Hunt Club Widening Position
The City of Ottawa is proposing significant changes to the busy intersection of Bank and Hunt Club bordering South Keys Centre, and Better South Keys Centre has been excited to be a stakeholder in the process. While the project was initially proposed from the perspective of adding vehicle capacity, we would like this significant investment in our community to instead support more comfortable walking, cycling, and transit use.
As South Keys Centre undergoes a transformation into a dense, people-oriented community connected to a major public transportation hub, it should be noted that the roads around the mall cannot accommodate all of the new residents planned for South Keys Centre if they all choose to drive. The 2015 Community Design Plan reviewed how projected growth in the area would affect traffic conditions and found that without a significant shift towards sustainable modes, the intersection of Bank and Hunt Club would reach “failing” conditions by 2031. That means that the City needs to create infrastructure today, so that the thousands of future residents at South Keys Centre will have good alternatives to driving when they move in, and so that existing surrounding residents have the option to travel there without a car.
It was with keen interest then that Better South Keys Centre’s members were able to find out some basic information about the proposed plans to widen Hunt Club Road from Councillor Diane Deans’ blog. Initially, we raised concerns that a formal public consultation had not been planned, and in response, the City organized one on April 21. We came to the meeting curious and prepared with lots of questions about the project, some of which the project team was able to answer in the meeting, others which had to be taken away to be answered later. We were pleased to have the chance to learn more details about the proposal and hear from other citizens who attended the meeting as well.
The current proposal is for Hunt Club Road to be widened to provide a third lane for eastbound traffic through the Bank Street intersection, continuing to Albion Road. An eastbound-only cycle track is also proposed along the length of the road affected by this project, and with accessibility improvements for pedestrians at the Hunt Club/Bank intersection.
Following the meeting, our technical committee conducted its own review of the proposal and concluded that the project as proposed is not consistent with our community-led vision for South Keys Centre and is not supported by any City planning documents. We are requesting significant changes to the project: to make the new eastbound lane a bus-only lane, and to add bicycle and pedestrian improvements on all corners.