Montreal Road Working Group – November 22, 2018

We had a good turn out to our November working group despite the cold weather. Mario gave his latest project updates. He and his team are currently concentrating on two issues: the design of intersections (26 in total) and how to accommodate cycling at each one. This is a difficult task as some intersections are quite tight.

At the working group’s request, staff reinvestigated the three lanes versus four lanes options between North River Road and the Vanier Parkway. (The Vanier Parkway to St Laurent sector has already been designated as three lanes.)

We looked at three different options for the North River to Vanier Parkway sector. Option 1 was 2 lanes westbound and 1 lane eastbound (the same configuration as the eastern corridor).

With option 1 there is still not enough room for full cycle track. In this arrangement, parking would stay as it is on the north side but there would not be any parking on the south side. This would also cause a potential traffic back-up of over 500 metres for traffic wanting to travel east.

The downside to this option is that there would be a 110% increase in eastbound travel times for vehicles and a 60% increase in eastbound bus travel times during the afternoon peak. Due to the significant transit delays and the concern of emergency vehicle access, this option is not recommended.

Option 2 is 1 lane westbound and 2 lanes eastbound. This option accompanies a 20% transit delay and a 45% traffic delay, which is a significant improvement over option 1. The showstopper is the parking situation. In this scenario the parking lane would be on the south instead of the north; thus, this would take away the parking/ loading zones from all the businesses on the north side.

Mario did a survey of these businesses (16 out of 25 were consulted) and he learned that some businesses have up to 30 deliveries per day. Without a parking lane, they would be in danger of going out of business.

Option 3 is the status quo (4 lanes in total). With this option, there would not be designated cycling facilities. There would be sharrows in the short-term, and gradually with new developments, the City would take back the right of way space. Sharrows are not our first choice, but adding cycling infrastructure to a city is like completing a puzzle, meaning it can sometimes be a slow process to connect all the pieces.

This being said, we are working on providing a dedicated cycle detour using Mark St. It’ll be for the cyclists who are less confident on busy roads.

Option 3 comes with a 10% delay for buses and a 35% delay in car travel. Based on this information, option 3 is the recommended option.

The next step for this project is to consult the BIA and bring these options to the open house (currently slated for late January 2019).

Following this discussion on travel lanes, we switched over to public art. As part of this project, it was decided that Vanier should have a public art plan.

A public art plan is a document that takes multiple visions and makes a cohesive momentum of the narrative. Our plan will include guiding themes, possible locations/opportunities, priorities, budget, timelines and recommendations.

Rebecca Carbin is our new art consultant. Ms. Carbin’s company is called Art + Public Unltd. She has over 18 years of experience, including being the Public Art Officer for the City of Toronto.

Public art can take the form of sculptures/installations, murals, lighting/sound installations or temporary performances. At the working group meeting, we brainstormed words for the kind of art we would like to see for Montreal Road/Vanier. Words that came up were: interactive, fun, engaging, illuminating, and gritty. Residents were adamant that the art should remain true to nature of the neighborhood.

Ms. Carbin plans to consult Vanier residents through community workshops, which will hopefully start in December. She will also be at the next Montreal Road Open House. The artwork selections will occur in the spring in order for the installations to happen concurrently with the rest of the construction. If you’re not already subscribed to the Montreal Road Revitalization Project newsletter please visit: www.ottawa.ca/esubscriptions.