Sunday, October 2, 2011

25 years of protest

Pulling out into Cathcart Street yesterday, I drove past a group of people standing at a trestle table that had been erected in the Bordeleau Park. On the table was a large cake decorated with a 25. That's an odd place for a birthday party, I thought, but it wasn't that exactly. It was a gathering to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the King Edward Avenue Task Force, a pressure group that for the last quarter century (!) has been trying in vain to do something about the heavy volume of traffic rolling down this large road through our residential neighbourhood. A report of their get-together on Saturday morning made the front page of the City section of the Ottawa Citizen today.

The MacDonald-Cartier Bridge, from the Gatineau side
The local politicians and councillors all claim to support the Task Force and agree that something has to be done, but very little headway is made, the sticking point being the need for an alternative to the MacDonald-Cartier interprovincial bridge, towards which King Edward Avenue leads, straight as a die, drawing heavy vehicles right through Ottawa's downtown core. And, as the article in the citizen says, drivers on their way home to Quebec race along the avenue towards the bridge at 75kph, even though the posted speed limit is 40kph. There are not enough bridges across the Ottawa, but where should the new one be built? that is the perennial question.
...any discussion of building another bridge to link Ottawa with Gatineau - across Kettle Island or the Upper and Lower Duck islands have been well-discussed options - are generally met with strong opposition from those neighbourhoods ...
The old rail bridge (at the bottom of my photo),
with Lemieux Island behind it
So far, the only candidate who has come round to our house before the provincial elections next week has been the Green Party candidate, Dave Bagler. He told me he favoured "the Canotek option" for the siting of the next bridge across the Ottawa, and also thought that the disused rail bridge (the Prince of Wales Bridge) upstream of the Chaudière Falls should be repaired and brought back into service.

I agree. All it takes is the political will to make these things happen.

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