In 1971 an expected road widening changing the look and feel of a neigbhourhood street drastically.
BY HENRY MAKOW
The Ottawa Journal, Wednesday, June 16, 1971
CHAIN SAWS, NOT BIRDS, SANG ON SUNNYSIDE AVENUE TUESDAY
The city was continuing work on transforming the shady one-way residential street in Ottawa South into a two-way artery which will connect Bank Street with the Bronson Avenue entrance of Carleton University.
The casualties in this, the latest skirmish in the battle of the automobile versus the environment, were 21 stately old trees.
But at least the skirmish was short. When a local resident informed him of the pillage, Controller Lorry Greenberg asked the city and regional road departments to halt cutting until the alternatives are studied.
But when the controller arrived, workmen were already loading the carcasses onto trucks. The only consolation was in vowing that this would not happen again.
“It’s not a pleasant sight,” said the controller as he surveyed the scene.
“When council approved the plan, we had no idea it would be like this. In the future, all plans will have to clearly mark every shrub and tree.”
“This demands a serious reassessment of our values,” the controller said. “It seems to me that we could have had a two-way traffic here simply by prohibiting on-street parking. Sure, we’d have to sacrifice standard widths regulations, but what’s more important: traffic or preserving a pretty residential area?”
Carolyn Larson of 416 Sunnyside Avenue, the resident who phoned Mr. Greenberg, called the scene “a horrible massacre.”
We’ve lived here three years and it’s been a pleasant relatively quiet residential street, she said. “I didn’t mind my two children walking to school, but now, this boulevard will attract a lot of traffic.”
She said that not all her neighbors are as upset as she is.
“The people here are very accepting,” she said. “They think they have no say.”
I’m not too happy about it, but there’s not much we can do,” said Clifford Phillips of 413 Sunnyside Avenue who watched the cutting from his front porch.
“The city allowed us to use some extra footage, but they are just reclaiming what is theirs.”
Mr. Phillips said that he would have signed a petition against this project had one been circulated; but he added, “we wouldn’t have stood a chance.”
Residents were notified of the road widening in February but no petition was circulated. Mrs. Larson, who is a tenant was not informed.
Some homeowners welcomed the road widening. “Look at the holes in those branches, “Beryl McGee of 384 Sunnyside Avenue said referring to a freshly cut tree on her front lawn. “I’m glad to see it cut before it falls on our house.”
According to the city roadways department, eight of the 21 trees were diseased. The city intends to plant a large number of trees, three inches in diameter and 20 feet high, between the sidewalk and the road.
Originally published in the June 2001 OSCAR.