Transit strike causes traffic gridlock in Ottawa
Published Thursday, December 11, 2008 5:08PM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 9:42PM EDT
Ottawa residents are expressing their frustration as traffic continues to clog roads on day two of a public transit strike.
"It took me two-and-a-half hours in a car from Orleans," said one frustrated motorist, who stayed home Wednesday to avoid heavy traffic.
After battling morning rush hour, many people told CTV Ottawa they chose to leave work early to get a head-start on the drive home.
OC Transpo workers continued to picket a number of city buildings, delaying city employees for as much as 45 minutes Thursday morning. Ottawa police forced one angry commuter out of his vehicle after he tried to drive through the picket line. No charges were laid.
- Watch EXTENDED COVERAGE of the incident
Although bus lanes on most Ottawa streets were open to traffic, police are reminding motorists bus lanes on the Queensway remain closed.
With all the extra vehicles on the road, city official are asking the public to be patient and find ways to commute with others, in hopes of easing traffic congestion Friday morning.
"We're just asking people to take their time and be careful. I mean there's going to be delays, just not to rush and you'll get to where you're going -- just plan to leave a little earlier and plan to get to where you're going a little later," said Phil Landry, a traffic engineer with the City of Ottawa.
Union officials who were asked to comment on the frustration told CTV Ottawa they would no longer be speaking to the media.
Downtown parking lots full
Aside from gridlock on roadways, parking lots in the downtown core also couldn't handle an increase in traffic.
"Apparently the lot is full and I can't back out so we're all stuck," one motorist told CTV Ottawa.
"None of the lots around here are open, they're all full."
"It's been hard to find a spot anywhere. I've been circling around for half an hour or so," said another driver.
Parking rates jump
Meanwhile, motorists who were able to find parking spots on Thursday told CTV Ottawa parking rates have jumped since OC Transpo went on strike.
"They've gone up, their early bird specials are over," said one commuter.
Both sides have dug their heels in since the Amalgamated Transit Union rejected the city's final offer on Monday. No new talks are planned.
According to the union, the main sticking points in the negotiations are scheduling and sick leave.
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union have been without a contract since April and voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action last week.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee