Development near troubled intersection gets council OK
Taggart proposal will only add to congestion at Hunt Club and Riverside, councillors fear
Ottawa city council has approved a proposed development at Hunt Club Road and Riverside Drive despite a consensus that it will only add more traffic to an intersection that's already received a failing grade.
On Wednesday, Taggart Group received a zoning change to add apartment buildings and car dealerships to an 11.5-hectare property already zoned for a retirement home and other commercial uses.
The proposal itself wasn't the issue for councillors — traffic congestion was. But councillors had already been told at committee that wasn't reason enough to reject the zoning application.
"We're at gridlock now. The intersection's an F minus," said the ward's councillor, Riley Brockington, one of five council members who refused to support Taggart's rezoning.
"[Residents] want the infrastructure to keep pace with development applications. That's the real issue."
Coun. Carol Anne Meehan, many of whose Riverside South residents pass through the intersection on their daily commute, also dissented.
"This intersection cannot take it," Meehan said.
LRT not a 'magic solution'
Coun. Stephen Blais chided Meehan for opposing the Taggart development after council approved 2,000 news homes for Riverside South last month.
City staff pointed out similar congestion is occurring on other arterials including Bronson Avenue and Innes Road, and said limiting development in one area would only push it to other parts of the city.
The manager responsible for planning and infrastructure urged city council to look at the wider transportation network, and said congenstion should ease when the Trillium Line is extended to Riverside South.
"What we have now is a bit of a lag ... but ground is going to break shortly," Steve Willis said.
"I think we're putting a lot of our hope into LRT that it'll be the magic solution for every neighbourhood in the city, but it will not be the magic solution that somehow eliminates thousands of cars from both these corridors every day. That's just not going to happen," Brockington said.
City council also approved speeding up the construction of a right turn lane from southbound Riverside to Hunt Club.
City staff have promised to assess the intersection to find ways to make it safer.
Councillors Shawn Menard, Diane Deans and Theresa Kavanagh joined Brockington and Meehan in dissenting.