The National Capital Commission has turned down a bid by Carleton University to build a new entrance to its campus from Colonel By Drive because the federal agency doesn’t want to see more traffic on the scenic route.
The university wanted to extend Campus Avenue through the northern part of the campus, currently occupied mostly by parking lots, through to Colonel By Drive.
The university did not clearly demonstrate a need for this proposal.
– Mario Tremblay, NCC
Carleton indicated to the NCC that most of its future building will take place in that area.
But NCC spokesperon Mario Tremblay said a second access point on Colonel By Drive isn’t part of the commission’s vision.
“The plan for Canada’s capital promotes the transformation of capital parkways into linear green spaces with a focus on active mobility capacity and new safe crossing points,” Tremblay wrote in an email to CBC.
“The university did not clearly demonstrate a need for this proposal when it is our view that increased motorized vehicle traffic on Colonel By Drive may have detrimental impacts on pedestrians and cyclists.”
Tremblay said the NCC is ready to work with the university to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists.
O-Train changes coming
Currently there are only two ways for vehicles to get into and out of the Carleton campus, one on Bronson Avenue and another on Colonel By Drive, south of the spot where the university would like to see a second entrance.
Second-year student Mark Harding said with those limited options, traffic can become congested quickly.
“The positioning of the exits definitely increases traffic because they are going straight to the main roads,” he said. “There are different options that an extra road could have to potentially stop cars from waiting on campus.”
The problem could be made worse when the O-Train ceases service from May 2020 to September 2022 as part of the second phase of LRT construction.
OC Transpo has promised shuttle buses to handle the increased demand, and the city is planning bus priority lanes on Bronson Avenue.
There are also plans for two new access points on Bronson Avenue, one for buses and another for southbound traffic only.
Ida Toivonen, a professor at the university, said she’s waited for as long as an hour to get off campus when one of the two entrances was closed.
“If a road is closed or there is a strike or something like that, then it is hard. Or during graduation time.”
She said an additional entrance might help, but she would also like to see better transit service to the campus.
“It seems like more buses would be a better solution to me, so then people who don’t want to drive don’t have to,” she said. “We often feel we have to drive to get here on time.”
Carleton spokesperson Steven Reid said the university is still talking with the NCC about a second entrance on Colonel By.
“At this time, it is premature for the university to comment as we are continuing our conversations with the National Capital Commission about planning issues,” Reid said.