Some sidewalks will not be built
North Aylmer, where the car is king
A lack of sidewalks in Lucerne, Deschênes and in the Plateau is getting the best of a North Aylmer mother. “There’s no access between Wilfrid-Lavigne Boulevard and Vanier Road and now they (police) are threatening to fine pedestrians, but there are no sidewalks nearby. This is ridiculous,” said the North Aylmer resident.
Police can fine pedestrians walking along Allumettières Boulevard because, according to Québec’s Highway Safety Code, no pedestrian may walk along a limited access highway or on any of its entrance or exit ways, except in a case of necessity.
Instead of walking along Allumettières Boulevard pedestrians can take the Pioneers Pathway, owned by Gatineau (only the part between the Promenade de la Gatineau and Promenade du Lac-des-Fées is owned by the NCC), just below the boulevard, but the North Aylmer mother turned down this option. “Parts of the path are not even shovelled.” She claims she heard dog walkers were fined last year while on the multi-use pathway. Dogs on leash are only allowed in Aylmer in the southern portion of Allen Park, undeveloped portion of Victor-Beaudry Park, Écologique Park, undeveloped portion of Jardins-Lavigne Park, Queen’s Park park and the northern portion of the park at the Paul-Pelletier municipal pool.
Sidewalks are few and far between around the Vanier Road and Allumettières Boulevard intersection, where there’s considerable commercial development. “Adding sidewalks in that area is far from being a city priority. There are so many other priorities the city must deal with,” responded Richard Bégin, Deschênes Councillor. “I don’t see why this should be an immediate concern especially with all the studies looking at traffic and public transit in the western part of the city. These will likely have an impact [on the street layout],” he continued.
The North Aylmer mother believes adding sidewalks should be a priority for all North Aylmer residents. “It’s for all the people who live here and walk with strollers, walk their dog, walk to the grocery store or to a coffee shop, or walk to school, which is healthy for children,” she told The Bulletin.
The city is planning sidewalks along the uneven McConnell Road next summer, but only between Vanier Road and Allen Road. Walking along McConnell Road is permitted now. According to the Highway Safety Code, where there is no sidewalk on a roadway, a pedestrian must walk along the side of the roadway and in the direction opposite to that of traffic, after ascertaining that he can do so in safety.
Going north to use Pink Road is also not a viable option and an all-season path cutting across the partially privately owned Boucher Forest is unlikely. “I have a hard time seeing how we could invest in building a path north of Allumettières Boulevard when we have a hard time finding funds to preserve Boucher forest,” added Bégin.
Taking the bus is also disenchanting. To travel the 5 km between the Jardins Lavigne neighbourhood and the commercial development on Vanier Road would take 30 minutes by bus instead of 8 minutes by vehicle. The transit-user first takes a bus to Rivermead Station before taking a second bus that would go up Rivermead Road, go east on McConnell Road and then north on Vanier Road.
As Councillor Bégin said, new sidewalks in North Aylmer are unlikely because the city has already set out its priorities for coming years. “There are three major construction projects coming in my ward: McConnell Road, Vanier Road, between Boulevard Lucerne and the Ottawa River, and Boulevard Lucerne between Vanier Road and Champlain Bridge,” said Bégin. “Now, if local businesses are ready to pay for the sidewalks, that would be great.”