Two years since a double-decker bus slammed into the overhang at Ottawa’s Westboro bus station there has been no action to remove the overhang. This is even though the City of Ottawa accepted civil liability for the crash. And even though the bus driver, Aissatou Diallo, was found not guilty of criminal charges laid against her by Ottawa police.
In a September 22, 2021 Ottawa Citizen article written by Professor Ahmed Shalaby, Municipal Infrastructure Research Chair at the University of Manitoba he wrote:
“An overhang is still in place, a testament to defiance or indifference. Is there a good reason for the overhang to remain despite mounting evidence of the risk? Surely this reason needs to be shared with city councillors and the public.”
In a September 23, 2021 Ottawa Citizen article the president of the Local 279 Amalgamated Transit Union was also quoted as saying:
“One thing I’d like to see immediately is that overhang removed at Westboro Station. It should have been removed immediately. It should be done now…”
The overhang was reportedly not even mentioned in a safety audit commissioned by Ottawa’s OC Transpo after the accident. That in itself is bazaar. Results like these raise large questions as to the motivations of officials involved in investigating the tragedy.
And a further review needs to be done to illuminate why Ottawa police laid criminal charges against the bus driver. Justice Matthew Webber stated that a misleading road marking led her directly into a snow-filled gutter. Did police not have that information? Did police not examine the overhang and recognize that it should not exist anywhere near the location where double-decker buses would be travelling? Was there some politics involved in the charges given that the City of Ottawa would likely be found at fault for the existence of the overhang and that Ottawa police receive their funding from the City of Ottawa?
The fact that the overhang continues to exist demonstrates how the presence of roadway safety problems continue to be ignored by officials whose duty should be to protect the public from those dangers.