City of Ottawa recently initiated an Environmental Assessment (EA) Study to look at widening the Airport Parkway south of Brookfield Avenue and widening Lester Road from the Airport Parkway to Bank Street. The stated goal is to determine the most appropriate means to accommodate and manage increasing transportation requirements related to growth in the communities south of Hunt Club Rd.
Not surprisingly, many local residents and some of my colleagues on City Council are opposed to this idea, and I share their concerns. At a time when the City espouses the benefits of Complete Streets and expansion of public transit, and when funding for a new footbridge over the Rideau Canal remains elusive, why would we even consider spending many millions of dollars on widening existing roads, least of all to entice drivers towards a known bottleneck?
Why would we risk seriously undermining major investments in public transit by making it easier for even more private vehicles to access the already-congested centre of the city?
Why not, as many have already suggested, first extend the O-Train southward as planned, then wait a few years to see if road widening is really needed? What's the rush?