Reconstruction work begins at Lansdowne

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By Laura Mueller, EMC News

Council's approval of preliminary Lansdowne Park reconstruction work on May 8 marked the first time the city councillor for Capital Ward, where the park is located, didn't cast a dissenting vote.

That doesn't mean David Chernushenko is suddenly onside with the project, it's just that he has no opportunity left to withhold his support for the plans, since council has already given the go-ahead.

Chernushenko still questions the need to move the Horticulture Building, but since council already voted to approve that move and remove the building' heritage designation to do so, there is no point in objecting on a vote now, he said.

"This isn't about 'Should we move it,'" he said. "It's about 'Should we move it now,' and make cleaning up the soil a more efficient and thorough job and allow the restoration of the building to go ahead."

City moving ahead with Lansdowne Park plans

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Committee approves small steps toward completion of community, including plans for retail development and programming

Jessica Smith, Metro Ottawa

The "traffic challenges" brought on by developing Lansdowne Park will cause some people to change how they get around the Glebe, Mayor Jim Watson said Thursday.

At the finance and economic development meeting, councillors discussed a plan that would see shuttle services to the city's park-and-ride facilities set up for special events. However, a handful of residents spoke up to say it will be hard for the already-busy Glebe to absorb the added traffic brought in by the new development.

Watson agreed. "I've never underestimated the traffic challenges we're going to face in that community," he said. "It forces some people to take transit, it forces other people to walk or to carpool or to park farther away."

David Chernushenko argued that Lansdowne Park should be a car-free zone, saying the 40 surface parking spaces in the plans will lead in reality to about 100 people circling around looking for a space.

"On a day-to-day basis, not just at major event time when we all know a car couldn't get in there anyway, Lansdowne park should be a car-free area. (Being) a people place would make it that much more special," he said.

George Dark, a member of the Lansdowne Park design panel, said a mix of some well-designed parking with ample space for pedestrians would work better than making Lansdowne car-free.

"Sparks Street without the cars hasn't worked out particularly well in the long run," he said.

Lansdowne will face 'some traffic challenges,' Watson says

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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.

Lansdowne should be car-free, Chernushenko says

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CBC News

Ottawa councillor David Chernushenko said he opposes the inclusion of three roads open to cars that are included in the latest plans of a redeveloped Lansdowne Park.

On Monday, the city and its partner, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, unveiled updated drawings for building a park, retail stores and a refurbished Frank Clair stadium on the site.

Roger Greenberg of OSEG said the planned streets are needed for shoppers, deliveries, and on-street parking, but said for major events, the roads will be closed to cars.

"We've taken great pains to try to make sure that pedestrians and cyclists have predominance," said Greenberg.

But Chernushenko said instead of the perceived convenience and street parking, the city should consider the less tangible benefits.

"This would be a better site if it's a car-free site," said Chernushenko. "There's a freedom, a liberty, to feeling like 'phewww'...I can stroll here without looking over my shoulder all the time," he said.

Chernushenko said he'll keep pushing for alterations to make Lansdowne car-free on all days.

"We can do something bold and special here and actually make it more socially and commercially successful, if we dare to do it," he said. "I'm sure we won't regret it."