Councillors invite residents to envision better Beechwood Avenue (Alex Robinson, Ottawa East News)

Although Beechwood Avenue is not scheduled to be rebuilt any time soon, two city councillors are appealing to residents to envision ways transportation can improve along the corridor.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury and Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum have scheduled a meeting on June 24 to discuss how the street can be altered to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

“We really want to have an opportunity to discuss with residents how to reconfigure Beechwood Avenue to be a safer street for all forms of transportation,” Nussbaum said.

“We want to obtain a range of ideas and to engage the public with this kind of brainstorming exercise at this early stage.”

Nussbaum said while the city’s short term infrastructure plan does not include rebuilding the road, there could be opportunities for piecemeal improvements. For example, the city could consider widening the right of way as redevelopments occur along the road in order to widen bike lanes or sidewalks.

The councillor said everything is on the table for discussion, from a review of parking to the number of vehicle lanes that flow in each direction on the street. Other ways to improve the pedestrian experience could include building little parkettes on the side of the street, he said.

Nussbaum added the ultimate goal down the road could be to turn Beechwood Avenue into a complete street.

“Our goal is always to have a complete street. The question is whether we have the manoeuvrability and the space to do it well,” he said. “What can we do within the limits of those constraints is make sure we’re improving safety for all users.”

The street is currently part of the east-west bikeway and has a large amount of vehicular traffic flowing to and from the Vanier Parkway.

It has seen its fair share of serious accidents in the recent past. In 2014 an 81-year-old man died after he was hit by a school bus at the corner of Beechwood Avenue and Springfield Road.

“There have been a number of very serious incidents on the street that demonstrate the need for safety along that stretch of Beechwood,” Nussbaum said.

The meeting will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Dining Hall of Chartwell New Edinburgh Square, at 420 MacKay St.

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Source: Ottawa East News