15 minute ‘hoods: Billings Bridge offers hope despite the traffic

15 minute ‘hoods: Billings Bridge offers hope despite the traffic

This interview was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Ottawa Magazine as part of a series on neighbourhood planning entitled “15 Minutes to the Future”. Find more articles in this package here.

Claire Sales is a mother of two young children who enjoys life near Bank Street.  She says traffic makes active transportation difficult.

What do you like about your neighbourhood?
I love that we can walk to the grocery store and many other amenities. The neighbours are very friendly, and there’s a good, active community association. I also like that there is a park with a wading pool in the summer and skating rinks in the winter. It feels relatively safe. There is a nice walking path along Sawmill Creek and a community orchard at Heron Park. We like biking to Mooney’s Bay, Hog’s Back Falls, and even downtown. I also appreciate the cultural and socio-economic diversity. There are a few social housing buildings, seniors buildings, and a supportive housing building. I think it is important to live in diverse communities so we can support each other and build community together. As housing prices go up, I’m not sure how this will go, but I hope this will remain. 

Claire Sales has lived in the Billings Bridge area for nine years.

What do you dislike about your neighbourhood?
The main thing I dislike about the ’hood is the amount of traffic and the speed of cars on Bank Street and Heron Road. The traffic on Bank, combined with cars trying to get out of the parking them to get away from the road! Cars don’t seem to see the traffic light or the stop line at Bank and Randall, and cars will drive right through a red light. Kids and fast-moving traffic are not a good combination. We have had many close calls at that intersection. There could be a lot more businesses along Bank Street; there are a lot of ugly, unused parking lots. I know they are redoing that part of Bank and using the complete streets model, so I’m hoping it will be better when that happens. 

What changes would you like to see, short and long term?
I would like to see safe bike lanes on Bank, lower speed limits on Bank and Heron, safer parking lot exits, more businesses on Bank, and fewer parking lots.