Preparing to cope with Lansdowne Park traffic

By Brian Mitchell and Alex de Vries

Existing and proposed bicycle routes in the Glebe (2012)

Existing and proposed bicycle routes in the Glebe (2012) – Map: Alex de Vries

As work commences in earnest at Lansdowne Park, the Glebe Community Association (GCA) is embarking on an effort to update the Glebe Traffic Plan to account for the 50 per cent increase in traffic that the Lansdowne project will bring to Glebe streets in two years’ time. The Glebe Traffic Plan adopted (in part) by the City of Ottawa in 2004 never imagined a redeveloped Lansdowne with 360,000 square feet of new retail space being added to the community, in addition to a significant increase in special events at the site. So, at its October 23 meeting the GCA adopted a resolution to undertake a consultative process with the community to identify and recommend changes to the Glebe Traffic Plan, which will help mitigate the impact on residential streets in the Glebe.

Planned GCA Consultation
In particular, the community will be consulted on possible changes to parking, traffic flow and bike lanes on our streets. Special emphasis will be placed on consulting with the residents in the immediate vicinity of Lansdowne Park who will be most affected by the redevelopment. Once adopted by the GCA, the recommendations will be referred to the city’s Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee in which GCA and other community representatives participate. To obtain input from the community, the GCA’s Traffic Committee will be publishing three articles in the Glebe Report to generate discussion, ideas and feedback on possible adjustments to community streets to help minimize the impact of Lansdowne Park when it opens in 2014. Next month’s article will discuss parking.

In the meantime, the community will have to cope with the impact of construction-related traffic as the redevelopment gets fully underway. To ensure trucks servicing the Lansdowne construction site keep to the designated trucking routes in the Glebe (Bank Street, Bronson and Chamberlain – only!) the City of Ottawa has posted new “no-truck” signs at the Bank and Bronson entrances of Holmwood, Fifth and Glebe avenues. Those and all the other residential streets in the Glebe are (and always have been) off limits to trucks with the exception of those making local side-street deliveries. If any resident finds trucks using Glebe streets inappropriately, please make a note of the truck’s licence plate, or the name of the trucking company and call the city’s enforcement line at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300.

Proposed bicycle routes for the Glebe
Lansdowne Park is slated to become a major destination in the Glebe and this is going to affect transportation through and within the Glebe. We expect that there will be a lot more people coming to our neighbourhood. People will decide for themselves if they want to take a bike. We can help by giving them attractive facilities to encourage them to do so. The GCA Traffic Committee has discussed some ideas of how we might achieve that.

It may be necessary to continue putting bike routes on residential streets, but this has drawbacks. The constant stopping and starting at stop signs is uncomfortable. Riding next to parked cars presents the risk of dooring, which is what happens when an inadvertent driver opens a door into the path of a cyclist.

The ideal bike facility, a route separated from motor vehicle routes with few intersections that leads directly to the destination, is harder to come by. Building these routes is most likely to attract new cyclists but there are compromises: for major routes, allocate space on roads for cyclists and rebuild signalized intersections also keeping cyclists in mind.

For an east/west route, one choice is Fifth Avenue, which can go straight from Madawaska to the anticipated pedestrian/cycle bridge over the canal. However, that road is already quite busy, and how would that work with a new shuttle bus service that will be needed during Lansdowne events?

Some worry that the east end of Holmwood Avenue will be used as a throughway for drivers visiting Lansdowne. This could be discouraged by changing its direction or by closing it off at Bank St. The added benefit would be a calm entrance and exit for cyclists. It could provide an ideal western entrance for cyclists to Lansdowne Park so they could avoid Bank Street altogether. But this would constitute a big change for residents who are already affected by the project.

Here are some other highlights of changes discussed:

  • Adding a contraflow bike lane on Glebe Avenue between Percy and Bronson to make access to Glebe Collegiate better;
  • Adding a pedestrian/bike signal on Bronson at Third Avenue, which connects well to Commissioners Park;
  • Changing signals and road markings for the bike routes as they cross Bank Street and Bronson Avenue to help avoid collisions; and
  • Building the Fifth Avenue/Clegg Street bridge across the Rideau Canal.

Building new bike lanes usually means changing or removing parking from public streets. This comes at considerable cost to the community but residents may also appreciate fewer motor vehicles on those streets. These ideas and others are being brought to Councillor David Chernushenko’s Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee.

Do you have thoughts on bike facilities in the Glebe? How do you feel about reallocating space used by parked cars to encourage cycling? We want to hear from you. Residents are encouraged to send suggestions on changes that could
be made to Glebe streets, parking policies and cycling routes in order to cope with a redeveloped Lansdowne to traffic@glebeca.ca.

Brian Mitchell is chair and Alex deVries is a member of the of the Traffic Committee of the Glebe Community Association.

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