Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DCA Comments on DOTT

The DCA offered the following detailed comments on the most recent proposals for the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel (DOTT), its stations, and impacts on the Dalhousie Community:

Dennis Gratton
City of Ottawa

re DCA comments on DOTT

 The Dalhousie Community Association represents the area from Bay Street to Bayview, from the Ottawa River to Carling. It is named for the former Dalhousie Ward that covered the same area.


The Dalhousie Community Association reiterates its support for a comprehensive LRT system.

LeBreton Station, Booth Street: This will be the main station for our community west of the escarpment.

We like:

• The station location under an elevated Booth Street is good.

• that a permanent station building is shown as part of the station at construction time. We do not want temporary station facilities or bus shelters.

• the platform waiting area roof structure forms part of the eventual ground level on the south side of the station.

Improvement Wanted:

• There should be a space behind the platform on the south side, before the retaining walls, to allow a bike path to pass behind the station, similar to the bike route arrangement passing the current Queensway Station. (This is in addition to the bike route on the north side of aqueduct).

We don’t like:

• the current proposal has too much road widening for a transit plan. It creates roads and intersections that are incompatible with dense urban environment, and does not foster a walkable or cycle-able city.

• Booth Street is shown as having too many southbound lanes between the aqueduct and Albert. Remedies to this situation include:

a) eliminating the southbound movement of single occupancy commuter traffic into the residential area to the south, so all southbound vehicles turn east or west onto Albert; or

b) incorporating a traffic signal near the aqueduct that has a green delayed from the timing of the signal at Albert, thus allowing southbound buses to leave the platform and turn east at Albert before the rest of the traffic approaches the intersection, this would eliminate one bus queing lane and special bus signals. The LeBreton development land is too valuable to be used as queuing lanes for low-occupancy vehicles.

Improvements Wanted:

• Some of the planned bus handling lanes at LeBreton Station could be scaled back if the LRT service is continued to Gatineau on the Prince of Wales Bridge since fewer buses would be required for interprovincial service when the LRT is extended across the river.

• Albert Street is shown as having additional turn lanes onto Booth northbound. When Albert is queued up it is because Booth is congested all the way over to the river. The new overpass will not solve that issue. Adding queuing lanes will not speed up traffic, it just moves the queue closer to the intersection. Stop catering to single-occupancy car commuters.

• The seven lanes proposed on Albert on the west side of the intersection makes a road that is ill-scaled to a dense urban environment and incompatible with a safe pedestrian and cycling environment. Reduce the lane count!

• The proposed six lanes on the east side of the intersection is also too many. At a minimum, remove the northmost turn lane. Note that in the 2008 TMP update, Albert Street widening was specifically removed by Council. Whether the lanes are stack lanes, queuing lanes or through lanes, they widen the intersection too much.

Recommendation:

• stop catering to single occupancy car commuter traffic at the peak hours. Instead, invest in LRT to minimize land take and foster a compact urban environment. Building an LRT system is not an excuse to build more roads, more lanes, or enable car commuting.

Downtown West Station:

We Like:

• The location of the station

• The direct connection to the new Library civic complex

We recommend:

• the temporary station entrance on Albert at the site of the future Library should be as low cost as possible and fully incorporated into the future library building, to provide maximum value for money and the least “throw away” or temporary structure.

• the potential station connection to Constitution Square should occur as close to street level as possible in order to form a connection also to the Place de Ville concourse without users having to enter the fare-paying portion of the station. If that PDV concourse connection is not possible, then a station-to-Constitution connection is still desirable, as would an extension south to Minto Place. This might require the Constitution connection to be below the level of the parking garages.

• Provision should be made for a station connection to the vacant development lands at Kent/Albert with possible onward connection to the 240 Sparks concourse, should the PDV concourse owners not be amenable to connecting to other concourses.

Campus Station:

We strongly recommend:

• a station access point be located on the northwest end of the platform, connecting directly with the Corktown Bridge (east side, at bridge level). A direct and easy access to the pedestrian bridge will make the Campus Station very accessible and usable to City Hall, the Golden Triangle, Elgin Street, and Centretown residents.


Bayview Station:

We like:

• a large all-weather permanent station building built as part of the initial LRT system. We need the station built as a catalyst to the development of the Bayview Yards and LeBreton lands on the north side of Scott-Albert. Bayview is a prime potential exemplar of transit development leading urban intensification and brownfield development. If the station is “delayed” to a future date, and temporary bus shelters are installed instead, then the attractiveness of these prime downtown lands will be compromised.

We want:

• the extension of the LRT service via the Prince of Wales Bridge to Gatineau as part of an interprovincial link, preferably built simultaneous to the first phase of the E-W LRT. Extending LRT service to Gatineau will provide the highest level of interprovincial service.

We oppose:

• bringing Rapibus over to Ottawa on a converted POW bridge. The long-term future of an interprovincial transit connection and / or loop is LRT, not a transitway. It is wasteful to build a Rapibus link that would only have to be converted to LRT in the future – build the LRT link now, keep the Rapibus station on the Gatineau side.

• A Rapibus road to Ottawa will permit / enable the long-term operation of STO buses through downtown streets, obviating the benefits of an underground LRT and reducing LRT passenger volumes

• Any dual-class transit system. It is unacceptable that downtown Ottawa should have modern LRT service while Quebec residents / employees must use older-technology buses. Extend the LRT to Gatineau over the POW bridge.

Improvements wanted:

• We have no objection to relocating the current OTrain station to the west side of the cut. But the drawings fail to show a ground level connection to either the north or southside sidewalks on Albert. We recommend that pedestrian access go directly from the OTrain platform to Albert on the south side without having to cross Albert at grade (as is the current situation). This reflects local pedestrian desire lines. There is lots of room in the underpass, use it.

• Recall that the OTrain and current BRT are valued and popular forms of transit to local residents and workers and the Bayview Station must service local residents as well as being a transfer point from OTrain to LRT. Local residents are conversant with the desire lines of local users and we will gladly consult with planners to meet our needs.

We do not want:

• Any bus marshalling facility for STO or OC Transpo. We do not see any long-term need for a bus vehicle marshalling facility on this side of the downtown, or this side of the River for STO. We do not think any bus marshalling facility should be accommodated in the Bayview area once the LRT service is extended west beyond Tunney’s.

Improvements Wanted:

• As part of the extensive infrastructure developments now planned for the Bayview site, provision must be made for both on-street and off-street cycling facilities. The current Albert Street overpass over the OTrain is the major impediment to a safe and improved continuous cycling environment from the downtown to the west end. The major capital investments planned for this location must include dedicated cycling facility improvements, including a provision for a segregated cycling facility accessing the station and overpassing the OTrain cut.

Tunney’s Station:

We like:

• the DCA supports the location of a BRT transfer station located to the north of the current transitway platforms, with a generous –sized new underground connection to the LRT platforms.

We recommend:

• as part of widening the current pedestrian bridge over the transitway cut, the shelter at the south end of the bridge needs major changes. We recommend that the south-facing doors be removed and replaced by doors (possibly on both sides of the stairwells) facing east and west. These new doors would open directly onto a new outdoor waiting area. This will allow more space to handle the future bike path lanes. Pedestrians would then be channeled via two crosswalks across the path to access the curbside sidewalk and local westbound bus stops.

• The revised south shelter design and local bus stop must be arranged to permit the continued safe alignment of a multipurpose path and/or segregated bike path through the area. The current vague arrangement for the multipurpose path is unacceptable.

Handling Bus service during and after Tunney’s Pasture Station conversion:

We like:

• efforts to ensure that current transitway bus service is relocated to a variety of other roads, including the Ottawa River parkway, and not all dumped onto Scott-Albert. As part of this, we encourage the early elimination of direct express bus routes from the west to the downtown in favour of increased trunk services such as the 95.

We recommend:

• Once the LRT service opens to Tunney’s, the only bus service on Scott-Albert should be local 16-18 service and every fourth 95 going to Bayview-LeBreton-Gatineau (no downtown services). There should be no express bus services from the downtown to Tunney’s or Lincoln Fields and thence to points south or west.

• We encourage the city to consider routing the extended 95 service from Tunney’s via the Ottawa River Parkway to the bridges to Gatineau, both during and after the conversion period.

• No bus services should be routed onto Booth between Albert and the Queensway as this residential street already suffers total gridlock several hours a day and the street is not built to accommodate heavy vehicles.

Tunnel Construction entrance:

We know and accept that the tunnel entrance will be on lands east of Booth and north of Albert, that construction will be 24/7 for several years. Noise abatement features will be essential, as will dust abatement measures, especially if material is to crushed on site or cement made on site. Our association would be delighted to work with the City to devise the appropriate abatement measures.

Preston Extension:

We Like:

• that the Preston Extension over the LRT/transitway alignment, over the aqueduct, and connection to the existing intersection at Vimy, is planned for the initial phase of the LRT project.

We recommend:

• the link must be designed with its long term function in mind, not the short term. We accept that it may be desirable to have this link during the construction of the LeBreton Station and Booth Street overpass.

• The new road must be wide enough to incorporate proper cycling facilities and connections to east-west cycling facilities.

• If four traffic lanes wide, it must be reduceable to 2 lanes plus parking lanes once Booth reopens.

• Money must be set aside as part of the initial construction, for the necessary bulb-out construction and intersection realignments required later to reduce it to two traffic lanes from four. Preferably this would be a contractual obligation in the Preston and Booth construction contracts.

• The Albert-Preston intersection must not be widened, nor temporary or permanent turn lanes added to Albert for the Preston Extension.

• The sidewalks must be wide enough to handle large crowds (20,000+ people) exiting the LeBreton Park festival site. During the Booth overpass construction period, the Preston Extension will be the primary access to the festival site.



Sincerely,

Eric Darwin

President, Dalhousie Community Assoc.

EricDarwin1@gmail.com

www.DalhousieCommunityAssociation.blogspot.com

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