Wednesday, May 22, 2024

City of Ottawa, NCC reach agreement on Brian Coburn Blvd. extension in east end

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The city of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission have reached an agreement to “improve transit” in Ottawa’s east end, including building a two-lane westerly extension of Brian Coburn Boulevard from Navan Road to the northern segment of the existing Renaud Road.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum announced the memorandum of understanding Wednesday morning to “advance Transit Priority Measures” along the Blackburn Hamlet Bypass and Innes Road, as well as the realignment of Renaud Road.

“With this MOU, the NCC and the City of Ottawa commit to work collaboratively to improve commuting options for east end residents and to minimize the impact of these measures on the Mer Bleue section of the Greenbelt,” the NCC and the city said in a joint statement.

The agreement comes after Ottawa City Hall and the NCC had been at odds over the proposed extension of Brian Coburn Boulevard, with the city wanting to cut through NCC-owned green space. The NCC has called the lands, “environmentally sensitive.”

The city wants to build bus-only lanes on the extended road to help ease congestion and provide more transit options for the growing east end, but it would require the NCC giving up about 40 acres in the Greenbelt. 

The NCC prefers a route that is closer to Navan Road, but that would be more costly for the city.

According to a 2023 city memo, the city’s preferred option for extending Brian Coburn Boulevard — known as “Option 7” — would cost an estimated $400 million, while the NCC’s preferred option, Option 1, would cost $610 million.

The city and the NCC announced plans to work together on the Renaud Road realignment, including extending Brian Coburn, which “will help address the transportation needs of the growing east end community.”

The realignment would remove two sharp bends on Renaud Road and two crossings of the Prescott-Russell Trail, according to the NCC and the city.

“The realignment will see a two-lane westerly extension from Brian Coburn Boulevard at Navan Road to the northern segment of the existing Renaud Road. Under this proposal, the southern part of Renaud Road would be closed and returned to greenspace,” said a statement from the city and the NCC.

The impasse created some sparks in 2022 when east-end councillors voted to reject a plan to build several new embassies in Mechanicsville, citing the ongoing dispute over the Brian Coburn extension. Last year, Transportation Committee chair Coun. Tim Tierney lashed out at the NCC over the the feud, saying its position was impacting traffic and housing priorities.

“People talk about, let’s have more housing; well, guess what? We can’t do it in the east end of the city unless we allow Option 7, which is one that we’ve been looking at very closely. Why are we not doing that?” he said in a CFRA radio interview.

This is a developing story … please check back later for updates.

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