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Recent Additions to this site:
Jan 2015: Airport Parkway Widening
Dec 2014: Sir John A Macdonald Parkway Linear Park
Nov 2014: O'Connor St Bikeway
CCC Latest News
The release of the Downtown Tunnel Feasibility Study occurred in Aug 2016 (delayed from Q1 2016). This Study examined several possible routes for a tunnel from the 417 to the Macdonald-Cartier bridge and concluded that a tunnel was technically feasible.
The recommended route for a tunnel would locate it's southern portal off the Vanier Parkway near Coventry Rd and continue under the Rideau River, East Sandy Hill, East Lowertown with the northern portal at the southern end of the Macdonald-Cartier bridge.
The proposed tunnel would be 3.4km long, would in fact be 2 separate tunnels (one for each direction of travel), with 2 lanes in each tunnel. The cost was estimated at between 1.7B$ and 2.0B$ (2015$). It was estimated that if the tunnel existed in 2016 that it would carry approximately 1700 trucks and 20,000-25,000 cars per day. During the peak afternoon period the car traffic would approach 1400 vehicles per hour and a forecast was made that this would increase to 2500 vehicles per hour by 2031. Unfortunately the Study did not provide any forecast for how much additional truck traffic the tunnel would carry by 2031.
Ottawa City Council on Sep 14, 2016 voted 21-2 to set aside 2.5m$ in the 2017 budget for a detailed environmental assessment (EA) for this tunnel and commissioned the Mayor to approach the provincial and federal governments to also contribute to the funding of the EA on a 1/3 basis. The EA process includes significant opportunities for formal public consultations. It is expected it would take 3-4 years to complete.
The CCC welcomes this result and believes strongly that after 50 years of urban decay and several decades of failed solution attempts, that a viable solution must be found to the problem of over 2000 interprovincial trucks transiting through downtown streets every day.
Documents for Download:
The Study document and further supporting technical appendices (as of Aug 2016) can be downloaded from the City of Ottawa website at this link: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-consultations/transportation/study-documents
On Apr 6, 2016 Councilor Chernushenko has signalled an intention to bring a motion before Transportation Committee requesting that the City undertake a study concerning the broad issues of 'user pay' for roads. The intention of this study is to have its results available for consideration during the 2018 update of the Transportation Master Plan.
At one end of the spectrum, user pay approaches could be designed to focus on congestion pricing as a means to shift auto demand away from peak periods, thus reducing time lost due to congestion while at the same time raising revenues that could be used to re-invest in more transportation options. On the other end of the spectrum, user pay approaches could be designed to focus on raising the revenue required to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the road network, opening the possibility of shifting these costs off the general property tax bill and allocating them more fairly to those who use the road resource the most.
But, there is opposition to the idea, including from Mayor Jim Watson. In contrast, the City of Toronto is proceeding with a study, and even The Globe and Mail newspaper is urging cities to get on with it.
Implementation of any form of pricing/funding of our road use is a long ways away but all journeys start with a first step. That step requires analysis of key concepts such as potential pricing tools, realistic projections of the funds they could raise, benefits they could provide, analysis of what roads are really costing us, equity and inclusion implications, etc. These would form the foundation for the start of an informed public policy debate.
The City has shown its willingness to enter into these kinds of funding consultations with the public as exemplified by the current initiative to discuss new and fairer ways to allocate to users the funding of our water and sewer infrastructure.
We cannot continue to avoid starting similar discussions on how we fund and improve our transportation network.
A recent Ottawa Citizen article reports a Nov 2015 internal city memo that states that as a result of lower than expected collections of development charges that funding would not be available to start this project until at least 2020 or possibly even longer. That represents a delay of several years from the original plan.
Just a few more years of delay and it just may be possible to realize our preferred plan to have the Trillium Line extension to south of the Airport (planned for 2023) completed first and to evaluate the timing/need for the road expansion once the benefits of the transit expansion can be realized and evaluated. Later in January 2016 the mayor hinted that he would be supportive of re-prioritizing the Trillium line expansion ahead of the road expansion.
Both articles go on to provide the details that the City had expected 43m$ of development charges revenues annually but that going forward a more realistic projection was 26m$ annually. A city official is then quoted as saying "the new reality means that road projects will be introduced at a slower rate to match available funding". This 'new reality' is something that the CCC was already suspicious of starting back in 2012 as discussed in this post.
The City held its first public open house on Jan 27, 2015 to present and solicit feedback on its proposal to widen the airport parkway.
This project is proposed to have a 3 stage rollout as follows:
Stage 1: expand Airport parkway to 4 lanes divided hwy between Hunt Club and Brookfield
- Completion is envisioned for 2019, Projected Cost: 31m$
Stage 2: expand Lester Rd to 4 lanes between Albion Rd and the Airport Parkway
- Completion envisioned for 2020-2025 timeframe, Projected Cost: 13m$
Stage 3: expand Airport parkway to 4 lanes divided hwy between the Airport and Hunt Club
- Completion envisioned for 2026-2031 timeframe, projected cost 36m$
End-End project cost = 80m$
The study is expected to go through 3 rounds of public open houses and be finished in the latter half of 2016.
More details...Airport Parkway Widening: Details
On Nov 29th the Province of Ontario committed 375,000$ to co-fund a study proposed by the City of Ottawa on the feasibility of implementing a downtown tunnel between the 417 and the Macdonald-Cartier bridge as a possible solution to the downtown interprovincial truck problem.
It was announced at the press conference that they expected to complete this study over the next 12-15 months. Glenn Murray the provincial minister of infrastructure and transport in his address affirmed that they would not be committing to spend this kind of money unless they were serious about exploring this possibility.
The City's 2-page backgrounder document is an excellent summary of the proposed scope of the study. From the document:
There will be two parts to the study of a tunnel alternative:
Phase One: The first part of the study will assess the technical feasibility of constructing a tunnel and its portals; impacts of portals on adjacent land use, transportation facilities and buildings; ventilation requirements and impacts; potential conflicts with existing utilities and the Confederation Line; geotechnical analysis; the feasibility of using the tunnel by trucks carrying dangerous goods; other relevant tunnelling issues, and construction costs.
Phase Two: If a tunnel solution is deemed technically feasible based on the analysis completed in Phase One, the second phase will go into more depth, and look at issues such as the likely utilization of the tunnel by long-distance trucks and cars; potential community impacts; as well as the potential for repurposing surface streets.
On Nov 15 2013, the City's Transportation Committee met to review the draft 2013 Transportation Master Plan which outlines the transportation vision for the City to 2031 and beyond. One item that is always mentioned in these Transportation Master Plans is the need for a solution to the downtown interprovincial truck problem. In the past that solution has always been listed as a new interprovincial bridge somewhere in the City's east end. In a surprising move, a motion was tabled and passed at this meeting indicating the City was prepared to commit to funding 50% of a 750,000$ feasibility study for a downtown tunnel (to carry trucks) connecting the 417 to the Macdonald-Cartier bridge contingent on the Province of Ontario committing to be a co-funder of the study which is to be led by the City.
This is a welcome move by the City of Ottawa especially in light of the collapse in June 2013 of the initiative to build a new bridge across the Ottawa River. While the CCC was a participant in that interprovincial bridge study, it had lobbied during the past 5 years that an analysis of a downtown tunnel between the 417 and the existing Macdonald-Cartier bridge should be part of the overall assessment process related to a potential new interprovincial bridge. This was largely because it was becomimg increasingly clear that a new east end bridge would at best be only a partial solution to the downtown truck problem and a solution that required a highly unpopular shifting of trucks into other residential areas of Ottawa and Gatineau. In response the Study partners issued a short tunnel memo which discounted a tunnel option claiming that it was not feasible and did not meet the projected 2031 needs to enable more cars to cross the Ottawa River. The CCC (as well as other community groups) was never satisfied with the level of analysis that was undertaken as part of that memo.
The Nov 15th motion of the City of Ottawa indicates that the City is now prepared to do a more detailed feasibility analysis of this tunnel option.
Further information: Downtown Tunnel Option Detailed Discussion
The 2013 TMP updates the list of road expansion projects envisioned between 2014 and 2031. The Alta Vista Transportation Corridor (AVTC) phases 2 and 3 were both listed as post 2031 projects. The CCC has been arguing for years that this road was poor urban planning and should be removed from the plan. Although the City did not remove it from the 2013 plan, the delay of more than 15 years as compared to the 2008 Plan indicates that the CCC has a valid argument. More details about this roadway are provided on the AVTC details page.
On Nov 15th the CCC provided comments to the Draft 2013 TMP. Copies of the actual submissions are available on our 2013 TMP page. The comments were focused on the following areas all identified to be of common interest across the CA`s participating in the CCC.
a) Interprovincial Transit
- need for a better plan to reduce the cars cuttting through downtown CA`s (in both directions)
- need a better plan to reduce the volume of STO buses on Rideau & Wellington
b) Interprovincial Truck Route-Trucks in the downtown
- need for a review of the current truck routes to explore possibilities to reduce the impact of the current truck routes (short term action)
- and a need for the City to be proactive and take the lead with other levels of government to get started on a new long term plan (now that the east end interprovincial bridge project has been halted)
c) A more ambitious cycling plan
- the proposed TMP has a very ambitious plan to transform transit but only a status quo plan to improve cycling
- we are not clear on why the `affordability lens` allows for such an ambitious transit plan but an un-ambitious cycling plan and we would like to request more focus on correcting missing links and unsafe stretches of road for cycling in our communities
d) Improving the Pedestrian experience
- because so many people walk in the downtown communities, we need more emphasis on improving walkability and safety. These include...better repairs of cracks & holes in existing sidewalks, better snow and ice clearing, slowing of traffic in areas of high pedestrian volumes
- also there are many measures that can be made that communicate the pre-eminence of walking in our communities such as compelling construction sites to keep sidewalks more open during construction periods
e) More visibility of decision making criteria on TMP infrastructure projects
- in general, there was a sense that not enough information had been provided in the TMP to indicate why certain transit, cycling, and road projects were prioritized over others
- even city councillors seemed in the dark on many of these
- also, the plan contains many changes from the 2008 plan and we believe there would be more credibility of the current plan if it explained the reasoning behind the changes (ie.. why did many important projects in 2008 suddenly become so much less of a priority)
The NCC led interprovincial transit study which was initiated in 2009 published its concluding report in April 2013. It consists of a single summary document together with a number of supporting documents focused on specific sub-topics (long term network infrastructure evolution, user experience harmonization, STO/OC Transpo bus operations improvements, governance issues). The full set of these can be found on the Interprovincial Transit Study Resources page. There appears to be no intention to have the recommendations of the report brought to Ottawa City Council for their deliberation.
This final report recommends tweaks to improve the operational integration between OC Transpo and STO but does not recommend any major inter-provincial transit changes until at least 2031 at which time it is suggested that the STO Rapibus facility be converted to LRT with a link across the Ottawa River west of downtown. The report identifies challenges to finding a way to terminate this new interprovincial LRT line in downtown Ottawa, outlines several possible options (transfer all passengers to Ottawa east-west LRT, operate through Ottawa's tunnel, or build a new line on the surface in Ottawa's downtown) and leaves a final decision to some time in the future.
In terms of STO bus operations in downtown Ottawa, the report basically calls for the status quo of ~100 buses per hour on Rideau/Wellington streets for another 20 years. This is combined with 35 OC Transpo buses per hour on the Rideau portion which together translates to approximately 1 bus every 25 seconds (during rush hours for another 20 years). Uninspiring to say the least.
In the interim (between 2013 and 2031) the study identifies the possibility of extending the existing O-Train across the river. This will not address the core challenge of moving large numbers of passengers to/from Ottawa's downtown. It's main benefit would be allowing some interprovincial passengers better connections between points south and west in Ottawa and Gatineau's downtown without them needing to connect through existing downtown transit routes. This would help to reduce slightly the number of STO buses downtown. Similarly, a potential new bridge at Kettle Island could carry some bus routes which would enable some transit trips between the east sides of both cities without those passengers needing to transit through the downtown. This too helps reduce slightly the number of STO buses in Ottawa's downtown. The O-Train interprovincial extension and bus routes on a Kettle Is bridge are not core to the long term interprovincial transit strategy.
More detailed information about the results of the study and the CCC's involvement can be found on this interprovincial transit study webpage.
This is the NCC's interprovincial transit study website.
On May 14th 2013, the NCC announced the decision of their "Evaluation Committee" regarding the "technically preferred corridor" for a new interprovincial bridge in the east end of the NCR. The choice was Kettle Island (via Aviation Parkway-Montee Paiement). Kettle Island was preferred over 2 other corridors under consideration, both of which were located further east. This is basically a re-confirmation of the Phase 1 study which also recommended Kettle Island in 2008. Previous studies in the 1990's had also arrived at similar conclusions.
The CCC was present at all stages of the study and attended the May 14th announcement to the public consultation group which consisted mostly of representatives of community groups that were adjacent to the 3 different east end corridors under evaluation.
Reaction was swift with local politicians at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels for the affected area all declaring that they would not support a bridge at Kettle Island. Reasons given included that these areas were too built up as residential areas to be appropriate for such a corridor and that the proposed bridge was not providing an adequate solution to the volumes of inter-provincial trucks in the downtown.
The detailed evaluation report which explains the decision making process used to demonstrate why the Kettle I. corridor is the best route is presented in this Final Evaluation Report. The evaluation scored all of the corridors with a weighted evaluation of factors such as transportation, social, cultural, environmental, land-use, cost and economic spin-off effect. The study claimed that even if the weighting factors were varied significantly more towards measuring social and environmental effect that Kettle Island would still score consistently better than the other corridors.
The proposed project costs were updated as 1.1B$. This cost is composed of approximately 50% bridge costs, 25% new road work on the approaches to the bridge and 25% for engineering and contingency. The proposed bridge consists of 2 traffic and 1 dedicated transit lane in each direction. The roadway approaches on both the Ottawa and Gatineau side need to be modified and widened, significant interchange modifications required at the 417 and 50 interchanges, and overpasses would be built when the corridor crosses over Ogilvy Road on the Ottawa side and Blvd Maloney on the Quebec side.
A more detailed report can be found on our Interprovincial Crossings Details page,