Homeowners have a right to be peeved

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And Lakeside Avenue residents should not be called NIMBYs over bus issue

Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen

Sometimes NIMBYism gets a bad rap.

Apparently, to avoid being tagged as indulging in Not-In-My-Backyard hypocrisy, we're supposed to be thrilled when, say, a 15-storey condo goes up at the end of our leafy residential street. Density is great! We are likewise expected to jump for joy when the city reroutes hundreds of transit buses down our quiet blocks.

That is, of course, ridiculous. We don't as a rule feign delight when our environs are disrupted. Yet we tend to shrug our collective shoulders at the annoyances other parts of the city might experience — the indifference that's the flip side of the Not-In-My-Back-Yard mentality.

It's a natural instinct. That's not to say that NIMBYism is desirable — if we want the city to grow and improve, we all need to embrace change and, sometimes, inconvenience — but it's understandable.

There isn't a person in Ottawa who wouldn't be furious if this happened on his or her own street, even if it was only a dozen times a year.

Not every complaint about new development can be reduced to mere NIMBYism, though. Case in point: the Lakeside Avenue residents' protest against hundreds of football-game shuttles trundling down their normally serene residential street.

In an effort to get thousands of fans to Redblacks games, CFL-franchise owner Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is running shuttles from four off-site parking lots to Lansdowne Park. The shuttles are a great idea. Lansdowne isn't on any major transportation or rapid-transit routes, and there isn't room for most fans to drive — or park — at (or even near) the TD Place stadium.

There's only one catch, at least for the 20 or so homeowners who live on Lakeside: Their tiny street is being used by these shuttles to connect from Bronson Avenue to Queen Elizabeth Driveway. While OSEG employs 90 shuttles for each game, each vehicle makes multiple runs. That means more than 500 bus trips down the street for hours on game nights.

Hwy. 417 Expansion: Lees Ave., Pathway closures

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Bridge work being done as part of the Highway 417 Expansion project requires the temporary closure of Lees Avenue and the Rideau River Multi-use Pathways to pedestrians and cyclists.

Lees Ave. from Chapel Cres. to the Transitway is currently closed while the Lees Avenue Underpass is being replaced. The street is scheduled to reopen in September, once the bridge is replaced.

The Multi-use Pathways on either side of the Rideau River will be rerouted for 4-6 weeks each in that area: The West side pathway starting as early as August 11, and the East side pathway starting in early September.

For more information about this project, visit ottawa.ca/confederationline.

No flashlight protest on Lakeside, woman says

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Michael Woods, Ottawa Citizen

A Lakeside Avenue resident is disputing claims that shuttle drivers had light shone in their eyes on the residential street after Saturday night's Redblacks game.

Claire Gardam, who lives on the street connecting Queen Elizabeth Driveway with Bronson Avenue, said she was outside on the sidewalk from 9:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. Saturday and "no one was shining flashlights in the eyes of the bus drivers."

"I can guarantee there were no flashlights out or any lights being shone around post-game," she said.

Gardam said she and some fans were the only people on the sidewalk post-game. Some neighbours were on a porch counting the buses, she said, but the only lighting was from porch and street lights.

Residents of Lakeside Avenue are upset with the city's plan to send up to 90 shuttle buses down their street on Redblacks game nights.

According to Phil Landry, the city's traffic services manager, some shuttle drivers reported having lights shone into their eyes while driving on the street after Saturday night's game.

Gardam said the street's incline and speed bumps can cause car headlights to shine a bit higher, which could be the source of the complaint.

Addressing shuttle bus concerns

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Many local residents have expressed concerns regarding the shuttle bus routes for Lansdowne events. As presented at the June 17 public meeting on this subject, it has always been the City’s intent to test a variety of routes for the Lansdowne Park shuttles, some using the Queen Elizabeth and Lakeside, some using Bank Street in combination with Fifth and Sunnyside. A commitment was also made to the various affected communities to test a longer route that uses only arterial streets: Queen Elizabeth followed by Preston, Carling and Bronson.
Ultimately, the 2010 Council decision to redevelop Lansdowne and the subsequent emphasis on replacing many thousands of private vehicles through the use of hundreds of shuttle buses meant that those shuttle buses would have to take a route that was efficient enough so as to be attractive to those event-goers who might otherwise have chosen to drive to and park in the adjacent communities.

By the end of the month, the Lansdowne Transportation Monitoring and Operations Committee (on which I sit) will be in a position to make recommendations regarding shuttle routes for the remainder of this season and for the future. I hope to find a compromise that gets ticketholders to the game as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to residents.

I do not support simply shifting shuttle buses from one residential street to another. I anticipate that some residential streets will still need to take some of the shuttle traffic for larger events, but that overall we will be able to agree to a plan that imposes as little additional traffic as possible on any one residential street, and only under strict speed limits. I also expect we will find ways to minimize the number of shuttle trips on any one street by rerouting empty returning buses onto arterial roads.

Lansdowne transportation management is still a work in progress. Please rest assured that I am committed to finding a solution that does not impose a heavy burden on any one groups of residents.
– David Chernushenko