Transit plan should include Lansdowne

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By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

Ottawa's next transportation blueprint must give strong consideration to how people will get to and from a bustling Lansdowne Park, the Glebe-area councillor says.

"Let's feed all of that into our transportation master plan," Capital Coun. David Chernushenko said Thursday after a special Lansdowne transportation advisory committee met privately.

"This is the most important moment to do it."

The city is reviewing its transportation master plan, which was last updated in 2008 before council and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group inked a partnership to transform Lansdowne.

A recently approved statement of work for refreshing the master plan didn't specifically mention Lansdowne, although it would be difficult to imagine how transportation planners could ignore the redevelopment's impact when the site reopens in 2014.

The advisory committee is comprised of neighbourhood community groups, business associations, municipal staff and councillors.

The committee is using the most recent transportation and traffic plan put together by consultants as a reference point.

Transportation issues are so critical to the redevelopment the city's consultant has recommended a dedicated transportation co-ordinator be hired for Lansdowne. The position would be paid by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

Some elements of the consultant's transportation report need to be updated.

For example, it suggests the Ecopass be promoted to Lansdowne residents and workers, but the Presto smart card system will eventually end the transit payroll deduction program.

Otherwise, there's a big focus on getting people to use OC Transpo and shuttle services on event days.

Parking limited

Driving to Lansdowne on game days might not be worth the headache since parking will be limited.

Residents aren't necessarily concerned about the occasional big events at Lansdowne, like football games, Chernushenko said.

They want a plan to deal with the day-to-day traffic that will be generated by new retail stores and a 10-screen cinema.

Chernushenko is also concerned about safety for cyclists on the Bank St. bridge across the canal, and said focus should also be placed on how cyclists pedalling to the park can safely cross busy streets like Bronson Ave. and the Queen Elizabeth Dr.

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Twitter: @JonathanWilling