Speeding concerns on St. Laurent prompt lane reductions (Nicholas Galipeau, Ottawa Citizen)

Protesters gathered on the corner of St. Laurent Boulevard and Karen Way on Monday afternoon chanting “Easy on the Speed” to slow traffic in advance of the 2015 reconstruction to reduce the number of lanes on St. Laurent, which will slow the pace of reckless traffic permanently.

“I think that they should at the very least have a pedestrian crossing sign here and, I think, a crosswalk because people just don’t stop,” said Jasmine Robillard, a young mother who frequently crosses St. Laurent to take her four-year-old son to Grandir Ensemble, a francophone daycare. “You have to jaywalk, which is illegal, to get to where you need to be.”

Robillard, a member of the Ottawa branch of the advocacy group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which organized the protest, said crossing St. Laurent Blvd. is simply not safe.

“In Manor Park alone since 2011 four people have been struck between the intersection at Brittany and Hemlock, so four people in this stretch of road alone.”

Fellow ACORN Canada member Richard Janke, 70, said the danger on St. Laurent and its adjacent streets is not limited to parents and their and children. “It’s terrible. There were 10 dogs killed there last year. Ten. One, zero.”

The hazards are known to Ottawa police, and the parking lot of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish has been a frequent host for speed traps.

“I share the concerns about vehicular speeds and pedestrian safety in that area,” said Tobi Nussbaum, the new city councillor for Rideau-Rockliffe who will be meeting with ACORN and Manor Park residents on Jan. 9 to discuss solutions to the area’s speeding issues.

“Specifically I’m talking about narrowing the number of vehicular lanes on St. Laurent between Hemlock and Montreal Road from four vehicular lanes to two and introducing bike lanes at the same time,” said Nussbaum, adding that the measures will make it safer for pedestrians crossing the street.

“I’m optimistic that the planned changes on St. Laurent are going to be a boon for the pedestrian experience and make it a lot safer for people using the daycare,” Nussbaum said.

Source: Ottawa Citizen