Ottawa Keeps Making Huge Planning Mistakes

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Little ItalyA businessman is travelling to Little Italy hoping to get a new client to buy his products.

Parking availability is horrible in Little Italy (by the city’s own admission in a recent report) and so the businessman decides to take the advice of the municipality and use the new bike racks to park his two-wheeler. He leaves the four-wheeler at home.

The businessman has to leave half his samples at the office because they don’t fit in the bike’s carrier. The day is warm so the businessman, in suit, tie and white shirt, is boiling and he sweats through his freshly laundered semi-formal apparel.

As he approaches Preston Street, a thunderstorm soaks him to the skin and destroys most of his samples.

He enters the potential client’s office drenched in sweat, mud and water, his samples are destroyed and can only stay a few minutes because he has four other appointments that day and the bicycle takes some time to pedal between meetings.

He sells nothing and misses the last appointment due to exhaustion from pedaling across the city.

Now this is a slightly exaggerated case (no businessman is stupid enough to bike to an appointment over a long distance) but the point is the city simply doesn’t get it.

Their solution to parking problems in Little Italy is erecting more bike racks. Is this a public relations ploy and an honest-to-god serious proposal?

In short, atrocious city planning (as usual) has over-built Little Italy so badly that what little parking is available is stuffed with cars. And the municipality is bankrupt of solutions so it proposes building bike racks.

Yeah, that should work.

Bad enough that rents have increased due to buying pressure from new condos so that traditional Italian businesses can’t remain there (The Bulldog proposes changing the name Little Italy to Little Westboro) and the neighbourhood distinctiveness is quickly disappearing. Do we need two Westboros? And oh yes, where are all the traditional businesses in Westboro?

If all this is not bad enough, planning committee and staff just approved a 55-storey building for the area.

So that begs the question. Will all these new bike racks be enough to handle all the people coming to the Little Italy area? Probably not.

City planning has created a parking problem, made it worse and proposed a solution that is wholly impractical.

This is the kind of topnotch planning that results in an unnecessary tunnel for downtown light rail at high cost and causes the proposed western rail line to be tunnelled down a park where no one lives.

Planning in this city is a joke. Clown shows are run better than this.

City staff is in complete disarray, approving every project that comes along to grab new development charges and bill more property taxes. It’s a disaster.

But are there changes? No. People making horrible decisions in places such as Little Italy continue to cash their City of Ottawa cheques and still make those same mistakes.

The City of Ottawa needs a good house-cleaning and if the current mayor is unprepared to do that, Ottawans should consider getting a new leader in the 2018 municipal election.


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