Wednesday, April 08, 2009

adventures in capital commuting

For most Canadians, news of another protest in Ottawa is really no big deal. For the most part, I think we are sympathetic to protesters and are glad that we live in a country where peaceful protests are acceptable and are pretty much the norm. We think "oh, good for them for standing up for their cause."

What most Canadians might not realize is that Parliament "hill" is right smack in the midst of downtown Ottawa. This is really quite unfortunate for those of us who have to commute through or around the city centre. So the headline "Tamil protesters delay traffic for a second day near Parliament Hill" ACTUALLY means "Commuting? Have fun!" A huge percentage of bus routes get delayed and detoured, and people are pretty much stuck in the centre. While I'm sure the pubs love it, the average Ottawan (if that's what we're called) finds it a little annoying.

Luckily, my bus driver today was a rebel and when he got sick of traffic, he had everyone that wasn't getting off at the last stop (which is my stop) get off and walk and then found a crazy detour to the last stop. I was still delayed, but not as much as I could have been.

And just in case you're wondering, Obama still takes the prize for causing the worst commuting headache since I've been in Ottawa.

On a somewhat related note, I find it quite strange that pedestrians pretty much have free reign of road construction sites. My route home from the bus stop is once again (!!) under construction, but instead of re-routing pedestrian traffic, they just leave little paths through the construction zone and figure you will be careful. If the lights are out, a police officer directs traffic, but tells you just to walk on through...and to watch for flying concrete. If I manage to get through a second spring/summer without getting hit by debris, I'll consider myself lucky.

Please note- I absolutely support their right to protest. I just kind of wish it didn't bung up the city core so much.


Devo said...

I was also inconvenienced by the protest, but only today and not yesterday. I was walking home from the market and normally I would walk straight down wellington but I had to detour at elgin and walk down sparks. Okay, I realize that it wasn't actually an inconvenience since the distance I walked was the exact same. It did seem like a big deal since the paramedics had an ambulance bus parked in front of the Chateau Laurier, which I can only assume they bring out in case of multiple medical emergencies.

lu said...

that is one of the things i remember about ottawa - people just accepted the protesters and carried on with their days (well, apart from the commute interuptions) because they seemed to be a normal fixture in the city.

i am still trying to process the disruption in my normal commute the other day...

Evey said...

Protesters annoy me whether they delay my commute or not.