Ottawa

Hospital road link renews expressway fears

Community associations are upset with Ottawa city council's decision to start road work to link Ottawa Hospital's General Campus to Riverside Drive, and say it could reignite plans to pave a longer stretch through city greenspace.

Community associations are upset with Ottawa city council's decision to start road work to link Ottawa Hospital's General Campus to Riverside Drive, a move they say could reignite plans to pave a longer stretch through city greenspace.

Council on Tuesday approved the $55 million project, a 1.2-kilometre stretch of road linking Riverside Drive and the Transitway to the campus ring road of the hospital. Of the $55 million figure, $5 million will be spent this year.

Coun. Peter Hume said the new roadway would alleviate traffic congestion at Alta Vista Road and Smyth Road.

The proposed road would be built just south of Riverview Park in an area that is largely greenspace and is dotted with hydro towers.

Riverview Park Community Association president Karin Keyes Endemann said her group would prefer the land be used for sports fields, nature trails or perhaps future light rail tracks.

She said she suspects new interest in the road is about a development proposed near the National Defence Medical Centre.

"Our councillor has repeatedly said that he expects there'll be a thousand housing units on that land. So certainly developing the city may have played a part in this," said Endemann.

Expressway concerns arise

Coun. David Chernushenko said other residents are concerned the stretch of road opens the door for future development along the hotly contested Alta Vista transportation corridor.

The corridor has been an issue for area residents for decades, some of whom are concerned that it will lead to heavier traffic through their neighbourhoods.

It stretches from Conroy Road at Walkley Road in the southeast and travels north alongside designated green spaces like the Kilborn Allotment Gardens and Lynda Lane Park before curling around the north end of the hospital. The corridor then extends west over the Transitway to Riverside and then north across the Rideau River to hook up with the Nicolas Street connection to Highway 417.

"If you do have to build a link to the hospital, don't build it in such a way that its engineered that it could become part of a wider expressway," said Chernushenko.

"There's a very strong feeling from many local residents that they don't want an expressway through their neighbourhood ever," said Chernushenko.