Letter re: Huntmar Bridge pedestrian safety

There are no sidewalks planned for the Huntmar Bridge over the Queensway until 2026.  The Fairwinds Community Association believes that’s a serious safety issue for our community, as well as a planning oversight by the City of Ottawa.  After all, the bridge connects two residential communities (Arcadia and Fairwinds) with a major shopping centre (Tanger) and a major entertainment facility (Canadian Tire Centre).

Here’s a letter we wrote to our city councillor with some ideas on how the bridge could be adapted to allow pedestrians to cross safely.  If you have comments about the issue please email info@fairwindscommunity.com

June 16, 2015

To: Councillor Shad Qadri
Cc: Councillor Wilkinson, Mayor Watson

Re: Huntmar Bridge

On behalf of the residents of the Fairwinds Community in your ward, we are writing today to express our concerns with the Huntmar Bridge over Highway 417.

It seems that little thought was given to the additional traffic – vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian – that would need to use this bridge with the opening of the Tanger Outlet mall as well as the development of the Minto community just north of the highway.

The expectation that pedestrians should use the Terry Fox bridge as an alternative is simply unfathomable, as is the admission by your council colleague Marianne Wilkinson that “development is outpacing infrastructure” in this area.

While we understand the structural limitations of the existing bridge prevent the widening of the structure, this is only a limitation if one accepts that the bridge must serve simultaneous two-way traffic.

It is the opinion of the Fairwinds Community Association that alternative approaches to traffic flow in this area would bring Huntmar Drive in line with the priorities for multi-modal roadways set out in the city’s Transportation Master Plan (2013) and the Kanata West Concept Plan, connecting the growing communities of Fairwinds and Arcadia in a more comprehensive way.

Two of these alternatives include:
• a signal-controlled alternating one-way traffic lane, similar to that which was in place during construction on the Carp Road bridge, which would allow for the addition of both sidewalks and a segregated bike lane within the confines of the existing structure; or

• designating the bridge and the stretch of Huntmar between Campeau and Palladium as one-way, routing opposite-direction traffic around to the bridge at the Palladium exit from the 417

We eagerly await your reply to our suggestion and any insight you can provide on how best to move this recommendation forward.

Sincerely,

Glen Gower, President
Fairwinds Community Association