Traffic and transport in the west end of Gatineau
Over the past little while in the Aylmer sector, in the morning, there has been a noticeable increase in congestion in the direction of the Champlain Bridge, especially on Aylmer Road. There has been a suggestion that we should reduce the number of car passengers allowed from three to two in the right hand lane, the one reserved for public transport. Is that really a solution?
In the 1970s in order to resolve traffic problems, Aylmer Road was changed from a two lane to a four lane road. More recently des Allumettières Boulevard was also built with four lanes. But they also certainly did decongest traffic temporarily. These measure also contributed to an accelerated and unplanned expansion in the west end of Gatineau. The result is that the problem persists and may even increase if we don’t change our way of doing things.
First of all, at an urban and ecological level, a sustainable solution to the traffic problems must look to public transport and active transportation. Therefore, the option of two rider car-pooling in the reserved lane is not a solution. Reducing the number of riders would increase cars in those lanes, increase traffic, be detrimental to public transport and bring more pollution.
Furthermore public transport in the west end must be improved. In the program of the city council, councillors made a commitment to prepare implementation of a rapid public transport network in our sector. At the present time a study is being carried out on the issue, which will also look at the technology to be chosen. Coordination of the public transport network in the west end with that of Ottawa, by using, for example, the Prince of Wales Bridge will be inevitable. Since our neighbour is already investing in travel by light rail, there is also a need for us to consider seriously electric public transport and rail.
Finally, in the short term two solutions can be foreseen. The first would be the extension of bus route 59 to downtown Aylmer. The second would be the possibility of having three lanes in one direction in the morning and in the other direction in the evening on the part of Aylmer Road between the Samuel-de-Champlain Parkway and at least the DoubleTree Hotel (Château Cartier). This option would have the advantage of allowing people going to the Hull sector to continue on their way instead of having to wait in line near the Champlain Bridge.
Taking into account the fact that the land use planning and development scheme of the city and the municipal council have made sustainable mobility a priority, it is to be hoped that our downtown areas or village centres will become more dynamic, that residential construction will be concentrated increasingly near roads best served by public transport and that the recommendations of the Société de transport de l’Outaouais study, which will be presented by the summer, will improve traffic and our quality of life.
Richard M. Bégin
Municipal Councillor for Deschênes