Lansdowne traffic – its impact on the Glebe so far

By Brian Mitchell

The following is an extract from a report presented by the Glebe Community Association (GCA) to the City of Ottawa’s Transportation Committee in April 2015 for their first annual review of the traffic and transportation issues related to activities at the redeveloped Lansdowne. The full report is available via the GCA’s website (www.glebeca.ca).

Glebe residents are invited to an open house presentation on Thursday, May 7 at 7 p.m. on Lansdowne transportation issues, hosted by the GCA at the Glebe Community Centre.

Residents will have an opportunity to share their observations and any concerns regarding the traffic impact of the new Lansdowne during its first year of operations with representatives from the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

With only one season of Redblacks football, and just a few months of retail activity (and about half of the retailers yet to open, including the 10-screen Cineplex), it is premature to fully assess the impact of Lansdowne-related traffic on the Glebe community. Nevertheless some initial observations are possible.

In summary, the feedback the GCA has received from the community is that for the most part the traffic issues associated with the return of football to Lansdowne have been better than expected, while the parking and congestion issues associated with day-to-day activities at the site (including Ottawa 67s games) have been as expected and are likely to worsen as the volume of activity on the site increases with the opening of the 10-screen movie theatre, additional retailers and residential units, and with the Parks and Recreation events planned for this summer. Thankfully, and in spite of the City’s initial reluctance to adopt most of the community’s priority traffic and transportation recommendations for making Lansdowne a success, the majority of recommendations has now been accepted and put in place or will be shortly. It would, of course, have been preferable if these recommendations had been implemented from the beginning (e.g., keeping shuttle buses off of residential streets such as Lakeside), but we are nevertheless pleased that local knowledge of our streets has at last been recognized as correct and this has led to many of the recommendations being implemented that were initially rejected or placed into a “wait-and-see” category.

Recommendations that remain to be adopted

Nevertheless there remain several priority recommendations that have not yet been fully adopted but must be to help ensure Lansdowne’s success for all parties: Lansdowne’s operators, retailers and visitors; the residents who live around the Lansdowne venue; and the City and its citizens who want to ensure Lansdowne is a financial success for the taxpayers.

  • Undertake proactive measures to ensure a greater proportion of visitors use transit when heading to Lansdowne, such as increased frequency of Routes 1 and 7 in the evening and piloting the use of a no-fare zone on Bank Street, as is done in many other cities in North America. The City and NCC should also begin exploring a rapid transit shuttle bus link between Lansdowne and the Carling O-Train station.
  • Allow residents on the streets closest to Lansdowne on the west side of Bank Street to adjust parking policies (as has been done on the east side), if they wish, in order to address a near-complete loss of residential parking due to the Lansdowne redevelopment. And, in parallel, work with the Glebe Centre to help them find a parking solution for the needs of their visitors and volunteers (the Glebe Centre has lost over half of their volunteers since the Lansdowne redevelopment began, due to a lack of parking).
  • Install a safe crossing of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway by the south entrance to Lansdowne (under or near the Bank Street bridge) for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Accelerate the construction of the pedestrian and cyclist bridge from Clegg to Fifth.
    Ensure all shuttle buses used for Lansdowne use arterial roads and avoid residential streets such as Lakeside or Fifth.
  • Click here to download a copy of a table that summarizes the status (as of March 2015) of the GCA’s priority traffic and transportation recommendations on how to make Lansdowne a success. These recommendations were first tabled with the City in March 2013 following extensive community consultations.

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

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