The city released Centretown’s community design plan to the public Friday after completing a four-year study as part of its Liveable Ottawa 2031 project.
The report, prepared by Toronto-based planning and urban design company Urban Strategies Inc., provides a 20-year vision for the community, including recommendations to building height and massing, green space, transportation, heritage, and mixed-used development.
Given Centretown’s growing traffic problems, the study calls for major changes to the existing road networks, including revamping the streetscapes of major streets such as Elgin, Bank and Somerset to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars.
Other suggestions includes converting one-way streets, such as Metcalfe Street, to normal two-way streets, closing down surface parking lots, and making right turns illegal on a red light at busy intersections.
The plan focuses on urbanizing the city, so “any further intensification in Centertown needs to be supported by a series of public realm improvements,” reads the report.
It promotes ‘greening’ the community by upgrading and repairing existing parks and planting trees along the sidewalks of major streets.
If accepted, the plan will amend the existing Centretown Secondary Plan from 1976.
“Secondary plans are used to implement the city’s Official Plan at a local level and is one of the most important policy documents directing change and growth in a neighbourhood,” according to the report.
Although the 1976 plan included input from the Centretown Citizens Community Association (CCCA), its role in the neighbourhood’s planning seems to have diminished.
Having sent four letters to the city last year highlighting significant concerns about the draft plan, the finalized version presented to the association Feb. 11 appears to not even acknowledge the letters.
“We’re not happy,” says CCCA vice-president Robert Dekker. “We’ve spent a lot of time on this document and to be told that our recommendations don’t meet what the city is looking for is a slap to the community and what the community would like to see.”
Among the concerns is the introduction of zoning areas that would allow up to 21 storeys, a height the association says is not justified. Another worry is the lack of short-term parking in Centretown.
According to Dekker, the CCCA plans to meet with every member of the planning committee individually to discuss its concerns before the plan reaches the committee. They also aim to meet with the 23 councillors and the mayor.
The community design plan will be presented at the planning committee meeting Mar. 26, chaired by Coun. Peter Hume, who could not be reached for comment.
See the full plan at http://ottawa.ca/en/community-design-plan
See the amendment at http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/public-consultations-about-planning/draft-official-plan-amendment