Lansdowne, one year on

Lansdowne impact survey: we’re using and learning but fixes are needed
By Brian Mitchell

When it comes to Lansdowne, Glebe residents have no shortage of things to say. That was demonstrated again in October when the GCA conducted a survey to gauge feedback on the impact of Lansdowne now that it has been open for over a year, particularly from a traffic perspective. Participation in the survey, undertaken jointly with the Old Ottawa South Community Association, was impressive, with over a thousand respondents, 51 per cent of whom reside in the Glebe or Dow’s Lake. Some 90 per cent of streets in our community had at least one respondent and 80 per cent of the streets near Lansdowne had five or more households providing feedback, including many from the new townhomes and condos on Holmwood.

Minimal traffic impact for those not living near Lansdowne

Apart from those living within the “Lansdowne sector” (bounded by Ralph, Fifth and the Canal), survey respondents from the Glebe described the traffic impact of Lansdowne as “workable.” Over 75 per cent reported the traffic and parking impact of Lansdowne on their street as a result of day-to-day activities at Lansdowne as minimal, and two thirds indicated that even the traffic and parking generated by Redblacks games was “manageable.”

And Bank Street congestion due to Lansdowne appears to be less of a problem than first anticipated as only 40 per cent of Glebe respondents to the survey described it as a “major inconvenience.” Several commented that Bank Street has always been bad, so it’s hard to say it’s any worse, while others observed that the detour onto Bank due to Main Street construction was contributing as much if not more traffic to Bank than Lansdowne.


Getting Lansdowne patrons onto the bus

That is not to say there aren’t problems or improvements needed. The survey results reveal strong support for additional measures to increase use of public transit as the primary means for accessing Lansdowne from afar. Over 85 per cent endorsed an earlier GCA recommendation for a no-fare zone (a technique used in many North American cities to encourage transit use within the city core) on Bank Street from Wellington to Billings Bridge during weekends and possibly some evenings. Many, though, felt the cost (thought to be modest) of such an initiative should be borne by the businesses through OSEG or the BIA. As well, 67 per cent of survey respondents indicated support for a link between Lansdowne and the light rail system when it opens in 2018, such as a shuttle service from the Carleton or Carling O-Train stations. Many also commented that more should be done to encourage transit use by Lansdowne event-goers (including smaller events such as Fury and 67s games), many of whom still seem unaware that their event ticket includes free use of OC Transpo before and after the game.

Walking and cycling in Lansdowne needs to be safer

Pedestrian and cycling concerns were also notable in the survey results. Almost half of respondents felt that further improvements are needed within the Lansdowne site to prevent conflicts between cars and pedestrians, perhaps by installing green barriers (e.g. planters) rather than more lines and signs. Several recommended converting most of Lansdowne to a car-free pedestrian zone. And the Bank Street Bridge featured prominently in survey responses as an unresolved issue due to its narrow sidewalks, driver speed, and challenges with the un-signaled intersection at Wilton, which together make for an uncomfortable and unsafe experience for pedestrians and cyclists alike. Many advocated reducing the bridge to three lanes to allow for wider sidewalks and cycling lanes.

Major parking woes for those living near Lansdowne

The greatest challenge with Lansdowne traffic, based on survey results, is that experienced by those living in the immediate vicinity of the development. Over 54 per cent find the traffic impact and 73 per cent find the parking impact of Lansdowne on their street to be a “major inconvenience.” Most residents living near Lansdowne on the west side of Bank, it seems (over 78 per cent based on survey results), now want a reduction in parking duration (to one hour instead of three) together with guest permit parking, similar to that on Holmwood, Adelaide and O’Connor, next to Lansdowne. Finally, the City has agreed that some changes are warranted, so they have set up a working group of residents and GCA representatives to examine options and bring recommendations forward to affected residents. That working group will include representatives from the Glebe Centre and Abbotsford House to ensure their parking requirements for volunteers and visitors can also be accommodated.

The range of views expressed through the October survey was remarkably diverse, and there certainly is no one common Glebe opinion when it comes to Lansdowne, or on how to (or even if we need to) mitigate the impact of the traffic it generates. But the survey does reveal a community that is using and managing to live with the new Lansdowne, notwithstanding the sense that it is still a work in progress and there remain issues to work out, particularly within and in the immediate vicinity of the development.

A full summary of the Lansdowne Impact survey results and the City of Ottawa’s Lansdowne Traffic Monitoring data from October has been posted on the GCA website

Brian Mitchell is a member of the Glebe Community Association’s (GCA) Traffic Committee and represents the GCA on the Lansdowne Transportation Monitoring Operations Committee.


What the Glebe residents think of Lansdowne
By Ken Slemko

Spoiler: We like the park, shops and restaurants, but want less noise and more trees.

Glebe residents who filled out the Glebe Community Association survey on the impact of Lansdowne were, in general, positive about what they have found at the new Lansdowne and many are using it frequently. At the same time, a key irritant is noise, particularly for those living near the site, and a view was expressed that the concrete jungle could benefit from more greenery and trees.

   kengraph2 What you liked

While over a quarter of Glebe residents liked the park space at Lansdowne, many others also took advantage of the shops and restaurants. And, 15 per cent welcomed the return of the Farmer’s Market to Lansdowne.

Interestingly, Glebe respondents liked music and other events (e.g. CityFolk) more than sporting events. Even so, with the local enthusiasm for the Fury and Redblacks teams over the past few weeks, the sports events might have gained a few points if the survey were taken today.


What you would like to see more of

Many Glebe residents would like to see more and better stores at Lansdowne. And, when exiting those new stores, residents would also like to see more trees and plants. As one resident said, “How about the lack of trees or high end landscaping in this concrete maze of bars that is Lansdowne.”

A significant number stressed the need to improve the on-site traffic situation. One person noted, “It will be a disaster in the winter when the painted lines are not visible.”

 What are the biggest issues with Lansdowne?

Noise was the issue that the largest number of residents (21 per cent) cited as a problem at Lansdowne. And while a few saw the noise from events as an issue, many more complained about the noise coming from the restaurants and patios. As noted by one resident, “I find the loud noise coming from the restaurant patios annoying. It is noise pollution.”

A significant number of residents were concerned about the impact of Lansdowne on other businesses in the Glebe. Increased garbage and public mischief linked to people exiting the park after events or a night at the bars was also a problem, particularly for those living near the park.


Residents also raised concerns about the issues the Farmer’s Market is facing as it adapts to its relocation to the park. As one resident noted, “I am very concerned that the Farmers’ Market is being driven out.”

Glebe residents are big users of the park despite the issues that some saw with the new Lansdowne with over 70 per cent of those responding to the survey saying that they use Lansdowne either regularly or frequently.


Now if some of the issues like making the park more green, expanding the shopping, fixing the on-site traffic issues and toning down the noise coming from the bars and patios can be solved, more residents might agree with the comments from one respondent who said, “It’s vibrant and exciting. I really like the amenities. Good selection of restaurants and entertainment activities.” Let’s see what OSEG and the City can do to get us there.

 graph 4a

Ken Slemko is chair of the Glebe Community Association’s Lansdowne Committee.


Lansdowne traffic monitoring shows parking and traffic issues
By Brian Mitchell

Glebe residents may have felt spied upon in late October as the City installed temporary cameras near several intersections in the neighbourhood. The spying though was on traffic and parking as part of the City’s commitment to an “effective and sustained monitoring program” made when in 2012 City Council approved the Lansdowne redevelopment project.

Now that Lansdowne has been more or less fully operational for several months, this monitoring data should help reveal the actual traffic impact of Lansdowne within our community. The City examined traffic and parking data during a Redblacks game and also on a non-event day. It’s the latter that is of particular interest in assessing the traffic impact of Lansdowne during the 350+ days of the year when no major stadium event is taking place.


The City took measurements throughout the day on Thursday, October 29. The traffic volumes obtained that day are compared (in the graph above) with weekday measurements taken by the City in April, and also with those from 2010 (2009 for Wilton), before City Council’s initial approval of the Lansdowne redevelopment. The figures reveal a 30 per cent increase in northbound traffic on Bank since 2009/2010. However, it’s not clear how much of this is attributable to Lansdowne, particularly since a large portion of the additional traffic on Bank Street since April this year, a 16 per cent increase, is likely a result of the detour onto Bank Street of traffic from Main Street northbound, which began in May.

Also, when the October 2015 traffic volumes are compared to the projections made for the City in its 2010 traffic impact assessment of Lansdowne, the total volume of traffic at Bank and Wilton, Holmwood and Fifth is actually less by 3 to 13 per cent. Of some note and possible concern, however, is the significant increase in residential cross-street traffic, particularly on Fifth Avenue east of Bank Street, since the increases there are higher than those on Bank Street, up 32 per cent since 2009/2010 and up 25 per cent since April of this year.


The City also examined parking on that same October day on a sample of streets throughout the Glebe and all of the streets within the immediate vicinity of Lansdowne (east of Ralph, south of Fifth, inclusive). Parking was 71 per cent at 8 p.m. across the streets examined in the Glebe.

This is up significantly from 51 per cent in April and much higher than the 38 per cent baseline parking use found in the City’s June 2010 Lansdowne traffic impact assessment. But it’s still well below the 85 per cent level that is considered by the City as “practical capacity.” A different story plays out, however, on the streets within two or three blocks of Lansdowne where average occupancy in October was at capacity (85 per cent), and up sharply from 62 per cent in April. The City’s data shows that the parking situation is particularly acute on the streets near Lansdowne just west of Bank Street, especially on Melgund, Monk, Oakland, Thornton, Wilton and Woodlawn where parking was measured as 101 per cent (i.e. fully parked, including some illegally parked cars). Indeed, those six streets were also at 100 per cent occupancy at all other times of the day when measurements were taken (10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.).


While this monitoring data is useful, it will also be very important to understand the weekend day-to-day traffic and parking impact of Lansdowne. The City will be conducting monitoring for this purpose in December. Once available, that data will also be published on the Glebe Community Association website at

A full summary of the Lansdowne Impact survey results and the City of Ottawa’s Lansdowne Traffic Monitoring data from October has been posted on the GCA website

Brian Mitchell is a member of the Glebe Community Association’s (GCA) Traffic Committee and represents the GCA on the Lansdowne Transportation Monitoring Operations Committee.

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