Recommended Plan Released for Public Comment – McKellar Park / Highland Park / Westboro ATM Study

31 01 2012

In case you missed it on our Councillor’s site, today is the last day to submit comments on the McKellar Park / Highland Park / Westboro ATM Study at: www.ottawa.ca/mckellaratm. You can also submit comments to  Katherine.Hobbs@ottawa.ca

The following is from an email that was circulated from the City of Ottawa:

This Recommended Plan is essentially the same plan that was presented to the Pubic Working Group in 2008, and which focuses on providing visual cues to motorists about being in a residential area, and driving accordingly, and about facilitating pedestrian crossing movements.

This overall study process has seen many challenges along the way – some of which remain unresolved even today.  A significant challenge, in fact, relates to the amount of time that has transpired since most of the data and input for this study were collected and analyzed, leaving the potential for concerns being raised regarding the continued validity of this data.  Starting this process over again, however, is not an option.  While the data and public input utilized thus far may in some cases be outdated, the likelihood of an updated process resulting in substantially different recommendations than those brought forward in 2008 is seen as being relatively low.

In 2008, at the time the preliminary traffic management plan was presented to the study Public Working Group, the intent was to follow-up with a Public Open House where the plan would be presented to the general public for comment, and to subsequently seek formal approval of the proposed plan.  Some members of the Public Working Group, however, expressed significant concerns over the lack of recommendations aimed at reducing traffic volumes.  The main focus of these concerns related to traffic use of streets in the McKellar Park Community, and most particularly around what some participants considered to be excessive traffic activities on the Fraser Avenue connection to/from Sherbourne Road.  As a result, at the request of the Ward Councillor at the time, the formal study process was essentially put on hold in order to permit the McKellar Park Community to bring forward other potential solutions for consideration, and to allow the Community to attempt to reach an internal consensus on an alternative plan that they would like the City to consider.  The formal McKellar Park / Highland Park / Westboro Area Traffic Management Study process has essentially been on hold since 2008.  There have been, however, informal discussions with the McKellar Park representatives since that time regarding further options.

More recently, as part of Council’s process of approving overall Council priorities for the current term of Council, as well as through associated Capital budget process considerations regarding the Area Traffic Management Program, Council recently directed that staff report back with an Area Traffic Management program priority update in the first quarter of 2012.  Council also approved $2.5M in Capital funding (as part of the 2012 Budget) for the implementation of approved area traffic management measures, while indicating this was intended as the full funding allocation for this program for the current term of Council (i.e., through to the end of 2014).  With this in mind, continued delays in finalizing the McKellar Park / Highland Park / Westboro Area Traffic Management Study would mean that recommendations from this study would not be considered for implementation until after the next round of municipal elections.

The detour plan that was in place this past fall provided additional insights into the potential benefits and impacts of traffic volume solutions, but has not provided any obvious traffic volume management solutions that could be expected to achieve broader, community-wide, support.  If anything, these detours have raised overall levels of concern and sensitivities regarding traffic volume management solutions, and highlighted the importance of maintaining good connections for the overall community.

Given the above considerations, it is recommended that the City proceed with approval of the recommended plan, as initially proposed in 2008, by mid-February of this year, to allow the City to take advantage of potentially the only available source of implementation funding before the end of the current term of Council.  By doing this, recommended measures from the study would be considered in the report being brought before Transportation Committee and Council, in April of this year, on implementation priorities for the area traffic management program.

The stated emphasis of the 2008 plan, which was about focusing on providing visual cues to motorists about being within a residential area, and driving accordingly, and about facilitating pedestrian crossings, remains valid today.

The need for traffic calming measures along Fraser Avenue, in light of both the high volume of traffic and speeds, also remains valid today.   As mentioned earlier, it is recognized that some residents along Fraser Avenue may not support the use of speed humps along their street, as recommended.  As such, the suggested approach for moving forward with approval would be to seek approval of the 2008 plan, as proposed, but with a commitment to Fraser Avenue residents to work with them on refining these proposed traffic calming measures.  As stated above, where area residents do not support the proposed measures every effort will be made to find alternative measures, within the same general range of implementation costs, and that are seen as appropriate for addressing the confirmed issues and are not expected to result in any significant traffic volume shifts to other community streets.

Given the significant time constraints for being able to consider measures from this study as part of the 2012 funding envelope, an accelerated approval process is also being proposed, as follows:

Early January 2012

  •  Distribute the recommended plan to members of the Public Working Group for this study for comment, along with details of intended approval process
  • Circulate the recommended plan to technical agencies for comment
  • Provide public notice of the recommended plan being available for review and comment through the City’s website, with comment deadline by the end of January
  • Post the recommended plan through the City’s website, with details on how to provide comments

End of January 2012

  • Deadline for public comment on recommended plan

Early February 2012

  • Seek Delegated Authority approval of recommended plan (after considering public comments received), including Ward Councillor concurrence

 

 

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One response

8 01 2014
shaweetz

Reblogged this on Friends of Broadview Avenue Coalition and commented:
This post from the WCA about the traffic study is now old, but provides some relevant context for the discussion we are having now.

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