ALTA VISTA TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR – ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT STUDY
COULOIR DE CIRCULATION D’ALTA VISTA – ÉTUDE D’ÉVALUATION ENVIRONNEMENTALE
That the Mobility Issues Advisory Committee receive the above-noted item for discussion.
Que le comité consultatif sur les questions de mobilité prenne connaissance du rapport précité en vue d’en discuter.
Member D. Gladstone is the Mobility Issues Advisory Committee representative on the Public Advisory Committee for the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor Environmental Assessment Study. He has provided updates on the progress of the group’s work and participated in various meetings and sessions.
At his request, it was agreed to include the following report for discussion in order to establish a position before the next steps for the Environmental Assessment are considered at the Transportation and Transit Committee.
Member D. Gladstone presents the following comments:
“The Alta Vista Transportation Corridor is a contentious issue, starting with its name and origins. Calling it a transportation corridor goes back two years, when opponents of what the Official Plan terms ‘The Alta Vista Parkway’ convinced City staff and Council to use a neutral term in the terms of reference of the EA. As for its origins, provision for a road south from what is now the Nicholas off-ramp from the Queensway (the railway connection to Union Station until the early 1960's) is made in the 1950 Gréber Report. I don't know the details, but it's clear that the land that now constitutes the Alta Vista transportation corridor, running from the Queensway to Hunt Club Road was reserved for the NCC, before the residential development of Alta Vista began. By 1976, the corridor was RMOC property and reserved for a future 'Parkway'.
I have never seen a
detailed explanation of why the long-planned Parkway wasn't built, but I see it
as resulting from a combination of the strong opposition of residents of Ottawa
East and Sandy Hill to any road link to Nicholas at the Queensway, the cost of
building the road, and the obvious fact that the existing transportation
network meets the needs of Alta Vista residents. The current EA
was, in fact, not prompted by a perceived urgent need to build the full road,
but rather by car traffic concerns in the environs of the growing hospital
complex north of Smyth Road.
Debate over the need for
the EA and its terms of reference was vigorous, with community associations to
its north solidly opposed to any road linking Nicholas, and insisting on neutral
terms of reference. Thy have been joined by many residents of Alta Vista
opposed to the loss of greenspace and garden plots. The degree of
community concern over the EA was demonstrated by the attendance of 1,000
residents at two public meetings in November and December 2001.
These concerns led to the establishment of a Public Advisory Committee with substantial representation from community groups, including MIAC. PAC meetings have been lengthy, with many repeatedly expressed concerns over the consideration of road options in the corridor. The Terms of Reference provide for mid-study reports to TTC, the first being due this fall.
Information provided to the PAC by the consultant, Delcan, has confirmed that both Nicholas and the Queensway are near capacity at peak hours, while the East and South Transitways have unused capacities. This information has not been applied by the consultant to-date, as the study methodology he has developed requires the evaluation of the overall desirability of all options before examining their cost and feasibility.
Briefly, my recommendation is that MIAC take the following position on the EA:
· Endorse the continued conduct of a comprehensive EA aimed at determining the best use of the corridor lands for transportation, greenspace, and development;
· Strongly support options that will increase the modal share of walking, cycling, and transit;
· Question the usefulness of continued consideration of road options that link with Nicholas Street;
· Support the comprehensive examination of the impact of the various options on air quality.”
The Transportation, Utilities and Public Works Department will be circulated on this report and provided the opportunity to address any comments or concerns raised by the Advisory Committee.
Attachment 2 – Original Public Advisory Committee and Public Consultation Schedule
Chair and Committee Coordinator will forward the Advisory Committee’s submission to be included in the departmental report.
Report to/Rapport à: Transportation and Transit Committee/
Comité des transports et des services de transport en commun
and Council/et au Conseil
8 February 2001/8 février 2001
Submitted by/Soumis par: Ned Lathrop, General Manager/Directeur général,
Development Services/Services de développement communautaire
Ref N°: ACS2001-DEV-POL-0003
ALTA VISTA PARKWAY ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT STUDY DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE
ÉBAUCHE DU MANDAT DE L'ETUDE ENVIRONNEMENTALE DU PROJET DE LA PROMENADE ALTA VISTA
That the Transportation Committee recommend Council approve the draft study terms of reference as a basis for the Alta Vista Parkway environmental assessment to be initiated this year.
RECOMMENDATION DU RAPPORT
Que le Comité des transports et des services de transports en commun recommande au Conseil d'approuver le mandat pour la base de l'étude environnementale de la promenade Alta Vista, laquelle sera initiée cette année.
At their meeting on the 13 September 2000, Regional Council adopted the recommendations of the Alta Vista Drive/Smyth Road Transportation Strategy as contained in the Technical Study Report prepared by Delcan Consultants, in particular #7
"To ensure the timely delivery of the section of the Alta Vista Parkway between Smyth Road and Riverside Drive (with links to the Hospital Ring Road), and the ramps to the Southeast Transitway, appropriate funds need to be identified in the five year Budget of the new City of Ottawa to complete the Environmental Assessment Study of the Alta Vista Parkway between Conroy Road and the Queensway.”
The Alta Vista/Smyth Transportation Strategy had been carried out to determine the transportation infrastructure needs and timing to accommodate the anticipated development being planned and implemented in the vicinity of the Ottawa Hospitals Complex in Southeast Ottawa. (Copies of the Report can be obtained by contacting Chris Gordon at ext. 22783 or through the City’s internet site, MOE - http://moe/main/navigation/en/cityframeRMOCAgendas.html - Sept 6, 2000 Documents).
Among the many transportation infrastructure needs identified was that of requiring the first phase of the proposed Alta Vista Parkway (Smyth Road to Riverside Drive) to be in place by the end of the 10-year planning horizon i.e. by approximately 2010.
In addition to the recommendations of the Alta Vista/Smyth Study, Regional Council also adopted the following directions to staff:
“2. That Recommendation #7 of the Delcan Study be amended to ensure that when doing the Environmental Assessment, the Alta Vista Parkway be studied as a "bus/light rail only" route and as a "transit/vehicle route",
“3. That the next phase (i.e. phase 2) of the Alta Vista Parkway will consider the extension of the transitway from Smyth Road to Conroy Road and that the Environmental Assessment reflect this amendment", and
“6. That all Terms of Reference be approved by the Transportation Committee for Transportation Studies".
DISCUSSION/DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Project / The Undertaking
The Alta Vista Parkway has been identified as a future roadway requirement in all the Regional Official Plans since 1974 and was reconfirmed as a future need in the 1997 Transportation Master Plan and Regional Official Plan.
The proposed Alta Vista Parkway is the logical extension to the Conroy Road Corridor upgrade, which was completed in 1999.
The fundamental purpose of the Conroy/Alta Vista Parkway Corridor is to provide additional arterial capacity in the Southeast Sector of the City of Ottawa to serve the urban development that has been planned and implemented there since the 1974 Regional Official Plan.
The form and function of this transportation facility is to be determined through the environmental assessment process, which will satisfy the requirements of the Provincial and Federal EA legislation. With effective public consultation, the most appropriate solution will be developed and recommended.
This EA Study could take approximately 15 months to complete. There is urgency to get underway with the Study as soon as possible to meet the anticipated need for the section of the Alta Vista Parkway between Smyth Road and Riverside Drive (due to the quickly developing Health Science Center).
The major tasks for this project will be as follows:
1. Need and Justification
Although the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) identified the need for this transportation facility and this has been augmented recently by the Alta Vista/Smyth Transportation Strategy, a re-examination of need and assumptions is required to reaffirm the TMP conclusions. This exercise will be carried out by forecasting travel demand for the Southeast Sector and determining both existing and future needs for the facility. The basis for this analysis will be primarily from past work such as the Environmental Assessment Study of Transportation Demands To and From the Southeast Sector (1994), the City of Ottawa’s Alta Vista/Smyth Study(1996), the Region’s Alta Vista Drive/Smyth Road Transportation Strategy(2000) and the recently completed Train Lands Development Traffic Impact Study. An examination of future traffic levels across screenlines and study area intersection level of service will also supplement the review. The travel demand analysis must consider various Transportation Demand Management trip strategies including enhanced transit service in the corridor in accordance with TMP and ROP policies.
2. Existing Conditions
As with every EA, an inventory and assessment of the various existing conditions must be undertaken. These include, but are not limited to transportation, land use, utilities, social/human environment, physical environment, and natural environment. In addition, the Study will include investigations of any special aspects of the study area that should also be considered. For example: the effects on the Rideau River, the effects of noise on the adjacent communities, any archaeological potential, and the environmental implications of construction in the vicinity of the Rideau River at Lees Avenue.
3. Evaluation Criteria and Evaluation Process
A list and description of the criteria to be used to evaluate the various alternatives will be developed. A detailed evaluation methodology will also be described and documented.
4. Alternatives to the Undertaking and Alternatives to the Alignments
The TMP recommended the Alta Vista Parkway be a new four lane arterial roadway with the lane configurations to be assessed in accordance with past Council directions. This Study will also investigate many infrastructure options such as a bus/rail only corridor and transit/HOV lanes and mixed-use facilities. Other aspects of the corridor such as bicycle lanes, recreational paths, sidewalks, lighting, grade separation, etc. will be included. The different options developed with the public will be presented at several public open houses throughout the project (see Communication Plan section). Developing and examining a full range of options complies with the EA Act requirement that alternative solutions for the undertaking be assessed.
5. Recommended Plan
Following the evaluation of alternatives, the Project Team will refine the most appropriate alignment, cross section and configuration, taking into consideration all necessary mitigation measures required to minimize any adverse impacts of the facility. To ensure that all of the impacts are identified, it would be appropriate to carry out studies such as noise, air quality, stormwater management, geotechnical surveys, landscape design, property impacts and any other research that would be required to properly define the cumulative effects of the facility, in accordance with the EA requirements. The recommended plan will include a coordinated centre-line, property envelope, construction stages, plan and preliminary cost estimates for budgetary purposes.
6. Environmental Study Report (ESR)
The Consultant is required to prepare an ESR to document the entire process. A draft ESR will be circulated to the Project Team, Technical Advisory Committee, Special Advisory Group, Public Advisory Committee and any other approval agencies for comment. A final ESR, incorporating all pertinent comments, will be prepared and distributed to the public for the formal 30-day Review Period as outlined in the Class Environmental Assessment requirements.
All environmental impacts will be assessed in this study. In addition, special investigations will take place in the vicinity of the Rideau River crossing where pollution of the Rideau River occurred during the construction of the Southeast Transitway.
There will be a comprehensive communications and public consultation effort to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the project and have an opportunity to provide input in a timely manner. The Communications Plan consists of Study notifications and the consultation program.
The public will be informed of the Study commencement, public meetings (Open Houses), and Study completion. Notifications will be sent out at appropriate stages in the Study, and each announcement will take the following forms:
· advertisements in daily newspapers (The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, Le Droit);
· advertisements in community papers (The Centretown News, The Alta Vista News, The Hunt Club News, the Vistas, L’Image);
· mail drop flyers to study area residents;
· road signs along the study corridor (at Walkley Road, Smyth Road, Riverside Drive, Alta Vista Drive, Lees Avenue); and
· City’s website - dedicated specifically to this project.
Councillors will be informed in advance of any public notification regarding this project. Councillors will also have the opportunity to attend status update meetings, which will typically be scheduled in advance of public open houses.
The consultation program consists of meetings with stakeholders through advisory committees, and meetings with the general public through Open Houses. Stakeholders will be organized into various groups, which will meet with the Study Team at key stages to review and comment on the Study findings. Each advisory group meeting will be chaired by the Study Team’s Project Manager. The 3 advisory groups are:
· Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
· Special Advisory Group (Hospitals, Health Care Agencies, etc.)
· Public Advisory Committee (PAC)
The Technical Advisory Committee will comprise of government agencies and approval bodies with representation from the:
· Ministry of the Environment (MOE)
· Ministry of Transportation (MTO)
· Canadian National Railway/VIA Rail
· Transport Canada
· City’s Transportation, Utilities, and Public Works Department
à Traffic and Parking Operations
à Transit Services
à Infrastructure Services
· City’s Development Services Department
à Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Policy
à Planning and Infrastructure Approvals
à Building Services
· Conservation Authorities
Due to the nature of the study area and the importance of the regional health care facilities and hospitals, a Special Advisory Group to deal with site-specific issues will have to be established. This Group will be consulted on matters such as specific development plans, access and egress issues, and environmental issues. This Special Advisory Group will have representation from the:
· Canadian Blood Services;
· Canadian Dental Association;
· Canadian Medical Association;
· Canadian Pharmacists Association;
· Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Research Institute;
· Conference Board of Canada;
· General Hospital and Eye Institute; and
· National Defense Medical Centre.
The study area for the Alta Vista Parkway spans many different communities with their own characteristics, needs, and values. In order to fully address both local and regional issues, a Public Advisory Committee will be established with representation from:
· Ottawa East(including Rideauview)
· Sandy Hill
· Alta Vista(including Riverview Heights, Faircrest Heights and Canterbury)
· Greenboro(including South Keys and Hunt Club Park)
· Special Interests - pedestrians, cyclists, transit, environmental and social groups
In addition to the Advisory groups, the Project Team will consult with the general public at three planned Open Houses. Information for review and comment at these formal Open Houses could be as follows:
Open House #1
Open House #2
Open House #3
· Study Purpose
· Need and Justification
· Study Process & Schedule
· Existing Conditions
· Alternatives to the Undertaking
· Evaluation Criteria
· Preliminary Screening of
· Next Steps
· Development of Options
· Evaluation Criteria
· Assessment of Options
· Environmental Effects
· Next Steps
· Recommended Option
· Mitigation Plan
· Next Steps
At all Open Houses, there will be bilingual representatives from the Project Team and all presentation material will be in both official languages.
There are no immediate financial implications by approving this report.
The proposed 2001 Capital Budget includes the funding for the completion of the Environmental Assessment. Any funding requirements as a result of the recommendations from the study will be included in future City of Ottawa Budgets as construction is approved.
Document 1 - Alta Vista Parkway Environmental Assessment Study Area
Following Committee and Council approval of this draft Study Terms of Reference, the originating department will prepare a detailed study design for the consultant assignment. The consultant selection process will follow the established practice with the posting of the Proposal Call on MERX.
Original Public Advisory Committee and Public Consultation Plan Attachment 2