Shuttle buses of hate

Returning to an over-discussed topic, the city has decided to reduce the number of shuttle buses going down Lakeside Avenue–a tiny little residential street that usually can’t be used as a shortcut between Bronson and the QED. I’ve read that the reduction will be between 50% and 70%; there won’t be any “dead head” buses using it (buses returning from the stadium to pick up more fans at the park-and-ride); and that there won’t be any buses post-game.

(Though different reports have different info, so who knows how much is true. Regardless of the specifics, there is a reduction.)

It seems like a decent compromise. It still won’t be fun for residents of Lakeside (and it might make more sense to re-route all shuttle buses), but it demonstrates that the city is trying to find the right balance. Personally, I always wondered if the Lakeside route was a short-term gambit to induce people to ride the shuttles–make it really quick at first, then give them slightly longer routes that people won’t really mind.

Of course, civic good will won’t reach everyone. Reading the comments on the Sun article is… enlightening. It’s quite pathetic how people have so little concern for their fellow residents*. The same goes for would-be mayor Darren Wood:

I’m not sure what is the defining aspect of Wood’s tweet: the blatant disdain for Ottawa residents, the Dada-esque use of the English language or his sheer ignorance regarding Ottawa’s geography.

Capture

*Yes, all of you who think this is a capitulation of Chamberlain proportions, I’m calling you pathetic. Because you are.

Furyous Drivers

I have a few quick notes about Lansdowne transportation that I haven’t yet mentioned. I’m doing this bullet-style because it would just be too many words about this top, otherwise. Here you go:

  • After the second RedBlacks home game, Bank Street was a little more congested. It wasn’t really bad, and it didn’t last too long, but traffic did not flow as smoothly for this game. I don’t know if it had to do with the additional parking or what, but it’s interesting.
  • The first Fury game was pretty bad for congestion. A lot more people were driving and Bank didn’t seem to be able to handle to post-soccer traffic (as well as the normal traffic and parking). It cleared out fairly quickly, but, again, interesting.
  • Saturday’s Fury game seemed to have no such problem. I imagine attendance might be down a bit from the opener, and traffic might flow smoother on a Saturday night rather than a Sunday evening.

That’s it. I don’t know if I’ll ever write about this stuff again*.

*I probably will.

This would not be a good protest

I’ve been wondering about the effects of Lansdowne traffic on Lakeside Avenue, a tiny little side street that is being used as a route for shuttle buses (about 500 of them). The residents of Lakeside are the one group of people who looked to be really put-out by the transportation plan, and it appears they were.

And they might have started fighting back.

Shuttle bus drivers complained that after the second RedBlacks home game, people on Lakeside were shining flashlights at them. If true, it’s a very stupid, dangerous and likely illegal form of protest.

One Lakeside resident, however, said it didn’t happen:

Gardam said she and some fans were the only people on the sidewalk post-game. Some neighbours were on a porch counting the buses, she said, but the only lighting was from porch and street lights.

Gardam said the street’s incline and speed bumps can cause car headlights to shine a bit higher, which could be the source of the complaint. She said Lakeside residents wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize safety, and in no way want to interfere with fans using the shuttle buses.

I hope that’s correct, but even without the flashlights, residents had some other forms of protest, slowly crossing the street in front of shuttles and parking their cars to force the buses to slow down. These are perfectly acceptable forms of civil disobedience.

The traffic plan will be re-examined at the end of August. Hopefully, the residents will get at least some relief.

Re-re-visiting Lansdowne: Credit to OSEG

The transportation plan for the first RedBlacks game went off quite smoothly (at least in the Glebe), which is why it was so absurd when an OSEG representative said that, based on the previous success, they were thinking of opening up more streets for on-street parking.

It seems they may have reconsidered, as this morning city workers were out putting up No Parking signs along Bank Street (no parking between 3:30 to 11:30, the brunch crowd is still safe). This is good news. I haven’t finished my morning coffee, yet, so I haven’t been out and I don’t know if I they have restricted parking on any other streets.

Re-visiting Lansdowne

It’s been two weeks since the inaugural RedBlacks home game, and with the second home game coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d go through my impressions of transit to and from the game. I had planned to give an elegant little review, but that never happened, so let’s just go through this bullet-point style. And to warn you, this will be focused the Glebe, since that’s where I live.

Pre-Game:

  • Things worked well. Bank Street wasn’t plugged up, and cars, vehicles and bikes were able to move along pretty freely. I got home form work around 5:00 pm, taking Fifth Avenue to Bank (and then quickly turning left off of Bank). It was easy to turn onto Bank, change lanes and turn at left without the aid of stop light.
  • Buses were running smoothly. They didn’t seem to be blocking other traffic at all.
  • This is primarily because there was no parking, so no need to make non-stop lane changes. Sadly, it seems like we’ll be saddled with parking tomorrow.
  • It was loud, but not too loud along Bank, though the KISS FM tent was obnoxiously loud. Pedestrians moved along quickly, and generally didn’t get in the way.
  • Some pedestrians would cross the street willy-nilly without looking or caring that they were cutting people off.
  • It really was a marvelous carnival atmosphere. This is the sort of thing we need to do more of in the city.
  • Bank Street emptied quickly right before kick-off. There was no mad rush, honking or anything. All of a sudden, there just wasn’t anyone there. This would be a testament to the planning of OSEG.
  • Apparently, they ticketed 51 cars and towed 8. I only saw one person get a ticket, it was around 8:00 and she had popped into Kardish to pick up a few things.
  • There bike cops everywhere, seemingly.

Post-Game:

  • After the game, I quickly headed to a local bar. Lansdowne emptied relatively quickly, and for a brief while it got a little loud. Still, it wasn’t that bad. Really, it was about what you’d expect for a central neighbourhood during a special event.
  • Within about 20 to 40 minutes, everyone seemed to have left or arrived at their destination, as Bank became relatively empty again (though bars were quite busy).
  • The bike cops were still patrolling.
  • There was an ice cream truck that parked illegally (with some irritating music playing). The cops told him to move. He got huffy, but moved anyway… to another illegal spot. They made him move again and he seemed to just give up and leave.
  • I didn’t see a ton of trash on the streets. There was some, sure, but again, downtown event; what would you expect?

So that’s about it. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. It’s a weekend, so that may altar travel patterns. It might rain, so that might put a damper on things. The biggest worry, though, is the parking situation. The city and OSEG admitted there was ample parking for the game, but, still, they want more for tomorrow. If enough people hear that and think it means oh, I can drive to this game, they’ll have screwed themselves and the neighbourhood.

This is why we can’t have nice streets

I’ve been meaning to write about the inaugural RedBlacks game at Lansdowne. As prep, I’ve been reading a number of different reports to try to get as complete a picture as I can. Reading this report in the Ottawa Citizen, I was just floored by this passage:

OSEG’s plan calls for 2,500 vehicles to park and walk, representing 6,200 “person trips.” Landry said while there were many cars parked around Lansdowne, there was lots of availability further north and east of Bank, as well as south of the stadium. That means the heavy no-parking restrictions the city introduced on various streets in the Glebe for Friday’s game might be relaxed in the future.

Greg Best, chair of the Glebe BIA, had similar findings. “I didn’t get the sense people were circling around trying to find spots,” he said. “I looked at Glebe, First, Second, I looked at them all. … The traffic wasn’t really an issue. I was surprised.”

This is just mindboggling. The traffic plan worked. The parking restrictions allowed for an easy flow of buses, bikes and pedestrians. People really listened to OSEG and left their cars at home. Some people drove and parked, but so few that even with a lot of parking restrictions there was still “lots of availability” for parking. Which mean, we don’t need more parking capacity!

There may be no better representation of the myopic idiocy of car-centric urban planning than to look at a successful transportation plan with ample excess parking and respond, “More parking!”

For what it’s worth, I tend to agree with the positive reports about transportation (speaking, at least, for the north side of Lansdowne), but part of what made the whole experience so great was the lack of parked cars (and drivers looking to park) gumming up the major streets, Bank and First.

Kickoff

It’s game day for the Ottawa RedBlacks. They kickoff the regular season this evening in Winnipeg. It’s been a long road to get a sustainable football team back in Ottawa. We suffered through a Riders team that constantly teetered on the brink (and eventually disbanded); we were toyed with when Grant White came to town; and we were given the Renegades, a team that was as poorly run as the Riders’ final days but without having built up any good will with the community to try to pull them through.

Last month, I wrote about the idea of being a disenchanted CFL fan for the Ottawa Citizen:

I was born 274 days before Tony Gabriel made The Catch in the 1976 Grey Cup, Ottawa’s last championship. Needless to say, I don’t remember it. I spent the 1980s and some of the ’90s rooting for perennial losers. Such was the fate of Ottawa fans of my generation, but, regardless, I was a fan.

As much as I loved CFL football, we eventually broke up. I watched CFL commissioner — and current Toronto mayoral candidate — John Tory scold fans for not supporting the team (even though we regularly outdrew the Grey Cup-winning Argonauts). I watched as former mayor Jim Durrell attempted to patch together a plan to salvage the team.

But there was no salvation.

So here we are with the RedBlacks. The team seems better than any Rough Riders or Renegades team we have seen in over thirty years. It’s a time of hope for fans. And even if they don’t win many games, they’re already a success.