Barry Dickman could claim a small victory in one battle yesterday, but the war against eviction is still looming for 25 families on Roman Avenue.
Yesterday, Ottawa’s transit committee voted to exhaust all available options for a Transitway extension between Pinecrest Road and Bayshore Avenue before it considers expropriating 25 homes on Roman Avenue in order to complete the project.
One option is to take a lane off each side of the Queensway to make bus lanes, though city staff warned that the transportation ministry is already planning to expand the highway to eight car lanes of traffic.
Coun. Clive Doucet said the cost of destroying the neighbourhood outweighs the benefit they would receive from the new Transitway.
“We are talking about a 35-second advantage from $100 million in construction,” he said. “The solution is to paint some diamonds on a lane on the 417 and run some buses down it.”
Bay ward councillor Alex Cullen agreed using Highway 417 for a Transitway extension was the best option, but he’s skeptical the province would allow it. If the province refuses, the transit committee will vote to approve an environmental assessment of other routes from Pinecrest to Bayshore, including a route that could require the demolition of the 25 homes.
The city could end up buying the affected houses at market value from anyone hoping to move immediately.
Dickman was pleased his family had at least another month to organize their defence, but he was hopeful the province would surrender the 417 lanes to sidestep the expropriation option.
“There is a new movement now. Get out of cars and into buses. I hope the province will go along with it,” he said.
Four generations of the Dickman family live in three houses along the affected portion of the Roman Avenue. Barry, his son and grandchildren live on the south side and could potentially be evicted. His father has lived on the north side.
“When they shake up a family like this, it’s devastating,” he said.