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City of Ottawa to implement more ‘protected intersections’

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The City of Ottawa hopes drivers and other road users will get used to the layout of so-called “protected intersections” — such as the one at the corner of St. Laurent Boulevard and Donald Street — because it’s planning to build more of them.

Those intersections include features such as painted bicycle crossings, concrete corner islands to segregate cyclists and pedestrians from turning vehicles, and dedicated bicycle signals.

“The concept is based on a tested Dutch design that has been implemented throughout the United States and Canada,” the city’s acting director of traffic services, Krista Tanaka, wrote in an email to CBC.

There are currently seven protected intersections in Ottawa. Some of them have yet to be officially opened to cyclists.

Tanaka explained that each protected intersection is designed differently, based on its “context” and “the space available.”

Other protected intersections are in the works, and “designs continue to improve and evolve based on the city’s experience implementing these designs in the context of Ottawa’s streets, which include requirements for transit service and winter maintenance,” Tanaka wrote.

City to continue educating road users

Some cycling advocates agree that protected intersections are actually much safer than traditional ones. For example, the corner islands force drivers to make wider right-hand turns. It’s supposed to help them better see cyclists and pedestrians crossing the road.

Protected intersections include special pavement markings, such as green bicycle crossings. (Raphaël Tremblay/CBC)

But those intersections need to be properly designed and identified. Until flexible posts were added this week, drivers were using a segregated bike lane to make a turn at the St. Laurent and Donald intersection.

New infrastructure also means new habits for road users. Tanaka acknowledged that some drivers might be confused by the new protected intersections.

She wrote that the city will organize more “outreach activities” to educate road users about the changes, such as in schools and workplaces.

City needs to improve safety, councillor says

Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King told Ottawa Morning on Tuesday that he believes the city needs to do more to reduce the fatality risk for road users.

“I think that we need more investments in Vision Zero and I think we need to get there,” King said. “I’d like to see more segregated bicycle lanes throughout the city.”

He added that city officials need to be rational and that studies are required before launching new projects. King also wants residents to be consulted.

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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse

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Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa

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If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake

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The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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