Update on the Glebe Traffic Plan in preparation for Lansdowne traffic

By Brian Mitchell

Over the summer, construction has continued unabated at the Lansdowne site and by next June the first football games will take place. By this time next year, the new residential and retail facilities will begin to open and operate. Over the past 12 months, the Glebe Community Association (GCA) has been participating in the City’s Lansdowne Transportation Advisory Committee (LTAC) in an effort to make changes to the Glebe Traffic Plan so that community streets and transportation infrastructure operate in a manner that gets Lansdowne visitors in and out efficiently and with the least impact on neighbouring residents.

Map of area affected by increase in local traffic due to Lansdowne activity

Map of area affected by increase in local traffic due to Lansdowne activity

In March, following an extensive community consultation which heard from over 1,000 Glebe residents, the GCA presented City and National Capital Commission (NCC) officials with a list of 45 recommendations for changes to the way Glebe streets are used for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. These recommendations aimed to mitigate the impact of Lansdowne and address issues that have already arisen in the area closest to Lansdowne (e.g. limited on-street residential parking). The GCA prioritized 20 recommendations that should be implemented as soon as possible, and in most cases before Lansdowne opens. The GCA also made some recommendations regarding sensitive areas that should be monitored after Lansdowne opens for possible future traffic plan changes should, for example, cut-through traffic become a problem due to Lansdowne-generated traffic congestion on Bank Street (e.g. on Monk Street).

The City’s “wait-and-see” response

For the most part, the City has adopted a wait-and-see approach to the community’s concerns about the traffic impact of Lansdowne’s day-to-day operations. Although several lower-priority recommendations were accepted by the City for implementation before Lansdowne opens (e.g. installation of stop signs where missing on Glebe streets), most of the priority recommendations were placed in a wait-and-see category and may be implemented, depending on the results of a traffic monitoring program that the City will undertake after Lansdowne opens. The City has plans to share details this fall with the community on how this monitoring program will operate (how traffic changes will be measured and at what point traffic plan recommendations will be considered). Nine of the 20 priority recommendations are, however, receiving further consideration and analysis by City or NCC officials, and some may be implemented before or shortly after Lansdowne opens. Further information about these changes, together with details of the monitoring program, should be available from the City via an LTAC open house that is expected to take place before the end of the year.

Traffic Concerns with Events at Lansdowne

In contrast to its laissez-faire approach to day-to-day traffic issues associated with Lansdowne, the City has invested considerable planning resources to develop a strategy for managing traffic and transportation issues associated with events such as football games taking place at Lansdowne. For the most part, the GCA supports the City’s plans (for example, including OC Transpo service in event tickets); however the community association is very concerned about the plans to use Fifth Avenue and Lakeside for shuttle buses to carry event-goers from satellite parking lots (e.g. at Carleton University) to Lansdowne. While it accepts that Fifth may have to be used on those rare occasions when an event takes place at a time when the Queen Elizabeth Driveway (QED) is closed (such as for the Marathon run), it disagrees with the City’s plans to use Fifth Avenue for half of the events requiring such shuttles, even when the Driveway is open. And the GCA and the Dow’s Lake Residents’ Association are firmly opposed to the use of Lakeside for two-way shuttle buses as the connection between Bronson and the QED, particularly since an arterial route is available (Bronson–Carling–Preston). The volume of shuttle buses required for special events will make these two streets very unsafe, and nearly unusable, for local residents during large events at Lansdowne. So far the City has rejected the GCA’s calls for changes to these plans, but it’s hoped that, with continued pressure on this matter, it will reconsider its position before the first football games begin next year.

Brian Mitchell is chair of the Traffic Committee of the Glebe Community Association.

Summary Table

Glebe Community’s Priority Recommendations and City / NCC Responses addressing impact on day-to-day Glebe traffic resulting from Lansdowne development

GCA Recommendation To Initial response from
the city or NCC
Minimizing the Number of Cars Using Residential Streets in the Glebe
1. Free OC Transpo shuttle bus service on Bank Street (Wellington to Billings Bridge) during peak retail times (Thursday and Friday evenings, Saturday, Sunday) ? City Will give this proposal further consideration after first undertaking a cost analysis
2. Proceed with construction of pedestrian/ cyclist canal bridge at Fifth Avenue √? City The City is going ahead with the detail design work for the bridge, but has not yet allocated funding for bridge construction (but it might in its 2014 budget)
3. Signage to maximize use of QED and arterial routes (e.g. Bronson and Carling) to access Lansdowne City Agreed, subject to discussions with the NCC regarding the QED
4. Improve intersections to maximize use of QED and arterials (e.g. traffic light at Bronson and Imperial) X City Rejected as infeasible
5. Free validated parking at Lansdowne during day-to-day activities City The Lansdowne parking lot will be operated by OSEG as a private lot and it appears that OSEG will likely provide the option of a validated parking program to retailers on a cost-recovery basis
Encouraging Safe Cycling to Lansdowne
6. NCC to provide a safe crossing at Fifth and QED (signal light) √? NCC The NCC is going ahead with the detail design work for this crossing, but it has not yet allocated funding for construction of crossing enhancements (but might in its 2014-15 budget)
7. NCC to provide a safe crossing at Bank Street Bridge and QED X NCC Rejected for now, but the NCC has agreed to consider this at some point in the future
8. Contra-flow bike lane (westbound) on Glebe (Percy to Bronson) to connect with Carling City Agreed, subject to design considerations (e.g. traffic signals)
9. City to work with GCA to determine how best to upgrade cycling routes to Lansdowne, and implement prior to opening √? City City appears committed to creating improved cycling routes to Lansdowne but the details or process are not yet clear
Traffic Flow and Pedestrian/Traffic Safety
10. Change traffic signals on Bank Street so pedestrian lights don’t require a button push √? City Agreed to study
11. Close Holmwood (east of Bank) at Bank Street X? City Rejected, but will give serious consideration if warranted based on results of traffic monitoring program
12. No stopping on south/east sides of Holmwood/O’Connor between Bank & Fifth City Agreed
13. Raised intersections at Fifth and Percy/ Ralph/Monk; mid-block speed bumps on Fifth X City Rejected as too costly (may revisit based on results of traffic monitoring)
14. Speed bumps and raised intersections on Holmwood west of Bank X City Rejected as too costly (may revisit based on results of traffic monitoring)
15. Install three-way stop at Holmwood and Torrington X City Rejected as not warranted and infeasible
16. Determine and implement means to improve safety and reduce cut-through traffic on Holmwood west of Bank X City Rejected (may revisit based on results of traffic monitoring)
Preserving Parking for Local Residents
17. Improved minimum service levels for snow clearing on narrow streets in the Glebe (particularly near Lansdowne) X City Rejected
18. Improved minimum service levels for residential parking enforcement in the Glebe (particularly near Lansdowne) X City Rejected
19. Guest parking zone and more restrictive parking policies within 3 blocks of Lansdowne √? City Agreed to study (e.g. impact on residential parking permit availability)
20. Improve guest permit parking program so less likely to be abused [a priority recommendation should #19 be implemented] X City Rejected

For more information on traffic contact Brian Mitchell at traffic@glebeca.ca.

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