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Queensway Widening

Thu Jun 2, 2005 Miss Vicky 

I've spent the last couple of days in London, Ontario, hanging with academics. The annual Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities is meeting at the University of Western Ontario, and my employer organized a conference on contract academic staff issues in conjunction with this event. I came home all ready to blog about the plight of contingent workers in post-secondary institutions and in other sectors (spurred on by a piece in the Glib and Stale's careers section about how many workers are CHOOSING to be contingent....).

Then I picked up a copy of the Citizen in the Toronto airport and read the MTO's plan to widen the Queensway is forging ahead. About 20 homes in my 'hood are on the chopping block to make room for a new off ramp.

I have never understood this project. I mean, there's some gridlock at certain times of the day, but nothing like what other cities experience. Yet the province seems intent to make it easier to put more cars on the road, at the expense of neighbourhoods, the environment and other, more sensible projects that could use the money. The future of the east-west light rail corridor is still up in the air - but heck, let's add a lane to the Queensway!

At some point, we have to put our collective foot down and stop enabling our car culture.

There is a coalition of community groups opposed to the expansion. The Hintonburg Community Association isn't on it, and I'm wondering why. Will try to find out this weekend at Community Day. Or perhaps one of you regular readers can help enlighten.... At the very least, they should be talking to the folks on Westmount and Parkdale to find out how they feel about this.

The last round of Public Information Centres are later this month. You can find information about the project on the Ministry's website here.

In the meantime, enjoy today's Smog Day! I'll be bringing my puffer to work.

Some people were moved to reply

The Webgeek Jun 3, 2005 08:42 AM said:

To be honest, a wider 416 isn't what Ottawa needs. It needs a second highway. Turn Hunt Club road into a second east-west corridor. it already cuts through some major industrial zones, and has several conector roads going from the 416 to it, including the new Vetran's Memorial highway they built out by Kanata.

Miss Vicky Jun 3, 2005 09:27 AM said:

You mean the 417, right?

The Webgeek Jun 3, 2005 09:49 AM said:

right. 417.

I was just, err, testing you....

Miss Vicky Jun 3, 2005 09:57 AM said:

Sure, Webgeek, sure.

Heard back from the HCA board, by the way. Apprarently most of the folks on Westmount favour expropriation - they find the current situation on the offramp pretty intolerable.

I'm sure it is. But I wonder whether we couldn't deal with those particular issues (safety, especially) without connecting it to a project that would bring more cars downtown and increase smog levels?

The Webgeek Jun 3, 2005 10:25 AM said:

Just so, I'm clear, the HCE is the "Hintonburg Community Association", right? and by the "current situation on the offramp", you mean that god awful jump straight off the highway onto Westmount Ave, right? How are they going to fix that by widening the highway? Are the plans currently on dipslay somewhere?

Miss Vicky Jun 3, 2005 10:45 AM said:

HCA=Hintonburg Community Assocation.

There are plans on the Ministry link provided. And they will be available at the public information sessions later this month.

Yep. For those readers outside the 'hood, anyone exiting the westbound 417 at Parkdale faces a short ramp and immediately finds themselves on a residential street. It's a nasty situation, all round.

There's another article in today's Citizen that has some interviews with Westmount residents. Apparently they're more interested in getting equivalent homes in the community than money for their property.... I am a bit skeptical that the expropriation settlement will be fair (and in fact, it doesn't seem like anyone has actually spoken with them about these petty details).

Flanders Jun 3, 2005 12:07 PM said:

I'm also less than thrilled about the potential to lose all that greenspace at Hampton Park as they change the Island Park offramp...

Miss Vicky Jun 6, 2005 12:10 PM said:

Gremlins have taken over the Citizen's City Section editorial pages again. Here's their take on the Queensway widening issue

liss76 Jun 8, 2005 12:26 PM said:

While I can imagine how intolerable it must be living on Westmount right now, won't widening the Queensway just push the off-ramp into the back/front yards of the next street over?

This is a residential neighbourhood--any widening is going to dramatically affect someone's enjoyment of their property. I find it hard to believe that the city would make a fair offer--at best, they'd pay the assessed value of the house. We all know how different that is from what it would cost to purchase an equivalent home in this area.

I agree that it is silly--the traffic (even at it's worst) isn't that bad and we'd be far better served by a second highway skirting the perimeter of the city that would allow East-West traffic to bypass the downtown core.

Miss Vicky Jun 8, 2005 03:49 PM said:

Exactly, liss. And once the cars get off the Queensway, they have to go somewhere - Parkdale is already pretty jammed at key moments of the day. Perhaps the Westmount folks see this as a way out of a bad situation, but there's the rest of the surrounding area to consider as well.

We should all be making an effort to attend those public hearings in a couple of weeks.

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