REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON
7 APRIL 1999
Chair: D. Holmes
Members: M. Bellemare, W. Byrne, R. Cantin, C. Doucet, H. Kreling,
M. McGoldrick-Larsen, M. Meilleur
REGRETS L. Davis, J. Legendre
On behalf of all staff, the A/Deputy Commissioner, Doug Brousseau, expressed his sincere sympathy to the families of the victims who tragically lost their lives on 6 April at OC Transpo. He expressed total solidarity with the employees of OC Transpo and pride in the way the service to the community continued despite the personal toll of this tragedy. The Committee observed a minute of silence.
CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES
That the Transportation Committee confirm the Minutes of the meetings of 3 March 1999.
1. WEST HUNT CLUB ROAD REALIGNMENT AT MOODIE DRIVE
- Committee Co-ordinator report dated 19 Mar 99
Having held a public hearing, that Transportation Committee recommend Council:
1. a. Approve the preliminary design subject to a public hearing for the project as detailed in the presentation drawings;
b. Approve the scope of works contained in this project report;
c. Authorize the Department to initiate property transfer/acquisition from the National Capital Commission;
d. Authorize the Department to proceed with relocation of utilities to be determined at the detailed design stage;
2. Approve the implementation of traffic movement restrictions on Moodie Drive, north of West Hunt Club Road as approved by the Public Works Committee of the City of Nepean.
2. REHABILITATION OF POOLEY’S BRIDGE AND FIVE STONE
ARCH BRIDGES - LEBRETON FLATS
- Director, Engineering Division report dated 19 Mar 99
Lois K. Smith spoke briefly to the committee in favour of the proposed alternative. She expressed some reservation with respect to Alternative 3A, which included a ghosted arch or framework outside the travelled portion of the bridge. With this in place and given the fast tailrace, she was concerned that people may be enticed to use it as a diving platform into the water. In addition and while she was satisfied with the proposed re-routing of pedestrians and cyclists, she felt there should be another alternative provided, especially if all the streets are completely closed off during construction. With this in mind, she referred to the roadway situated between the pine trees on the elevation and the trees along the tailrace and which is accessed immediately west of the bicycle path along the Ottawa River Parkway. She added it is a popular route for people to travel by and comes close to where Duke and Fleet intersect. She strongly believed the public should be allowed to use this road as an alternate access.
In response to the last comment, Mr. V. Sahni, Manager, Structural Branch, advised that Pooley’s bridge will only be closed within the limits of old Wellington Street or Commissioner Street and just west of the bridge itself. He confirmed that the rest of Fleet Street will not be closed and will in fact be used as an access for construction purposes. During that time and because of the operations there, he advised it would not be possible for an on-site detour; however, the proposed detour along Wellington and over the Lett, Broad and Grand Trunk Railway bridges will add only one minute extra to a person’s trip.
Questions arose on the proposal to develop Lebreton Flats and the Region’s intent to close the surrounding streets and convey them to the National Capital Commission (NCC). V. Sahni indicated that such closure is currently in process and while the NCC’s Master Plan for Lebreton Flats does show the local street network at a slightly different alignment, as the development progresses, new streets will be opened up. In response to further questions, he confirmed the rehabilitation of Pooley’s Bridge is to provide for cyclist and pedestrian facilities - not to permit vehicular traffic on the bridge.
The committee noted the public hearing would be scheduled for 5 May 1999.
That Transportation Committee recommend Council:
1. Approve the rehabilitation of Pooley’s Bridge as a pedestrian/bicycle facility in accordance with Alternative 3B;
2. Authorize the Department to undertake necessary repairs to five other stone arch bridges in the area as noted in the report;
3. Authorize filing of an ‘Application to Alter’ to the City Of Ottawa for modifications relating to rehabilitation of Pooley’s Bridge per the recommendation (1a) above, as required under provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act;
4. Authorize staff to undertake detailed design of the rehabilitation of Pooley’s Bridge per recommendation (1a) above and repairs to five bridges over the aqueduct as outlined in recommendation (1b);
5. Authorize staff to undertake necessary utility relocations for this project;
6. Authorize the initiation of the public hearing process as required by Sections 297 and 300 of the Ontario Municipal Act.
3. DONATION STATIONS
- A/Regional Solicitor and A/Deputy Commissioner joint report dated 23 Mar 99
Councillor Cantin made reference to Recommendation 7, stating that if organizations are restricted to daylight hours only, it would reduce vital fund-raising time for some that collect in the winter months. He suggested that the recommendation be deleted.
Councillor Meilleur opined that Recommendation 4 will preclude donation stations on King Edward Avenue, despite the fact these events usually occur at peak periods when traffic is moving very slowly. Such a restriction would disqualify at least three intersections, despite the fact they have proven to be of lucrative earning potential for organizations. While she agreed safety is a high priority, she felt that at the time the toll is conducted, it is not dangerous.
Councillor Cantin proposed that Recommendation 4 also be deleted.
With respect to the issue of age (Recommendation 8), the Committee Chair suggested any reference to age could be removed from the recommendation, thereby eliminating any concerns about discrimination. She questioned whether total deletion of the recommendation would satisfy that need and Councillor Cantin stated that the benefit of leaving it in is that it puts the organizers on notice that they have a responsibility. While it allows anyone to collect tolls, it also puts the onus on the organization and/or a legal guardian to take responsibility for a participant who is 16 years of age or younger.
With respect to Recommendation 9, and in view of the move to community policing, Councillor Cantin suggested that some officers might be willing to help out with a community fund-raising project and would put the cones down on the road for the toll. The A/Deputy Commissioner, Doug Brousseau advised that the police would have to be consulted in this regard, but cautioned committee that the use of cones is not to impede or direct traffic, but simply to serve as a warning to motorists that a donation station is ahead. The councillor suggested an amendment to Recommendation 9 to state that cones be allowed only if placed by police or Regional staff.
Councillor McGoldrick-Larsen was of the opinion donation stations should not be approved at all, especially when they are located at extremely busy intersections. While she understood the need to raise money for charities, she did not believe this was the approach they should be allowed to use.
Councillor Bellemare inquired whether staff had investigated other cities or regions which allow donation stations and if so, what type of regulations were applied. While the Solicitor advised that staff had not investigated this particular aspect, he was aware of some adopting "fixed days" for collecting. The councillor reiterated the fact that staff do not support this type of activity because of the inherent danger to participants and motorists and taking into consideration that public safety is the primary concern of the police, these activities should not be permitted because the police cannot enforce it. With respect to the issue of liability, he was disconcerted by the fact Council would prohibit a small cat on a bus, but would allow kids to be on roads where there is heavy traffic.
Moved by R. Cantin
That Recommendations 4 and 7 be deleted and that Recommendation 9 be amended to read as follows: "That cones be allowed on the travelled portion of the roadway only if placed by police officers or Regional staff."
YEAS: R. Cantin, H. Kreling, D. Holmes, M, Meilleur....4
NAYS: M. Bellemare, M. McGoldrick-Larsen....2
That Transportation Committee recommend to Council that permits be issued on the following conditions:
1. That participants be allowed to enter the roadway;
2. That participants may not collect from medians of less than one metre in width;
3. That barricades designed to direct traffic not be permitted;
4. That an intersection with 20 or more reportable annual vehicular collisions is not eligible for use as a site; (to be deleted, as noted above)
5. That traffic not be restricted or excessively delayed;
6. That safety vests must be worn by participants at all times;
7. That events occur only during daylight hours; (to be deleted, as noted above);
8. That there be no age restriction, but every applicant for a permit undertake and acknowledge in writing;
(a) responsibility for each person collecting under his or her supervision;
(b) that each "collector" will abide by the conditions of the permit, and;
(c) that he or she and all participants will sign a waiver, and that this waiver will be sent to the Region immediately following the event, and that a legal guardian will sign the waiver on behalf of those under the age of 16 years;
9. That cones be allowed on the traveled portion of the roadway only if placed by police officers or by regional staff.
CARRIED as amended
4. REMOVAL OF BUS BAYS
- A/Deputy Commissioner, Environment and Transportation report dated 16 Mar 99
The Coordinator circulated copies of submissions received by Councillor W. Stewart in response to the proposal to remove bus bays along Riverside Drive. A copy of this document is kept on file with the Regional Clerk.
The Committee received a brief overview of the report by Kornel Mucsi, Transit Priority Engineer. He emphasized the fact that bus bays have proven to delay buses by as much as 30 seconds at a time because the bus must wait for a gap in the traffic before re-entering the roadway. And, if a bus is traveling a route where there are a number of bus bays and similar delays are incurred at each stop, those seconds soon add up to minutes. This hinders OC Transpo’s attempts to ensure an accurate bus schedule and to maintain efficient service. As detailed in the established guidelines, staff will not recommend the removal of a bus bay if it will be unsafe e.g. on roads with posted speeds of 70 km/h or more, or if it causes total person delay.
With respect to his comment about speeds, Councillor Stewart referred to a recent study of Riverside Drive in which it is recommended that the speed limit (currently 60 km/h) be increased to the traveled speed of 80 km/h. She questioned whether it is the posted speed or the actual speed being traveled that determines the safety of removing a bus bay. Mr. Mucsi confirmed that the bus bay removal guidelines define the speed as the posted speed limit. The Councillor was quite concerned about this, because it is the same stretch of Riverside Drive which is being recommended for bus bay removal. She suggested therefore, that the proposal to remove the bus bays would be inappropriate due to the safety implications. While this was a valid point, Doug Brousseau, A/Deputy Environment and Transportation Commissioner reminded committee that it is Council’s policy to remove bus bays on roads where the posted speed is up to 70 km/h. He suggested that this particular issue would have to be re-examined and when consideration is being given to the removal of a bus bay, a speed zone review would also have to be carried out.
Councillor Cantin referred to a recent meeting he attended of the Committee for St. Joseph Boulevard, which is examining the beautification of the area. In indicated it was the consensus of those in attendance that the bus bays should not be removed along this roadway. He explained there are very few bus routes that service this stretch of St. Joseph Boulevard and therefore not a lot of buses would be delayed if the bays were to remain. He went on to state that if they were removed, and taking into consideration they are located on the far side of the intersection, a motorist following the bus would end up blocking the intersection if the bus stopped to load or unload passengers. He emphasized that the merchants feel very strongly that those bus bays should be maintained, adding that each one would have to be moved to the near side of the intersection in order to avoid conflicts. One particular location that staff should examine is the stop in front of the Toronto Dominion Bank; currently, an articulated bus does not clear the intersection when it is heading north on Orleans Boulevard and turning left onto St. Joseph and if the bus bay were to be removed, the bus will block both traveled lanes and cripple the intersection.
Councillor Kreling, also a member of the above-mentioned committee, did not share the Councillor’s view with respect to the merchant’s opposition to the removal of bus bays. He recalled that at the last meeting he attended, it was decided that if the bus bays were to be removed, that perhaps some input from that committee could be made at the public hearing. While the group recognized there would be a cost involved for such removal, they suggested that perhaps a co-operative effort with respect to boulevard treatment in those bus bay areas could be worked out at the same time. He suggested that since the resurfacing of St. Joseph may not occur this year, that perhaps the proposal to remove the bus bays can be put off until then, especially in light of the local beautification initiative and the need for thorough consultation with the business properties involved.
Councillor Loney did not believe the goals Council has set for transit can be realized if it does not carry out transit priority measures that are available, such as the removal of bus bays. He agreed there are situations where it is unsafe to remove these facilities, and where that is the case, they should be maintained. He did not think it could be argued that traveled speeds are so high that nothing should be done about bus bays, but at the same time, that should not suggest that the speed be increased either. He felt that the overriding issue is having to face the concerns of voiced by some people, of measures Council is going to take in order to give transit priority. He urged committee members to look at the bigger principle involved, and if Councillors do not believe the existing policy is right, then perhaps they should be fighting to change that policy.
Councillor Byrne agreed Council must determine whether or not it is going to be committed to giving transit priority and reminded committee members that today’s recommendations looks to a proposal to go out to the public for comment. She was in favour of promoting transit and stated the committee would not know who does and does not support this proposal until they engage in public consultation.
Councillor Doucet compared the differences between the sections of Bank Street in the Glebe and another further south near Heron Park. He noted that closer to the downtown, businesses rely on walk-in traffic, as well as on-street parking to encourage customers. To the south, however, the environment is completely different in that businesses have giant parking lots which can accommodate hundreds of vehicles at a time. He understood there was a desire for the merchants to beautify the southern portion of Bank Street by encouraging more pedestrian use and by slowing down traffic and having no bus bays. He believed creating narrower streets by such removal will result in a safer environment for pedestrians, particularly the elderly. He opined that it is up to individual communities to determine how they want to be and if it is their wish to be a pedestrian friendly, locally-used street, that vision does not include bus bays.
Councillor McGoldrick-Larsen questioned whether staff are of the opinion that slowing down traffic by removing bus bays could lead to more incidents of road rage and whether or not the police have statistics on such reported incidents. D. Brousseau advised that road rage is a term used by the media and was not aware of an outbreak of such in Ottawa-Carleton. While he did not know whether the police would keep such statistics, staff could certainly ask them if they document such incidents. With respect to the question of whether a removed bus bay would hold up traffic, he advised that a stopped bus can be boarded within 12 seconds and did not think this was an unreasonable amount of time for a motorist to have to wait. The Councillor agreed 12 seconds is not a lot of time, but suggested that with more students taking the bus, there will be longer delays which could contribute to road rage. She supported sending the report out for public consultation, but suggested Recommendation 1 be amended to change the word "Approve" to "Receive" until after the public hearing has been held and all comments have been submitted.
Councillor Meilleur remarked on how busy the Vanier Parkway is and was concerned that removing bus bays from this already dangerous road will only add to the danger. She was concerned that if this roadway is congested any more than it is during peak hours, motorists will cut through residential streets to by-pass the hold-up in traffic. She noted that if the community does support the removal of the bus bays, would the Region simply install the unsightly curbing such as the kind used on Baseline Road to block off the bay. D. Brousseau reminded committee that those bus bays were temporarily closed using curbing because they were part of a pilot project to determine the effectiveness on transit and vehicular flow. He assured the Councillor that when the Parkway is resurfaced and if committee and Council approve the elimination of the bus bays, the boulevard would be reinstated in the character similar to what is there now on either side of the existing bus bay.
Chair Holmes commented that this proposal is a perfect example where the public does not have all the information in order for them to understand why the Region is suggesting this kind of transit priority initiative. She agreed Councillors may have a difficult time trying to explain to their constituents about the benefits of removing the bus bays, as well as how transit priority measures are one of the goals set out in the Region’s Official Plan and its Transportation Master Plan. She went on to state that the public in general will not be aware of the economic and environmental benefits provided by such an initiative and may believe there is no apparent explanation as to why the Region is implementing this policy. She was in favour of transit priority measures and supported the removal of bus bays as proposed.
Moved by M. McGoldrick-Larsen
That Recommendation 1 be amended to change the word "Approve" to "Receive".
YEAS: M. Bellemare, R. Cantin, M. McGoldrick-Larsen, M. Meilleur....4
NAYS: W. Byrne, C. Doucet, D. Holmes, H. Kreling....4
That the Transportation Committee recommend Council:
1. Approve the preliminary design for the removal of the bus bays listed in Annex A;
2. Authorize the initiation of the Public Hearing process as required by Sections 297 and 300 of the Ontario Municipal Act.
YEAS: W. Byrne, C. Doucet, D. Holmes, H. Kreling....4
NAYS: M. Bellemare, R. Cantin, M. McGoldrick-Larsen, M. Meilleur....4
5. BIKE RACKS ON BUSES - PILOT PROJECT
- A/Deputy Commissioner, Environment and Transportation report dated 18 Mar 99
The Committee received the following comments in support of this proposal:
a. Melinda Tan, E-mail comments dated April 6, 1999;
b. Ian Schwartz, E-mail comments dated April 6, 1999;
c. Roger Horner, E-mail comments dated April 5, 1999.
Councillor Doucet was somewhat concerned by the fact not all buses on the route would be equipped with bike racks. Sean Rathwell from OC Transpo confirmed there may be some peak-hour buses that will not have the equipment. The A/Deputy Commissioner, Doug Brousseau, pointed out that if one bus does not have one, the next bus that comes along would be equipped with a rack.
That the Transportation Committee approve a pilot project to assess the transportation demand management benefits of bike racks on buses.
6. COMPLETING THE TRANS CANADA TRAIL IN OTTAWA-CARLETON
- Planning and Development Approvals Commissioner report dated 23 Mar 99
The Committee received written comments from the following:
a. National Capital Commission letter dated 30 March 1999;
b. Citizens for Safe Cycling letter dated April 6, 1999;
c. Township of Goulbourn resolution dated April 6, 1999;
d. Goulbourn Chamber of Commerce letter dated April 7, 1999.
The Committee Chair said she was somewhat concerned about the mixed uses to be permitted on this trail, especially snowmobiling and horseback riding and the possible conflicts between these and other uses along the corridor. P. Sweet, Director, Policy and Infrastructure Planning Division, advised that the characteristics of the Trans Canada Trail is such that it promotes as many uses as possible, although the local jurisdiction determines which uses are appropriate. She indicated that staff are recommending, through the Memorandum of Understanding, that only five types of uses be permitted and of those, horseback riding and snowmobiling will only be permitted on the trail west of Stittsville. She added that presently both cross-country skiers and snowmobilers are sharing that trail quite successfully in the rural area, but would not encourage such mixed use in an urban setting. She suggested that if committee wanted to be more specific with respect to where these uses are permitted, staff could stipulate, through the Draft Trans Canada Registry (Annex C), that they only be permitted in the rural area west of Stittsville.
Chair Holmes made reference to the comments submitted by the Regional Cycling Advisory Group (RCAG) in which they note that a portion of the trail is in fact a part of the Cycling Transportation Network and raise the question of how the Region will ensure it remains designed to those specifications. P. Sweet responded by stating that RCAG’s concerns relate to the portion of the trail east of Stittsville and she confirmed it will be maintained as a safe cycling corridor. Although RCAG have asked that specific wording be included, she did not believe it was necessary to ensure it is retained for safe and effective operation of cycling. She added that as the trail travels beyond Stittsville and into Carleton Place, staff have given no indication that it would be brought up to the kind of standard as it is between Bells Corners and Stittsville because there are not nearly as many cyclists commuting from Carleton Place as there are from Stittsville.
To address this concern, the Committee Chair suggested the addition of the following to the end of Recommendation 1: "and does not reduce its safe and effective operation as an official RMOC cycling transportation route east of Stittsville".
In response to questions raised by Councillor Cantin, Ms. Sweet confirmed that snowmobilers are active users of the trail in the rural area and should therefore be accommodated. The Councillor was concerned about the combined uses and questioned whether the Region would be liable if an accident were to occur in a mixed-use situation. The Solicitor advised that while he had not researched into the possibility of such conflicts occurring, he anticipated the Region would be liable in such a situation. He agreed to provide his research to committee members prior to the item rising to Council on 28 April.
Councillor McGoldrick-Larsen inquired about enforcement of the rules and regulations applicable to this trail and who is responsible for taking care of any complaints that may arise. P. Sweet indicated that currently the trail is accessible from any road that crosses it and people have been known to take their vehicles on that corridor. She admitted this is difficult to control and to enforce the regulations without patrolling or erecting barriers will be difficult. However, in the longer term, staff may have the ability to erect barriers at all cross-intersections to deter motor vehicles, but which would allow cyclists to gain access via a slight detour around them. The Councillor was not in favour of erecting barriers because they would interfere with cyclists’ travel and would make it very cumbersome for them to maneuver around the obstacle.
Moved by D. Holmes
That Recommendation 1 be amended to include the following words: "and does not reduce its safe and effective operation as an official RMOC cycling transportation route east of Stittsville".
The committee acknowledged that staff would make the necessary adjustments to the Draft Trans Canada Trail Registry, to ensure horseback riding and snowmobiling does not occur on the trail east of Stittsville.
That the Transportation Committee recommend Council approve:
1. Registering with the Trans Canada Trail Foundation that part of the Carleton Place Subdivision rail corridor in RMOC ownership as part of the Trans Canada Trail with the proviso that this use will not preclude its future role as a transportation and utility corridor and does not reduce its safe and effective operation as an official RMOC cycling transportation route east of Stittsville".
2. Delegation to the Commissioner of Planning and Development Approvals the authority to finalize and sign a Memorandum of Understanding, on behalf of the Region, with Ontario Trails Council for the use, development and management of that part of the Carleton Place Subdivision rail corridor, in RMOC ownership, as part of the Trans Canada Trail.
CARRIED as amended
Councillor Doucet expressed an interest in attending the upcoming American Public Transit Association conference and requested the necessary information be sent to him. He also requested staff provide him with any information on two other related conferences that were going to be held at approximately the same time. D. Brousseau agreed to circulate the documentation to committee members for information.
The meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m.