Province to consider closing Highway 417 on-ramp at Carling

Ottawans will get their first chance today to weigh in on a proposal by the province to permanently close a Highway 417 on-ramp.

Ottawans get chance to weigh in on potential closure later today

The Ministry of Transportation is proposing to close the on-ramp to the eastbound Highway 417 from Carling Avenue. (Google Earth)

Ottawans will get their first chance later today to weigh in on a proposal by the province to permanently close a Highway 417 on-ramp.

The Ministry of Transportation is proposing to shutter the single-lane ramp that connects Carling Avenue with the eastbound Queensway, just west of the Westgate Shopping Centre.

According to the notice of the study's commencement, the ministry is considering closing the ramp "to address operational and safety issues" nearby.

Today's public meeting is expected to run from 4 to 8 p.m. at Kitchissippi United Church. 

'Serious impact' on neighbourhoods

Closing the ramp would have a "serious impact" on traffic along Parkdale Avenue, according to a statement posted on the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association's website.

"For those travelling westbound on Carling, their only other choice would be a convoluted path via the already congested Carling/Kirkwood intersection," the association said.

"We expect many drivers will choose Parkdale Avenue, a street that simply cannot handle any more traffic."

The Carlington Community Association has similar concerns and worries motorists will be tempted to drive through the neighbourhood to get onto Kirkwood Avenue, said Robert Brinker, chair of the association's development committee, on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Thursday.

According to 2011 data the ramp is used by about 3,700 vehicles per day, Brinker said — about half the traffic that the Kirkwood Avenue on-ramp sees.

But Brinker said neighbouring ramps are already too congested, and that with more people moving to the neighbourhood it will only get more congested.

"This on-ramp will get busier in the future [if it's open]," he said.

Members of the team behind the proposed closure are expected to attend today's public meeting.