DCA advice to City re Bayview LRT Station

Following up on some meetings with City staff, the transportation committee sent the following note to the meeting participants at the City, on May 27, 2011:
Bayview Station access

Thank you for taking the time to discuss with us our concerns about the Bayview Station design and access. The conversation was productive and worthwhile. We look forward to continued dialogue and frank exchange of views which will result in a better OLRT and neighborhood.

To summarize our views, here are some points that you might find helpful.

1. Station design: the vaulted roof design for the station canopy is attractive. The east end of the station should frame the view of the downtown, including an arc of skyline, as well as the foreground. This dramatic view should be visible right from the top of the escalators from the O-Train platform. It would be good if future LeBreton Flats developments kept this sightline unobstructed.(This view plane might also be of use for the nationally significant building proposed to the north of the Station).

2. Slide 151 refers to River views from the Station, at least until a nationally significant building is constructed north of the station. We look forward to these views, as well as possible views west.

3. Albert Street is slated for reconstruction in the near future. It forms a vital access route between the community and the station. We think it is crucial that the mandate of the Albert Street project be extended to include all of the immediate station surroundings east of Bayview Road. The current project limit at City Centre Avenue means the City may fall short of seizing the opportunities to make a successful station integration into the present and future urban fabric. Since the section of Albert in question services two OLRT Stations there is additional opportunity to shape a significant urban area to be transit-oriented.

4. The north-south MUP on the east side of the O-Train right of way (to be constructed by others) is important to the community and the success of the Bayview Station. We strongly favour the design that takes this MUP right up onto the current O-Train access paths at the overpasses. When the Station is built, the MUP should continue under the Station with access to the concourse (O-Train level) entry point, and then continue north.

5. We support identifying a future north-south MUP alignment on the west side of the O-Train tracks from the point of the former Old Wellington crossing, north to the Ottawa River. We support a level crossing at the Old Wellington alignment. This crossing need not wait for a future time, but could immediately provide a useful connection between the north-south MUP and West Wellington.

6. We support the provision of a MUP along the east side of Tom Brown arena & soccer fields. This should extend to connect with Breezehill Avenue North, which in turn runs south to Somerset and the residential and employment nodes there. There may be opportunities to combine this path with the north-south MUP mentioned in point 5 (above).

7. We strongly support the provision of a staircase on the SW corner of the Albert overpass down to the Tom Brown site. We also think it would be useful to leave the existing staircase in place at the NE corner, which offers a route to the O-Train platform.

8. Items 6 and 7 (above) should be provided as part of the Station construction and access plans, and not left for provision by others.

9. Our community puts a very high value on the east-west MUP’s on the north side of Albert Street and Scott Street. We feel strongly that they need to be connected in a straight, level, and attractive manner. These paths offer enormous potential for neighborhood utility traffic, for cycling commuters, and for local access to the Bayview Station. The east-west MUP’s must be connected as essential components of the Bayview Station plan and not left “for others”.

10. The current array of slides offers different alignments of the east-west MUP. We agree that the connection must be obvious, attractive to users, as level as possible, and offer subjective safety. We look forward to working with the City to review the next iteration of the Bayview plans (hopefully well before the public meetings) showing a MUP set back from the curb, from City Centre Avenue to the Station, under the track to the north side of the station, past the O-Train platform, across the valley, and eventually connecting to the Scott Street MUP.

11. We are willing to consider other alignment options for the east-west MUP if better ones can be developed.

12. Due to the (currently) isolated nature of the O-Train valley area, the MUPs should be elevated on embankments about 12’ above the valley floor. They should be overlooked by the OLRT platform waiting areas and down escalators of the Station. We are willing to convene a focus group of cyclists and walkers to offer input on the alignments to ensure they are attractive and safe.

13. Some slides show a future MUP along the north side of the Station connecting to the aqueduct MUP’s. We support this.

14. Slide 157 shows the front entry plaza to the Station. The crosswalk at Albert is offset from the plaza, probably for the convenience of motorists. This will induce jaywalking and pedestrian risk as it does not reflect pedestrian desires. The plaza can be redrawn to angle more east (or the crosswalk moved west). Note that the only vehicular access to the 801 Albert development site is from this area, and signalized intersection should meet both needs.

15. We agree that a kiss-and-ride drop off spot is useful. It should be kept very small (max 2 cars each direction) , safe, and not inconvenience pedestrians or cyclists. The proposed crescent extending north of City Centre Avenue should align with a signalized intersection there – this could reduce the need for turns from Albert at its westerly end (and making it one way westbound even better). We ask that the design team consult frequently with the community on the proposed crescent and TOD site – we are concerned that it not become a long term auto-oriented land use.

16. The overpass taking Albert Street across the O-Train alignment is very unfriendly to pedestrians and cyclists. The sidewalks are narrow. The curving road alignment and narrow lanes squeeze cyclists and impinge on pedestrian space. The is a strong sense of subjective danger and discomfort. A redesign of the overpass surface is required. This discomfort will reduce the attractiveness of the Station to persons employing active transportation means. Landscaping and other features at the Station should serve to “close in” the road so the right of way does not appear so “freeway like”, which will clue drivers to reduce speed.

17. We were greatly encouraged by the openness of the City design team to a grade-crossing of the O-Train at the Old Wellington alignment. We feel it is also important to keep open the existing legal and marked crossing of the transitway at the Preston “extension”. This route provides the shortest and most direct route for residents along the Preston spine onto the NCC riverfront parklands, museums, festival sites, and pathways.

Ref: slide 157