Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA)
Traffic and Safety Committee
Presentation to City of Ottawa Transportation Committee
April 20, 2015
Let me begin by saying that the Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA) appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the Lansdowne Management Operations Committee (LTMOC). We have found it beneficial to community interests to work with LTMOC and City traffic specialists in a consistent and continuous manner.
Location of OOS
The Rideau Canal separates Old Ottawa South (OOS) from Lansdowne but OOS is as close to Lansdowne on the south side as Holmwood Avenue is on the north side. Our buffer is the Canal. Sunnyside Avenue, the second intersection south of the canal, is one of the main arterial routes used to transport patrons from Carleton University to Bank and a direct link between Bronson and Bank. Large event parking requirements and restrictions together with extra bus shuttle services have a direct impact on our local businesses and residents. As the retail side of Lansdowne gains in momentum, however, OOS is primarily concerned with day-to-day pedestrian and cycling safety.
Some notable results of our work with our Councilor David Chernushenko, City officials and LTMOC include: an advanced pedestrian signal at Bank & Sunnyside, a “dazzle” of zebra stripes at intersections from Aylmer to Riverdale on Bank, and a new system of sharrows for cyclists travelling on the Bank Street Bridge.
Some problem areas, however, continue to be a “drag” on our moving forward:
- Of particular concern is the Bank Street Bridge. We support the latest proposed safety measures for cyclists and will continue to press for future improvements.
- Pedestrian safety at Aylmer & Bank, the first intersection directly south of Lansdowne is a serious concern as are the walking routes for school children and after-four programs at peak traffic periods along Sunnyside Avenue, east and west of Bank.
- The automatic east-west pedestrian signal agreed to by City officials in early March from Glebe Avenue to Riverdale (at Billings Bridge) has not been implemented. To date no alternative has been proposed between Aylmer & Riverdale.
The Process and the Budget (or lack thereof)
Managing traffic is a slow methodical process. It involves provincial and municipal standards, regulatory by-laws and sophisticated data collection. It also requires resources. In March 2014 community representatives learned from the City Transportation Committee that no budget had been earmarked or allocated to address community traffic concerns in response to the re-development of Lansdowne. As a result only those recommendations easily tucked into the annual traffic budget have been considered.
In 2014 a campaign promise was made to increase funding for improved pedestrian & cyclist safety and better bylaw enforcement. Included in that promise was an increase to the Safer Roads Program from 75K to 500K. To date, our communities have not felt the anticipated benefit of these increases.
It is clear that increased traffic is having an impact in OOS and residents are calling for action that might reduce speed, address hotspots, and improve safety features for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. At the very minimum resources need to be identified for measures within our purview, for example funds for proactive and consistent bylaw enforcement targeting hotspots where regulations already exist.
The challenge facing community representatives in 2015 will be the day-to-day impact of a fully active Lansdowne as its remaining retail, commercial and residential components open for business. In the case of OOS, Lansdowne’s monitoring oversight includes only the fringes of OOS, primarily the intersections at Aylmer and Sunnyside. Its impact, however, is much broader.
The following are recommendations that we believe are of mutual value and benefit to all the players at LTMOC:
- Continue proactive measures to promote and monitor the use of public transit to and from Lansdowne (explore more incentives)
- Undertake a complete safety audit of the traffic issues at Bank Street Bridge including the intersections at Bank and Wilton, Echo and Aylmer
- Install a safe crossing at Queen Elizabeth Driveway & Wilton leading up to Bank
- Reduce illegal left turns at Bank by installing better signage on Colonel By Drive indicating right turn (south) only on Bank
- Accelerate the construction of the pedestrian/cyclist bridge at Clegg & Fifth
- Ensure that all shuttle buses for major events at Lansdowne use arterial roads and avoid residential streets such as Lakeside
- The City needs to be more transparent and proactive about its plans to link the new rapid transit system to Lansdowne (expansion of the Trillium line is one opportunity, future shuttle services to and fro is another, not the widening of arterial routes to allow for more vehicles to head for an already congested inner downtown core)
- Increased resources (human & financial) to implement targeted enforcement of key traffic regulations and to implement some of the oversight and studies required to make OOS and its neighbouring communities safe for pedestrians and cyclists