Friday, July 9, 2010

Lemieux Island area (i)

The area of Ottawa near Lemieux Island is full of little mysteries. Shown above is River Street (no road signs...) which connects the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway to Lemieux Island. The road was recently rebuilt and seed sprayed on both sides after years of digging it up for the high pressure watermains.

The sides are fenced to keep cars from using them for Bluesfest parking.

South of the parkway/expressway, the little street is now named Sliddel, it runs past the city parking branch offices to the new traffic roundabout that makes a three point meeting of Sliddel with Bayview and Burnside Road. This is a very attractively landscaped little bit of roadway. I remain astounded the city put in such intensive landscaping in a to-be-redeveloped-someday-area and then it refuses to plant even a single tree in other neighborhoods (eg City Centre Avenue, or along Albert-Scott).

The nice landscaping along Bayview. The area beyond has yet to be remediated (de-polluted) and will someday be redeveloped with streets and apartments. In the meantime, the city steadfastly refuses (as it has since I started nagging them in the 1980's) to do any landscaping along Albert Street as it's "only temporary" although redevelopment is not likely before 2030.


  1. I live in that area, and that traffic circle baffles me. Traffic circles are horrible for pedestrians and cyclists, and there are tons of those in that area (especially during bluesfest). The car advantage of traffic circles is that you don't have to stop - except this one has temporary stop signs that have probably been forgotten about by city works. That area has a problem with cars speeding down Burnside past the playground and and around the corner to Bayview. A traffic circle doesn't slow them down much, but maybe that's what the stop signs are for.

    -- Justin

  2. the roundabout is to slow down traffic without a stop sign, which is good. It is actually landscaped, which shocks me. If the tree in the centre grows ... it will block the motorists through view, which is good but unexpectedly modern thinking by the city. The pedestrian route is a bit circuitous, but it is very safe, as peds only cross one lane of traffic in one direction at a time, and there are no lights to wait all thru the red while no traffic goes by. Cycles ... I hope they paint sharrows (bike markers) in the centre of the lane as that is the ONLY safe place for bikes in this type of design. Stick to the right and you'll be run over by an exiting car ... stick to the left, and you'll have a hard time exiting ... so stay in the middle of the lane!

  3. In general, I am favor of traffic circles. As a cyclists it is nice to get rid of extra stop signs (the city has too many of them).

    What boggles the mind is that when I asked the city engineer if we could install more, he said it needs to be tied to other roadworks because they cost on the order of $1 million.

    Apparently for low-volume intersections a few signs and painting a circle in the middle of the intersection won't do.

    Image of a paint-only traffic circle:

    Slightly off topic, but interesting to note that when I was in Vancouver (Richmond BC) recently, I found "courtesy intersections". There are no signs ... first come first served.

  4. I suspect the one million figure comes from the huge size the city wants to build roundabouts. This is done so large trucks and school buses can have an acceptable turning radius. The "issue" with the dot type circle is they work for cars but not for large trucks. Now you and I are OK with this, just let the truck drive over it ... but city traffic boffins like fixed rules that apply to all cases ... there is a button circle at the corner of Elm and Rochester streets, the button is about 6' in diameter. Originally planned as a raised dot (on a 8" curb) it was flattened to permit school buses and plows to go by ... and of course most people just drive over it. No one circles it to turn left, if anything, they turn shorter to avoid it and thus go thru the intersection the wrong way. Alas.

  5. Hi Eric, I was surprised that you didn't mention the vanishing sidewalk on Slidell that gets pedestrians halfway from the roundabout to the signalized intersection (with crosswalk) that crosses the Ottawa River (Commuter Express) Parkway towards the Ottawa River Pathway and Lemieux Island. I live in Mechanicsville, and I was thrilled when the City put in that roundabout and landscaping; but it boggles my mind that the brand-new sidewalks abandon pedestrians 50 metres short of a crosswalk and the NCC pathway system! (instead, there's brand-new sod where the sidewalk should be; sod that's soon to be trampled down to a goat trail if my feed have anything to say about it!) I had been wondering if the sidewalk ends where NCC land begins, but that doesn't explain the sod...?