Plus an Invitation for Feedback
Over the last 2-3 years, the OSCA Traffic and Safety Committee has been lobbying and in discussions with the City and the NCC with respect to the installation of a safe crossing (PXO) of Colonel By Drive in Old Ottawa South (as reported in the OSCAR and online on several occasions). This article is to provide an update on this project and to invite community feedback with respect to next steps.
In June 2018, we reported that then Councillor David Chernushenko had announced at the June meeting of the OSCA Board of Directors, that an agreement had been reached and a safe crossing (PXO) would be installed on Colonel By Drive at Seneca. The crossing at Seneca would be top-of-the-line: a raised crosswalk, push button access, and hardwired flashing lights. Of particular interest to the T&S Committee was the promise of the raised crosswalk. This would give a higher profile to the crossing and would cause cars to slow down on this busy throughway as well.
The T&S Committee has consistently advocated for a raised crosswalk and the NCC had agreed with this and eventually so had the City. However, it now seems that the final stamp of approval had not quite been given with respect to the nature of the crosswalk – will it be flat or raised?
We have recently learned that, in the discussion of the final details between the City and the NCC, the NCC requested that the City consult with the City of Ottawa Police Services (OPS) – Traffic Escort and Enforcement Unit, to provide commentary on the suitability of a raised crosswalk at the intersection of Colonel By Drive and Seneca. The OPS review led to a decision that a raised crosswalk would provide a security hazard since Colonel By Drive is a Ceremonial Route travelled by VIPs with police escorts and any need for the entourages to slow down or “almost stop” could constitute a security risk and also could disturb the comfort of the VIP. On this basis, the City then informed us that the crosswalk would have to be flat—at grade. The flashing lights, hardwiring and push button access would remain.
Having noted that a raised crosswalk across Colonel By Drive at the Corktown Bridge, also part of the Ceremonial Route, was installed not too long ago, the Traffic and Safety Committee decided, in the interests of the safety of residents of Old Ottawa South and other users, to ask the City and the NCC to re-consider the Seneca PXO and revert back to the decision to install a raised crosswalk. We have enlisted the support of our new Councillor, Shawn Menard, and are ever hopeful that there will eventually be a raised crosswalk as part of the PXO at Colonel By Drive and Seneca.
If the crosswalk is to be at grade, it is projected that the work on the PXO will begin in the spring or summer of 2019. However, we have now been informed that if the crosswalk is to be raised there could be delays of at least a year since the installation would most likely no longer be part of the road and sewage restoration project currently underway in Old Ottawa South.