014.

“You won’t go along the whole 200 kilometre length of the canal and see anything so atrocious as that,” said Dance.

TD owns the naming rights to the stadium at Lansdowne Park where the Ottawa RedBlacks, Ottawa 67s, and Ottawa Fury play.

After two years, Dance is still fighting for change.

“If we want to retain that UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for the Rideau Canal, it has to come down, or be severely modified,” Dance said.

He has asked Capital Coun. David Chernushenko to raise the issue with his council colleagues.

According to Dance, the 36 square-metre billboard has no business there.

It’s only 50 metres from the Queen Elizabeth Parkway, when the city’s own sign bylaws dictate billboards should be 500 metres back.

But, Lansdowne has its own sign rules – council approved a detailed plan in 2012 - and the billboard complies with every one of them, said the city's urban design manager John Smit.

Doesn’t matter, said Dance.

“It’s still not appropriate for its proximity to a heritage site,” he said. “When you’re walking along that beautiful canal, what dominates the viewscape is that TD sign.”

He’s not the only hater.

Old Ottawa South resident Tim Leah has sent his share of letters to TD Bank, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), and city councillors.

“It just grates on me every time I go by, and I’m sure it grates on a lot of people,” he said.

Both Dance and Leah feel the community wasn’t properly consulted.

Lansdowne’s wayfinding plan was included as part of site plan consultations in 2010, Smit said, and residents could address the issue at planning committee in June 2012.

But since the billboard itself conformed to the plan, it was “not subject to public consultation,” Smit said.

OSEG’s Graeme Ivory said the sign is compliant, but “we are always open to discussing any matter” with the community.

Main St. closure from Hawthorne to Lees

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City of Ottawa

Starting on Monday, July 25, Main Street will be completely closed to traffic from Hawthorne Ave. to Lees Ave. for the construction of the concrete crosswalks. The closure will remain in effect through Friday, August 5.

During that period, the section of Main Street from Hawthorne Ave. to Greenfield Ave. will be open to both northbound and southbound traffic.

The intersections of Main Street/Hawthorne Ave. (eastbound to northbound and southbound to westbound movements) and Main Street/Lees Ave. (westbound to southbound movement) will remain open to traffic.

The recommended detour is via Greenfield Ave. and Lees Ave. (see map below).

Detour information for OC Transpo buses is available at octranspo.com.

We thank you for your continued patience and support during construction. For further information or to provide comments, please contact the City’s project manager at the addresses below.

Josée Vallée, P. Eng.
Infrastructure Services Department
Design and Construction Municipal East Branch City of Ottawa
100 Constellation Crescent, 6th Floor
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel.:613-580-2424 x 21805
Fax: 613-560-6064

 

DetourMap MainStreet July2016

Download a PDF of the map

Don't be a jerk: Snarky signs tell drivers to respect cyclists

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The City of Ottawa has installed these signs on McIlraith Bridge, after hearing complaints that cyclists were getting harassed by drivers.
LUCY SCHOLEY/METRO

Some new road signs are telling it like it is after cyclists complained they were being harassed near Main Street.

By Emma Jackson, Metro

Hey drivers: chill out.

That’s the message behind some snarky new road signs on the McIlraith Bridge in Old Ottawa East.

The green and yellow signs read “Cyclists can take the lane; stop honking” and are meant to remind drivers that bikes are vehicles, too.

“Obviously the polite signage wasn’t working,” said Coun. David Chernushenko, who asked staff to rethink their strategy after several cyclists complained they were getting harassed. “No one likes to be told to relax, but that’s essentially the message. We’re all stuck here crossing this bridge, so let’s be safe about it.”

The bridge connecting Smyth Road and Main Street over the Rideau River has been severely narrowed by the ongoing Main Street construction work, and all vehicles are supposed to go single file on the crossing.

But when cyclists take the lane, many drivers are apparently still trying to pass, or they honk and harass the cyclists until they move over, putting themselves in danger, Chernushenko said.

“During construction projects it becomes particularly acute,” he said. “People are frustrated because they’ve already been delayed.”

He said some drivers have taken the change badly, but that’s to be expected “when you do the right thing.”

Heather Shearer with Citizens for Safe Cycling said she likes that the signs are clear about cyclists’ rights.

“It makes a good point,” Shearer said. “The other ‘share the road’ signs can be misunderstood as ‘cyclists, get out of the way.”
But, attention-grabbing as they are, she said she wouldn’t want the new signs to become a permanent alternative to things like bike lanes or other cycling infrastructure.

In this case, the signs will come down once the construction is finished, since the project includes new bike lanes, Chernushenko said.

And if the signs do migrate to other areas of the city, Chernushenko said they’ll be reserved for particularly troublesome spots.

“My goal is to see them strategically placed, definitely at all construction projects and at known existing problematic areas,” he said.

Bike-passing blitz

While Chernushenko stressed the focus of the new campaign is on education, the signs corresponded to stepped-up enforcement efforts from the police on Friday.

During a two-hour blitz, 29 drivers were ticketed for illegally passing a cyclist on a single-file road, said Const. Chuck Benoit.

Even passing with one metre to spare, as per the new rules, is not allowed on a narrow bridge like that. 

Chernushenko said he'd like to see the city get to a point where sharing the road is just a given among all vehicles.

"If all road users understand better their respective obligations, we might achieve a point where the road is safer for everyone and charges are no longer necessary," he said. "I’d rather get compliance than issue tickets."

Benoit said drivers should expect more blitzes throughout the summer months while construction continues.

Lansdowne Park has limits as city works on facility occupancy rate

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The city isn't convinced spending about $1 million to install air conditioning in the revamped Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park would be a good investment. JANA CHYTILOVA / OTTAWA CITIZEN

 

Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

A non-competition agreement with the EY Centre prevents the city from pursuing trade shows for Lansdowne Park, whose city-run buildings had just over half of the rental times booked in 2015.

It’s one of the barriers to maximizing rental space in the Horticulture Building and the Aberdeen Pavilion.

The deal to keep trade shows away from Lansdowne was struck when the city partnered with Shenkman Corp. to build the exposition hall near the Ottawa International Airport. The city contributed $8.5 million to the facility, which the city believed was necessary to bring trade shows to Ottawa when Lansdowne was redeveloped.

EY Centre president Kevin McCrann said the facility hasn’t had to enforce the non-competition agreement with the city over trade shows.

“The majority of the time there is no issue,” McCrann said, adding that the new Lansdowne isn’t exactly conducive to trade shows.

A spokesman for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group said TD Place isn’t in the trade show business, anyway. (The city runs the Aberdeen Pavilion and Horticulture Building. OSEG runs TD Place.) The trade show space in the “salons” of the old Civic Centre became commercial space in the TD Place redevelopment.