El-Chantiry responds to Citizen columnist on WC roundabout

(Editor’s note: On Sept. 15 Citizen Columnist Randall Denley wrote a piece on West Carleton’s roads and the Richardson Side Road roundabout now under construction. You can read his column here. Coun. El-Chantiry has replied to that column and shared his response with West Carleton Online. You can read it below.)

To the Editor,

Re: Roundabout thinking on roundabouts from Ottawa city planners, Sept. 15

A new roundabout is being constructed at Huntmar Drive and Richardson Side Road and it is located in my ward. Randall Denley did not reach out to me for my perspective on the project.

The City of Ottawa has been constructing roundabouts in all parts of the city since the mid-2000s. There are approximately 45 in operation. They are being built as part of new developments, new and existing road reconstruction projects and in lieu of installing new traffic control signals (which come with costly repair bills when damaged due to traffic accidents).

A functional design study was completed in 2014 to review the feasibility of a traffic signal versus a roundabout at the Huntmar Drive and Richardson Side Road intersection. Both options were found to be viable. The preliminary estimated cost for both options was similar, with the traffic signal option estimated at $100,000 more than a roundabout. Information on the options was presented to the community for feedback, and there was interest to proceed with the roundabout design.

The costing to construct the roundabout is funded by a combination of development charges and taxpayer funding. Denley suggests a better use of the $3.3 million would be to utilize these funds to repair other roads throughout the ward.

The development charges earmarked for the roundabout cannot be used in this manner. Developers building in the area of Huntmar Drive and Richardson Side Road are required to provide development charges, which are then used to implement traffic management measures in the communities in which they are building. It’s not an option for me as the ward councillor to collect the development charges, then use them elsewhere.

Huntmar Drive and Richardson Side Road were identified as local cycling routes under the city’s cycling plan. With the proposed modifications, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to safely cross the roadway at the pedestrian crossovers (PXOs). Additionally, there are several other roundabouts along the Huntmar Drive corridor with PXOs.

The 2020 city budget allocated approximately $7 million to West Carleton-March for road renewals (resurfacing, preservation, rural road upgrades). More needs to be done to repair our roads, but at what cost and who is paying for it? We need to work within the budget we are given.

Eli El-Chantiry,
Ottawa councillor,
West Carleton-March, Ward 5.