Glebe residents, the Glebe Community Association and the Lansdowne Traffic Advisory Committee have been expending a great deal of effort over the past months to identify and suggest solutions to current and future traffic issues in the Glebe.
Glebe traffic issues
By Brian Mitchell
On December 9, the City of Ottawa is scheduled to present its Traffic Monitoring Plan for Lansdowne at a public meeting at St. Giles Church (7 to 8:30 p.m.). The monitoring of streets around Lansdowne will include a semi-annual comparison of traffic volumes and parking usage on these streets with baseline traffic volumes (as measured in 2010 and 2012). If there is, as most Glebe residents expect, a significant increase in traffic or parking usage, the City may consider implementing some of the traffic plan adjustments recommended by the Glebe Community Association (GCA) following the community consultation it conducted earlier this year.
The Monitoring Plan is one of the few substantive developments of the Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee (LTAC) process initiated by the City 18 months ago. Thus far, the City has approved only two of the priority traffic and transportation recommendations submitted by the GCA last March to help ensure Lansdowne will work effectively for residents and the Lansdowne operators alike: (1) signage to direct some traffic onto the Queen Elizabeth Driveway as a preferred route to Lansdowne; and (2) a no-stopping zone on the south side of Holmwood east of Bank, and on the east side of O’Connor between Holmwood and Fifth.
SECOND AVENUE PARKING GARAGE
This coming spring, the City will begin construction of a four-level parking garage on the site of the existing parking lot between Second and Third avenues. Construction should be completed sometime next fall. The City is proceeding with the “curve” option for the garage, the designs for which can be found at http://ottawa.ca/sites/ottawa.ca/files/glebe_parking_3.pdf.
Following an October 22 meeting, representatives from the GCA, the Glebe Business Improvement Area (BIA) and Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG) met to discuss possible community uses of the parking garage during times when it is not heavily used for parking. The City has agreed in principle to this concept and where feasible, is willing to make adjustments to the detail design so that on occasion, on the Third Avenue side, the ground level of the garage could be blocked off from cars and used for special events. A number of interesting ideas for events came up during the brainstorming, including an antique car show, a flower market, music performances, and of course the iconic “Great Glebe Garage sale.” A number of modest design requests have been submitted to City staff, and it’s expected that most will be included in the final design so that the venue can be more than “just a parking garage.”
ELGIN STREET EXTENSION CLOSURE
The City is proceeding with its planned permanent closure of the Elgin Street extension from Isabella Street to Pretoria Avenue. Once closed, southbound cars wishing to access Pretoria from Elgin will have to first turn right onto the QED and then right onto Pretoria. Next spring, the old roadbed will be landscaped but the sidewalk will be retained and a southbound bike lane will be constructed. A sidewalk to connect pedestrians crossing the Pretoria Bridge with the TD Canada Trust/LCBO/Loblaws site will also be installed.
Brian Mitchell is chair of the Glebe Community Association (GCA) Traffic Committee.
Buses on residential streets in the Glebe
By Claire Gaddam
Buses will soon be running on Lakeside Avenue as part of the transportation plan for the redeveloped Lansdowne. This plan has not been formally introduced to the residents of Lakeside Avenue. Residents have discovered this information on their own. Lakeside Avenue runs between Bronson and the Queen Elizabeth Driveway, with a number of elderly residents and children living on the street. It is also a main route for cyclists moving to and from the bike paths along Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Commissioners Park. The transportation plan was proposed by consultants McCormick Rankin Corporation and did not involve consultation with residents. The mayor and city councillors approved the plan, again without advising the residents of Lakeside Avenue. The Glebe Community Association (GCA), upon review of the report, proposed an alternate solution to the City, which is to move the shuttle buses originating at satellite parking sites (a.k.a. OC Transpo buses) north along Bronson, west on Carling, and east on QED as these are arterial routes designed for such traffic. However, the City disregarded both this proposal and the traffic calming measures in place on Lakeside. In fact, one of the existing traffic calming measures is scheduled to be altered to accommodate the transportation plan for the redeveloped Lansdowne.
Initially, the threshold for employing the shuttle bus system was events of 25,000 to 40,000 attendees. This number has been dropped so that the shuttle buses will be engaged for events with an anticipated attendance as low as 15,000. The residents of Lakeside Avenue were advised that they should anticipate that approximately 20 events during the good weather will meet this threshold. More specifically, the shuttle buses are scheduled to run for two hours prior to an event and two hours following it. This will have a significant impact on the residents of Lakeside Avenue and, again, not once were the residents advised officially by anyone from the City that this would be the situation.
We need to stop this. It could well be the beginning of opening up residential streets in the Glebe and Old Ottawa South to buses without any consultation or input from the homeowners. Please join in stopping this travesty before it is too late. Contact Mayor Jim Watson and our Councillor, David Chernushenko and let them know how you feel about buses on your residential
Claire Gaddam, a resident, has submitted this article on behalf of the residents of Lakeside Avenue.
Editor’s Note – Pursuant to a Letter of Intent between the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the City of Ottawa signed in June of 2010, a three-year pilot project involving special event shuttle buses is due to kick off with the “first planned full stadium event at Lansdowne.” Although it is reported that the final details of guidelines in the Transportation Demand Management Plan are still being negotiated, there appears to be an unexpected change in the plan that calls for shuttle buses in the first year of the pilot project to make exclusive use of Lakeside Avenue to access the QED and Lansdowne, rather than using arterials or alternate routes. As noted in the article, north along Bronson, west on Carling and east at Preston to the QED at Dow’s Lake is the arterial route that the GCA has advocated with the City (unsuccessfully to date). That route is also its clear preference over the City’s plan for a second transportation route – Sunnyside, Bank Street, Fifth Avenue – for 50 per cent of the time. Notwithstanding exceptional circumstances, the GCA’s position has been that the shuttle buses do not belong on residential streets.