Lakeside Ave. residents slow Redblacks shuttle buses in protest
Say more than 500 buses take their residential street every home game
People living on a residential street near Lansdowne Park say they want to meet with the city to find another route for shuttles to Ottawa Redblacks games.
Lakeside Avenue connects Queen Elizabeth Driveway to Bronson Avenue, near Dow’s Lake, and is used as a route for free shuttle buses taking fans from Ottawa and Gatineau to TD Place.
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Before Saturday’s game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, residents slowly walked back and forth across the road in protest, slowing down the buses.
"They're taking a small street like Lakeside and, for lack of a better word, bullying us,” said resident Claire Gardam.
City planners and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which owns the Redblacks, say taking this route saves their buses 15 minutes driving time. For many fans, it’s an incentive to take the shuttles over driving themselves.
But the residents who spoke to CBC News said their street turns into a freeway every home game, with 500 buses taking the route.
"There have been over 150 buses in an hour and a half on this quiet residential street with elderly people on it. [That] to me is just unacceptable," said Kusum Menon, another Lakeside Avenue resident. He added they counted a bus passing by every 45 seconds for four hours.
Residents fear 'serious incident'
Some fans on the buses got off to talk to protesters, saying the park and events it hosts brings tens of thousands of jobs to the city for nine home games worth of inconvenience.
One of the bus drivers told CBC News the protests were “very dangerous.”
"Sure, nine games a year. But it only takes one serious incident to put the whole thing at risk," said Jason Vallis, traffic co-chair of the Dow’s Lake Residents Association.
Residents said they want the buses moved to another route, such as Carling Avenue, by the next Redblacks home game. That game takes place on Aug. 15.