Posted by: Winnie Pietrykowski
The Old Ottawa South Traffic Survey was initiated in response to traffic management issues raised at the Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee (LTAC), chaired by Councilor David Chernushenko. The Survey acts as a bridge between two official City Studies, one completed in 2012 West of Bank Street, the other initiated in May 2013 East of Bank encompassing Riverdale Avenue & Area, including Sunnyside Avenue East of Bank (results expected late 2013 or early 2014).
Recommendations from the OOS Traffic Survey were endorsed by OSCA September 17th and circulated to LTAC on September 26th. On October 1st, a representative from OSCA met with City traffic specialists to begin more detailed talks. Not all the recommendations are within the mandate of the City, some fall under the province’s Highway Traffic Act, and others must meet existing standards or warrants (official justification determined by volume and/or location for example).
What the results from the Traffic Survey allow OSCA to do is to speak to the issues raised by individuals who live and work in OOS. Over 626 people responded to the Survey, and another 283 took the time to provide written comments. As a result the recommendations are broad and cover a variety of aspects of traffic in our neighbourhood. Priorities must be developed and in the case of the Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee, Survey results will contribute to the Committee’s recommendations as well as the Lansdowne Transportation Monitoring Plan (currently in draft form).
For a full view of the Survey results please see https://www.oldottawasouth.ca/documents/oos-traffic-survey-2013-results.pdf
Please note that Question #12 was disqualified.
Address Safety, Traffic Flow & Calming Measures at all key intersections along Bank: Aylmer, Sunnyside, Belmont, Cameron and Riverdale. These include:
- Ensure crossing signal & pedestrian countdown are automatically activated when light turns green & not dependent on push button
- Accelerate pedestrian push button response time at Aylmer & Belmont
- Allow for longer walk signal at Cameron
- Provide ladder crosswalks at Aylmer & Riverdale
- Review existing “School Zone” & “Playground Ahead” signage at entrances to OOS expanding their use & placement, emphasizing the high population of children in the neighbourhood
- Install additional signage/warning before Bank Street Bridge for SB traffic to indicate crosswalks ahead (Aylmer crosswalk is blind to SB traffic)
- Employ crossing guards at Belmont for school children morning & afternoon
The following suggestion needs further exploration:
- All intersections in OOS should be 4- or 3-way stops. This simple, repetitive measure might improve driver behavioural patterns.
Particular attention needs to be paid to Bank & Sunnyside. It continues to be one of the most dangerous and congested intersections in OOS. Comments to the Survey suggest that this intersection requires immediate attention and that some of the proposals included in the Survey required expansion. Proposals below include suggestions from the Survey and those made in the comments section:
- Install a camera to identify red light offenders
- Increase policing/enforcement (in particular, police bike patrols)
- Extend working hours of crossing guards by 15-30 minutes
- Green left- & right-turn arrow signals need to be utilized to regulate flow of traffic in all directions, i.e. activate an automatic vehicle right/left turn signal after automatic pedestrian crossing signal for N, S, E, and WB traffic (push buttons do not appear to be very effective at the Sunnyside & Bank intersection; bulb-out causes traffic congestion & invites risky driver behaviour, advanced turning signal SB is not enough)
- Adapt this same system of left- and right-turn arrow signals (after pedestrian crossing signal) to Aylmer & Bank intersection to reduce negative impact of by-passing via Aylmer
Sunnyside Avenue (East of Bank) has many challenges for pedestrians and cyclists. Some of the measures needed to improve safety & security are inexpensive & can easily be integrated into ongoing traffic management programs. Others require further deliberation. We recommend that the following be addressed in 2013 – 2014:
Proposals include suggestions for improving pedestrian safety at Riverdale & Sunnyside since both are main collector routes to Bank. They are as follows:
- Allow for a safe drop-off & pick-up zone along Willard at peak periods for program activities at Firehall and proposed daycare facility, thereby discouraging “standing” on Sunnyside (to date only one designated 5-minute parking space exists in front of the Firehall for this type of parking)
- Improve visibility at Willard, Fairbairn & Bellwood by better enforcement of existing bylaw that prohibits parking within 9m from corners at Sunnyside
- Improve visibility at Sunnyside & Bellwood for NB traffic by increasing 9 m parking prohibition to 18 m at SW corner
- Provide ladder crosswalks at Sunnyside & Cameron on Riverdale Avenue
- Install & increase “School Zone” and “Playground Ahead” signage the length of Riverdale in both directions emphasizing the high population of children in the neighbourhood (see Recommendation #1)
- Green left- & right-turn arrow signals (after pedestrian walk signals) need to be utilized at Riverdale & Sunnyside to better regulate flow of traffic W & EB
- Employ crossing guards at Sunnyside & Riverdale during the school year in the morning & afternoon
- Improve visibility of Stop signs at Cameron on Riverdale; this much-used intersection is dangerous (e.g., larger Stop signs, flashing red lights)
The following are three suggestions that need more exploration:
- Add a ladder crosswalk with signage closer to the OOS Firehall to reduce the volume of pedestrians crossing at Sunnyside & Bank
- Residents living on Sunnyside need more crossing options; it is counter-intuitive to walk to Bank or Riverdale to cross at the lights; further exploration necessary
- Explore options to improve pedestrian safety on sloping sidewalk on the N side of Sunnyside; this sidewalk is too narrow, too close to vehicle traffic & in bad weather, dangerous to use
Recommendation # 4
Initiate an OOS Traffic-Flow Study to better understand the flow of traffic at peak periods entering & exiting OOS.
A recurring theme that surfaced at the two public meetings prior to the release of the Survey & comments to Question 26 of the Survey itself is that “traffic flow” is spilling into neighbourhood residential streets from arterial & collector routes, and that some collector routes are experiencing increased traffic because the arterial routes are not functioning as designated. A traffic-flow study would help residents understand how traffic is moving in and out of OOS and what measures might be available to control its impact on the community as a whole.
For example, a significant number of respondents expressed their dissatisfaction with the limited number of options for Aylmer & Bank, the closest intersection in OOS to Lansdowne. Aylmer is currently experiencing an increased amount of through-traffic to Bronson and calming measures are needed before Lansdowne opens. The Aylmer intersection at Bank also experiences heavy pedestrian traffic by school children and residents of all ages. It is situated in front of the South Branch Public Library and Southminster Church out of which several community and school programs operate.
Recommendation #5 –Safe Cycling in OOS
Many of the written comments spoke to the safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists at the Bank Street Bridge and Billings Bridge. Over 80% of respondents want to pursue further options to make Billings Bridge more cyclist friendly, despite numerous earlier studies. Over 85% of OOS residents support improved cycling signage and painted cycling lanes and over 66% are willing to give up some parking to ensure better connectivity of designated cyclist routes. With this kind of community response, the following recommendations suggest immediate action:
- Initiate a planning process to identify safe cycling routes in OOS
- Emphasize connections to Colonel By & Queen Elizabeth Way, Riverside Pkwy & Main Street
- Install larger “share the road” signage at both bridges into OOS
- Clearly identify with painted cycle lanes the anticipated traffic flow of cyclists to and from bridges (as well as on the bridges) since both are key entry points into OOS, providing adequate advance warning (at least one block both ways)
- Extend the painted “sharrow” cycle lanes south from Billings Bridge along Bank Street for one block, emphasizing this signage with brightly coloured boxes
Recommendation #6 – Parking
Over 87% of respondents anticipate parking problems once Lansdowne is completed.
Over 77% support creating an online application process for guest & resident on-street parking.
- Invest in measures to minimize parking issues, i.e. free or low-fee transit to Lansdowne, build the 5th Avenue-Clegg Street pedestrian/cyclist bridge over the Canal, provide shuttle service for main events, improve bus service, etc.
- Create an online application process for guest & on-street parking
Recommendation #7 — Education, Engineering & Enforcement
The City of Ottawa is committed (in order of priority) to making walking, cycling, transit use and automobile travel safer and more secure through education, engineering and enforcement.
- Design & develop landscaped entry points and decorative planting initiatives that visually indicate to drivers they are now entering and passing through a neighbourhood
- Initiate volunteer fundraising among local businesses and residents for “greening” initiatives
- Celebrate more events that promote pedestrian and cyclist priorities
- Partner with the City, develop strong relationships with local police force & policing centres, and create community-based educational programs in OOS that promote pedestrian and cyclist safety