Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rescue Bronson Avenue - next steps

Lots of people came out to the community forum to Rescue Bronson Avenue last night. Representatives from the CCCA, DCA and CCOC joined Councillor Diane Holmes to present our vision of the Rescue Bronson project, and give people in the room a chance to speak.

(skip meeting summary)

Somerset Ward Councillor Diane Holmes introduced the project and its context. You can read more on the background in my previous post, Rescue Bronson Avenue this Wednesday! The photo below shows just the front third of the crowd at the McNabb Park Community Centre's assembly hall

Next, Eric Darwin, President of the Dalhousie Community Association and blogger at West Side Action gave a great presentation talking about Road Diets and why one can work for Bronson Avenue.

Many people were interested in Eric's references to research that shows that a road diet can carry the same amount of traffic with a different lane configuration.

The next speaker was Robert Smythe, who has been active in Centretown as far back as the 1970s. Robert gave a presentation on the Escarpment Plan, which was generated a couple of years ago after two years of solid, extensive consultation with the community and stakeholders. The Escarpment is the area near the Ottawa Tech playing fields, down the hill at Albert/Slater toward Lebreton Flats. The Escarpment Plan, which has been incorporated into the City's Official Plan, contains a number of recommendations relevant to the north end of Bronson Avenue (which the Bronson Avenue consultants didn't bother to look at).

I then gave a social media report and talked about Rescue Bronson's web site, Twitter feed, Facebook page, and online petition (which is now at over 150 signatures!)

I highlighted some of the comments made by Rescue Bronson supporters on the petition, on our website, and on various news outlets' comment sections.

Next, people in the audience got a chance to give their comments. There was such a variety of comments, it is clear that the reconstruction of Bronson should be put on hold so that the City and the consultants can actually look at the problems identified by the community instead of pretending Bronson works the way it's built now.

We've received many compliments that this was one of the best consultations people have been to (some suggest it's because it wasn't organized by City staff!), and others are glad that we took the time to present this information to the community members, many of whom were unaware that a reconstruction project was going to happen in their own back yard.

Next Steps

While Eric spoke to the media (above), attendees filled out a big stack of comment forms that we're going to go through as quickly as possible so we can tell people about what happens next. We could use a volunteer or two to help with that data entry today and tomorrow--contact councillor Holmes' office if you can help out with that.

In addition to continuing to spread the word and get people to sign the petition, we'll be establishing a working group so that interested volunteers can help get more involved. E-mail if you want to volunteer for Rescue Bronson Avenue's working committee.

Rescue Bronson Avenue will also be making a presentation at the CCCA's Annual General Meeting, next Tuesday, November 17, 2010 at 7pm at City Hall (Colonel By Room). If you live between Bronson and the Canal, between the Queensway and the Ottawa River, you are eligible to be a member of the CCCA. Why not come out and support your community association!

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