Billings Bridge has long been a problem area for cyclists (and pedestrians too). People riding on the NCC pathway along Riverside Drive have to cross Bank Street at a very busy intersection at the south end of Billings Bridge.
The large volume of traffic crossing the bridge, including a good number of vehicles turning onto Riverside Drive, makes for a very chaotic and dangerous situation for cyclists at this intersection. In 2013 Meg Dussault was struck and killed here by a truck while cycling home from a tennis lesson.
To help make things safer, last spring the NCC and the City of Ottawa agreed to split the cost of building an underpass that would allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass under Bank Street. However, Metro News is now reporting that the NCC has failed to budget for its 50% of the project, and the future of the underpass is now uncertain.
Ironically, this news comes the day after the city removed the ghost bike for Meg Dussault that had been installed at this location. The city was acting according to its new policy of removing ghost bikes after six months. Many jurisdictions leave ghost bikes up for at least a year, so Ottawa’s six month policy always struck me as an effort to sweep ghost bikes under the rug as quickly as possible (as in “out of sight, out of mind”).
Given NCC’s failure to budget for the necessary money to build the underpass, maintaining a ghost bike at this location is now needed more than ever.Share this with others: