Community Newspaper Columns

Main Street renewal: Two years of pain for long-term gain

June 2015

The full-scale reconstruction of Main Street from end to end is beginning in earnest, and the appearance of big shovels means major traffic detours along with other disruptions for the next two years.

Most local residents and regular users of Main Street, including residents in Old Ottawa South, knew this was coming — there have been three years of public meetings, a City Council debate, detailed design work, preparatory utility work and 20-plus meetings of a Public Working Group of residents as well as affected businesses and institutions.

Still, as with any project that will significantly affect so many people in Capital Ward, it's my job to ensure that good communication is established and maintained between the City and residents, businesses, educational institutions, churches and all other affected parties.

This project will be long, noisy and dusty. It will force undesirable detour routes and temporarily change traffic patterns throughout Capital Ward — for example, by shifting more traffic to Bank St. and other alternative routes. I want to ensure that everyone knows what is happening, why it is happening, how you can stay informed, and what you should do if you have special needs or observe serious problems.

I know from the full reconstruction of Bank Street in the Glebe a few years ago that having open lines of communication is essential. On this front, I am working with City staff to minimize the project's impacts on all residents.

I have also dedicated a section on my website to the Main Street Renewal at capitalward.ca/mainstreet. Here, you will find a comprehensive description of the why, what, how, who and when, along with contact information for inquiries and concerns.

At one of the Main Street planning meetings, a local community association representative raised an important point. To paraphrase: We are all in this together. We are all going to suffer the impacts and we have done our best to share the burden of things like traffic detours. But when this is done, we are going to have an entirely renewed street and the key piece of a complete community renewal that will benefit all of Capital Ward.