Preparing to cope with Lansdowne traffic, part III – traffic flow and pedestrians
By Brian Mitchell
This is the third article by the Glebe Community Association’s Traffic Committee examining changes to the 2004 Glebe Traffic Plan that could mitigate the traffic impact of the redeveloped Lansdowne Park, particularly for day-to-day activities.
On December 12, several dozen Glebe residents living in the immediate vicinity of Lansdowne Park attended a workshop to discuss concerns associated with the traffic that the new Lansdowne will generate. A key concern expressed by many residents is how to maintain and enhance a pedestrian-centred neighbourhood despite an influx of more traffic – up to 50 per cent more by some estimates.
Concerns: How to keep Lansdowne traffic on arterial roads
A major concern raised at the workshop was the likely use of Fifth and Holmwood Avenues (which are not arterial roads) as the main routes to Lansdowne for shoppers, movie-goers and sports fans travelling via Bronson from the city’s south- and west- ends. Speeding on Fifth and Holmwood were also cited as a problem, as was congestion, particularly on Holmwood in the winter, when this two-way street has room for only a single lane of cars. Holmwood east of Bank and the south bit of O’Connor are also of concern, due to car drivers looking for parking (including possible drop-off activity for the cinema and shopping mall), but also due to traffic bypassing Bank to get to the Queensway for travel to the city’s east-end.
Another popular bypass route identified by residents is Monk, via Wilton and Fifth. Several residents on no-exit streets such as Clarey and Rupert noted that parking seekers, not realizing how little parking there is, or that the street is a dead end, create challenges for residents when they make U-turns to get out.
Solutions: Better signage and enforcement, resident-only parking, speed humps and street changes?
A variety of measures were proposed during the workshop, including better enforcement of speed limits, clearer signage for dead-end streets, improved snow-clearing, and the restriction of parking on streets near Lansdowne to residents and their guests (using the city’s parking permit programs). One recommendation was to improve the intersections at Bronson and Chamberlain, and at Isabella and Elgin/Queen Elizabeth Driveway, to ensure that these arterial roads become the primary route used by west-end visitors to the redeveloped Lansdowne. Speed humps were suggested for Holmwood west of Bank, although fire routes, vibrations and costs need to be taken into account. A stop sign at Holmwood and Torrington was also proposed, and a signal light at Fifth and Craig/Percy emerged as an idea to improve safety at that tricky offset intersection. One interesting suggestion brought up by several residents was to make Holmwood west of Bank or Monk a one-way street.
To discourage cut-through traffic on Monk, a variety of measures was suggested, such as closing Monk at Fifth (similar to the closure at Lyon). For Holmwood east of Bank, a stop sign was recommended at Adelaide, but there was also a suggestion that a closure (similar to the one on Clemow) be inserted so that traffic exiting the Lansdowne parking lot (new condominium residents and retail visitors during ‘event days’) would travel west to Bank. Of course, any type of road closure or redesign would need a feasibility assessment by the city and consideration of the potential knock-on effect on other streets and residents.
A possible alternative to street closures that might achieve the same objective would be the insertion of “woonerfs”: a street design approach originating in the Netherlands where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists (in North America a similar concept is referred to as “Complete Streets”). Perhaps that’s the solution for Holmwood and O’Connor by Lansdowne and the old community park, now renamed Sylvia Holden Park. According to the guiding principles established by the GCA for this Lansdowne-specific update, the priority order in which Glebe traffic plan changes should be made is as follows: pedestrians, cyclists, transit and then automobiles.
If readers have any comments on the ideas mentioned in this article, or suggestions for how the Glebe traffic plan should be adapted to mitigate the impact of Lansdowne traffic and keep our neighbourhood pedestrian-centred, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. In February, Glebe residents will also have an opportunity to provide feedback on proposed measures via an online survey.
Brian Mitchell is chair of the Traffic Committee of the Glebe Community Association.