On the Sunday of Thanksgiving Weekend we took the family up to the Gatineau Hills to sight-see the fall colours. We also wanted to check out Kingsmere, the estate of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie-King.
The trip itself was great. Beautiful scenery; nice weather; well-groomed walking trails. This is a real treasure in the Ottawa-area.
The problem was the getting to and coming home from Quebec. Not Quebec itself mind you, but the roads in Ottawa to get there.
The quickest way to get to the Gatineau Hills is via Autoroute 5 in Quebec. The quickest way to get to Autoroute 5 in Ottawa is via a jungle of one-way or high traffic streets in downtown. What a mess!
Heading north, we exited the 417 at Nicholas and headed north. Merge right, veer right, turn right on to Rideau Street. Shift to the left lane, turn left on to King Edward. North on King Edward and whew, we made it to the A-5. Doesn’t sound like much. In fact we are talking about 2km of a jog between Nicholas and King Edward. It took 22 minutes of stop and go traffic on a Sunday. I would hate to see how long it would take during rush hour.
The return trip was just as bad. Poor signage led us to exit King Edward just after crossing back into Ontario, on to Sussex Drive. Another long fishtail through downtown Ottawa.
This road connection should not be a problem. When the Inter-Provincial bridge was constructed, the plan was to connect the A-5 to Vanier Parkway, crossing the Rideau River and going through (decimating) New Edinburgh Park. Bridge piers are still in place from this project, which was cancelled. Now years later, the talk is to build a multi-billion dollar tunnel in connecting the A-5 as it enters Ontario, with the 417. What a stupid idea. Build a bridge and complete the original plan. It is the easiest way to direct traffic from the A-5 to the 417. It will help remove congestion from downtown Ottawa. It will also take less time than a tunnel.
Just get it done Ottawa, build a bridge.