Lansdowne Traffic Survey results and recommended traffic changes
By Brian Mitchell
Glebe residents spoke up en masse through last month’s Lansdowne Traffic Survey: they want changes to the Glebe Traffic Plan to mitigate the day-to-day impact of Lansdowne and they want these changes implemented before Lansdowne reopens next year.
The response rate to the survey conducted in February by the Glebe Community Association (GCA) was 10 per cent of all Glebe households and over 30 per cent of the GCA’s 1,800-strong email list. In areas where a change is supported, over 70 per cent want that change implemented before Lansdowne opens.
Using the survey results and other feedback the GCA has received, including the December 2012 workshop for Lansdowne-area residents, the GCA’s Traffic Committee has prepared a report recommending 45 measures that the city of Ottawa (or the National Capital Commission in some cases) should implement before Lansdowne opens.
MINIMIZE CARS ACCESSING LANSDOWNE FROM RESIDENTIAL STREETS
Among the most important recommendations are those that will discourage drivers from using residential streets to access Lansdowne. A leading proposal is that the city provide free OC Transpo bus service on Bank Street from Wellington to Billings Bridge during peak times for the Lansdowne mall and cinema. Another “spread the traffic burden” recommendation is for the city to proceed with building a pedestrian/cycling bridge over the canal at Fifth Avenue.
It is also recommended that the city direct cars heading to Lansdowne to use only arterial roads, particularly the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. And to discourage non-local traffic from using residential streets in search of free parking, it is recommended that Lansdowne retailers and the cinema provide free validated parking for their customers.
PROMOTE SAFE CYCLING THROUGH THE GLEBE AND TO LANSDOWNE
Another way to reduce the number of cars entering the Glebe is to convert some of those cars to bicycles. Based on the survey results, other community input and the need to integrate with city-wide cycling plans, the GCA recommends that the primary cycling route be Percy/Craig (north/south) and Holmwood (east/west). The GCA recommends that parking be removed from those street segments. Although most residents are reluctant to give up parking on their own block, the survey demonstrates that in principle, most Glebe residents (72 per cent of survey respondents) are willing to give up some parking to accommodate bicycle lanes.
MAKE CHANGES TO HOLMWOOD AVENUE
Driver behaviours that pose major concerns are cutting through; seeking parking; and picking up or dropping off on Holmwood and O’Connor, a spot that is the front line to Lansdowne. The GCA is proposing closure of Holmwood at, or just east of, Bank Street (bicycles and emergency vehicles excepted). In the survey, over 60 per cent of residents in the area affected by such a change (including Fifth and Adelaide) support some closure of Holmwood, either at Bank or between Bank and Adelaide. With such a closure, Holmwood from Bank to Adelaide would become two-way and parking would be removed.
Another significant proposed measure is the removal of parking on Holmwood between Craig and Monk. During the December workshop and through survey comments, many residents of that street expressed concern that Holmwood, one of the narrowest streets in the Glebe, cannot accommodate both two-way traffic and parking. One proposal mentioned in the survey that addresses this concern is to convert this part of Holmwood to one-way (westbound). This suggestion did not receive sufficient support from residents in the affected area. However, removal of parking on this section of Holmwood addresses the narrowness of the street and provides a safe cycling route through the Glebe and to Lansdowne.
PRESERVE PARKING FOR GLEBE RESIDENTS
A key measure supported by 75 per cent of residents within a three-block radius of Lansdowne is to implement a Guest Permit Parking zone, a city program which allows residents to purchase five guest permit parking passes (currently $23.50/year) for short-stay visitors who could then park up to three hours, even if the street is signed for shorter parking. A door-to-door survey of area residents is currently underway to determine what restrictions to on-street parking policies should accompany a Guest Permit Parking zone.
Glebe residents are encouraged to review the full report of recommended changes to the Glebe Traffic Plan on the GCA web site at www.glebeca.ca. Residents should submit any comments on the proposed measures to firstname.lastname@example.org (or via the GCA mail box at the Glebe Community Centre) by March 23.
On March 26, the GCA Board will vote on the proposed measures and those adopted will be presented to the city on March 28 via its Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee. The city is then expected to undertake its own review and consultation process to determine which, if any, of the proposed measures it will implement. Given the community’s clear voice that some traffic mitigation measures are needed before Lansdowne opens, let’s hope the city responds positively.
Brian Mitchell is chair of the Glebe Community Association Traffic Committee.