People who live in the Glebe say the city isn't doing enough to prevent traffic congestion in their neighbourhood when Lansdowne Park opens next summer, but a city councillor says some "significant congestion" in the short term might actually be a good thing.
A public meeting with city staff and consultants was held at St. Giles Presbyterian Church Monday night, giving the city a chance to explain its plans for monitoring traffic when the redeveloped site opens in June.
The city called it their biggest-ever traffic monitoring plan. Analysts will watch how traffic actually flows compared to predictions and make changes based on that.
Consultants expect anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 people will come to Lansdowne for concerts, 13,000 to 15,000 for soccer games and 18,000 to 25,000 for CFL games — as many as 40,000 for a potential Grey Cup.
'Term we get over and over is, wait and see'
Staff will monitor which intersections people are using to turn where, how many people are crossing the Bank Street Bridge and where people are parking.
They will study two Ottawa 67's games, three soccer games and three football games.
But many residents said they want to know what will be done to reduce congestion.
"The term we get over and over is, wait and see. The city has planners, they did a lot of planning around special events at Lansdowne, but for the day to day, it is just wait and we'll adjust and fine tune then," said Brian Mitchell of the Glebe Community Association.
'We have not yet found a happy medium,' councillor says
Capital ward Coun. David Chernushenko said short-term congestion can lead to positive and environmentally-friendly outcomes.
"There's an odd set of dilemmas here," he said. "Traffic congestion actually prompts people to not drive their car. So, if for the first few weeks we experience significant congestion, that may not necessarily be a bad thing."
But when asked what the take-away lesson from the evening was, Chernushenko said he agrees with residents who want more short-term action.
"There are a lot of people who are prepared to live with Lansdowne and even hoping it succeeds now, but the definition of success is it has to work as much for the neighbouring communities as for the visiting clients," he said.
"We have not yet found a happy medium. The solutions are still too much weighted towards the visiting client and not enough in favour of the affected residents."
Some of the proposed solutions include increasing O-Train service and having more east-west buses from Carling Avenue, more bike lanes and using the proposed Fifth/Clegg footbridge in a few years to make Main Street a better way to get to Lansdowne.
The group running Lansdowne said it will have a traffic co-ordinator in place by January.