By Neco Cockburn, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — There will be "some traffic challenges" at a redeveloped Lansdowne Park, as was the case during major events in the past, but the city is working to manage the issue, says Mayor Jim Watson.
"It's going to be a holistic approach to deal with the challenges that both parking and traffic circulation are going to cause. The flip side to that is that it's actually a pretty good sign of a healthy community when you actually have more traffic, whether it be pedestrian, cycling, because it's a destination point for people," Watson said on Thursday, after concerns about traffic emerged at a meeting of council's finance and economic development committee.
Watson pointed to Westboro, saying it wasn't such a hot neighbourhood 20 years ago.
"Today, it's pretty busy there on Saturdays as well. I don't mean to sugar-coat the fact that I think there are some legitimate concerns," he said. "We've tried as best as possible with contingency plans to deal with them."
Discussion about traffic and transportation issues overshadowed financial matters as councillors approved reports detailing progress and updates on various elements of the Lansdowne project.
A few community members who spoke to the committee repeated concerns that not enough attention has been paid to the amount of day-to-day traffic the site generate, and that managing big events has been the main focus. (There are plans for shuttle services, satellite parking and other measures aimed at managing a large influx of visitors.)
Capital Councillor David Chernushenko followed up with questions to city staff, who replied that the day-to-day traffic has been assessed.