CAPITAL STANDARDS REVIEW FOR PUBLIC WORKS INFRASTRUCTURE - INTERIM REPORT

 

EXAMEN DES NORMES DE CAPITAL EN CE QUI A TRAIT À  L’INFRASTRUCTURE DES TRAVAUX PUBLICS - RAPPORT D’ÉTAPE

 

 

 

report RECOMMENDATION

 

That Council direct staff to proceed with further analysis of opportunities identified in Annex 1 of this report and report back with detailed associated financial and service implications as part of the final report to be submitted in February 2004.

 

 

RECOMMANDATION DU raPPORT

 

Que le Conseil municipal demande au personnel de procéder à une analyse plus approfondie des perspectives déterminées dans l’Annexe 1 du présent rapport et de présenter ses conclusions comprenant le détail des répercussions financières et internes qui y sont liées dans le cadre du rapport final, lequel doit être soumis en février 2004.

 

 

 

For the information of Committee

 

That Council approved the following motions:

 

Moved by Councillor R. Bloess

Seconded by Councillor J. Harder

 

WHEREAS the City of Ottawa faces very significant infrastructure challenges;

 

AND WHEREAS the city faces a significant budget challenge for the coming years;

 

AND WHEREAS the City’s restrictions on bidding and tendering its costing the taxpayers dearly;

 

AND WHEREAS the City of Ottawa is committed to fostering sustainability, competitive procurement and best practices;

 

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Ottawa open specifications on all its tenders for all future contracts, ensuring Ottawa taxpayers receive the benefits from open, transparent competition.

 

                                                                                                CARRIED


Moved by Councillor P. Hume

Seconded by Councillor R. Jellett

 

That the Capital Standards Review for Public Works Infrastructure – Interim Report be referred to the respective Standing Committees for discussion, debate and public delegations.

 

                                                                                    REFERRAL CARRIED

 

Pour la gouverne du comité 

 

Motion du conseiller R. Bloess

Appuyée par la conseillère J. Harder

 

Que le Conseil a approuvé les motions suivante :

 

ATTENDU QUE la Ville d’Ottawa doit relever des défis très importants en ce qui a trait à ses infrastructures;

 

ATTENDU QUE la Ville doit relever un défi budgétaire notable au cours des prochaines années;

 

ATTENDU QUE les restrictions de la Ville quant aux demandes de soumissions et aux appels d’offres reviennent chères aux contribuables;

 

ATTENDU QUE la Ville d’Ottawa s’est engagée à encourager la viabilité, un approvisionnement compétitif et les meilleures pratiques;

 

QU’IL SOIT PAR CONSÉQUENT RÉSOLU QUE le Conseil de la Ville d’Ottawa rende ses marchés futurs plus accessibles, de manière à ce que le processus soit plus ouvert et transparent pour les contribuables.

 

                                                                                    CARRIED

 

Motion du conseiller P. Hume

Appuyée par la conseiller R. Jellett

 

Que le rapport provisoire de l’examen des normes des immobilisations en ce qui a trait à l’infrastructure des travaux publics soit renvoyé aux comités permanents respectifs aux fins de discussion et de délibérations et aux fins des délégations publiques

 

                                                                                    RENVOI ADOPTÉ

 

Documentation

 

General Manager, Transportation, Utilities and Public Works report dated 4 December 2003 (ACS2003-TUP-INF-0022).


 

Report to/Rapport au :

 

Council / Conseil

 

4 December 2003 / le 4 décembre 2003

 

Submitted by/Soumis par : R.T. Leclair, General Manager/Directrice générale,

Transportation, Utilities and Public Works/Transport, services et travaux publics﷡

 

Contact Person/Personne ressource : Richard G. Hewitt, P.Eng., Director / Directeur

Infrastructure Services/Services d'infrastructure

(613) 580-2424 x21268, Richard.Hewitt@ottawa.ca

 

 

Ref N°: ACS2003-TUP-INF-0022

 

 

SUBJECT:

CAPITAL STANDARDS REVIEW FOR PUBLIC WORKS INFRASTRUCTURE - INTERIM REPORT

 

 

OBJET :

EXAMEN DES NORMES DE CAPITAL EN CE QUI A TRAIT À  L’INFRASTRUCTURE DES TRAVAUX PUBLICS – RAPPORT D’ÉTAPE

 

 

REPORT RECOMMENDATION

 

That Council direct staff to proceed with further analysis of opportunities identified in Annex 1 of this report and report back with detailed associated financial and service implications as part of the final report to be submitted in February 2004.

 

RECOMMANDATION DU RAPPORT

 

Que le Conseil municipal demande au personnel de procéder à une analyse plus approfondie des perspectives déterminées dans l’Annexe 1 du présent rapport et de présenter ses conclusions comprenant le détail des répercussions financières et internes qui y sont liées dans le cadre du rapport final, lequel doit être soumis en février 2004.

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Assumptions and Analysis:

 

As part of the City’s Long Range Financial Plan and the 2004 budget review process, the Department committed to undertaking a review of capital infrastructure standards in order to identify savings opportunities.  This process has been initiated and a number of opportunities have been identified.

This interim report is intended to provide Council with an overview of the review process completed to date and obtain direction from Council on the capital infrastructure standards opportunities that warrant further analysis and that should be considered in the final report to be presented in February 2004. 

 

Financial Implications:

 

The process has identified potential savings in a number of areas of capital standards.  Based on Council directions on the opportunities presented, the potential financial savings and anticipated timing for implementation will be identified as part of the report to be submitted in February 2004 as part of the budget review process.

 

Public Consultation/Input:

 

There has been no external public consultation included as part of this report.  This is expected occur as part of the overall public consultation process for the 2004 budget.

 

 

RÉSUMÉ

 

Hypothèses et analyse :

 

Dans le cadre du plan financier à long terme de la Ville et de l’examen du budget de 2004, le Service s’est engagé à procéder à l’examen des normes des immobilisations d’infrastructure en vue de déterminer les perspectives d’épargnes. Ce processus a été amorcé et plusieurs perspectives ont été déterminées.

 

Le rapport d’étape a pour objet de fournir au Conseil un aperçu du processus d’examen achevé jusqu’à ce jour et d’obtenir du Conseil des directives quant aux perspectives des normes des immobilisations d’infrastructure qui justifient une analyse plus approfondie et qui devraient être étudiées dans le rapport final, lequel doit être présenté en février 2004.

 

Répercussions financières :

 

Le processus a permis de cerner les épargnes possibles dans plusieurs secteurs des normes des immobilisations. En s’appuyant sur les directives du Conseil quant aux perspectives présentées, les épargnes financières possibles ainsi que le calendrier prévu pour leur mise en place seront déterminés et feront partie intégrante du rapport qui doit être soumis en février 2004 dans le cadre de l’examen du budget.

 

Consultation publique / commentaires :

 

Aucune consultation du public n’a été engagée à l’occasion du présent rapport. On en prévoit dans le cadre du processus global de consultation publique concernant le budget 2004.

 

 


BACKGROUND

 

In October 2002, Council approved the City’s first Long-Range Financial Plan (LRFP).  This plan offers a financial outlook for the City of Ottawa over a ten year period (2002-2011).  It is intended to increase understanding of the challenges the City faces as it grows, and to present a number of approaches for Council to consider as it sets a course for the future.

 

The LRFP identified an average funding gap of $40 million per year in the City’s capital plan.  To resolve this gap, Council made a number of policy recommendations including increasing the capital funded from pay-as-you-go, maintaining a $50 million minimum reserve balance, reviewing capital priorities, reviewing capital standards and reviewing revenue sources.  In terms of contributing factors, the LRFP also makes reference to infrastructure standards as a cost driver and suggests that a review of the standards would assist Council to identify areas of capital program cost reductions.

 

In June 2003, Council directed staff to prepare “a standards review for capital infrastructure…to assist the future Council in relation to decision making.”  In November 2003, Council was presented with the timetable and approach for the 2004 operating and capital budgets and approved the strategy for reviewing capital standards.  More specifically, the strategy included submitting to Council a report providing:

-           a clear description of the current infrastructure standards,

-           the nature of the possible revisions to the standard,

-           the range of potential savings and lifecycle implications, and

-           an assessment of the non-financial impacts of the revision.

 

It is also worth noting that the need to review infrastructure design standards was also reflected in the Department’s Integrated Asset Management Strategy for Public Works Infrastructure that was recently presented to Council in October 2003.  It indicates that capital design standards must be reviewed and revised to reflect the service levels associated with infrastructure assets and the assumptions and directions contained in the City’s Official Plan and supporting documents.  It highlights that design standards must meet legislated/regulatory and service standards while ensuring that the assets can be constructed or rehabilitated as economically as possible.  As part of the strategy endorsed by Council on the direction for infrastructure asset management, reviewing capital standards was identified as one of the necessary steps.

 

This report is intended to provide Council with an overview of the review process completed to date and obtain direction from Council on the capital infrastructure standards opportunities that warrant further analysis and that should be included in the report to be presented in February 2004.  The February 2004 report will also include the outcome of the comparison with other municipalities that have undertaken a similar study.

 


DISCUSSION

 

Drivers of Capital Standards

 

The drivers that affect capital standards and ultimately the cost of infrastructure include:

 

Policies which prescribe the quantity/location of infrastructure.  They are usually outlined in documents like the Official Plan, Infrastructure Plans, Transportation Master Plans (Cycling Plans, Pedestrian Plans).  Examples include where roads and sidewalks will be built, areas to be serviced with municipal water and sewer, streets to be illuminated, etc.

 

Functional requirements which define the performance criteria for the design of infrastructure. These generally drive the size of the infrastructure.  Examples include water consumption rates, traffic levels of service, design storm for drainage systems, etc.

 

 

Technical requirements which define the physical characteristics of the capital infrastructure such as type, thickness and strength of materials.  Examples include bridge structural details, road pavement structures, water and sewer pipe materials, etc.

 

Process requirements which define the delivery of capital projects.  Examples include when to tender, elements to be included in the tender, review process for large capital projects, etc.

 

The focus of this review is on the policy, functional and process requirements as these are deemed to be more significant drivers of infrastructure costs.  Although there are a number of opportunities at the technical guideline/specification level, many of these are not reflected in this report but will be addressed through the review of design guideline manuals (i.e. Sewer Design Guidelines, Water Design Guidelines, Road Design Guidelines, Transitway Design Manual, etc).  When completed, the will be factors considered within the strategic asset management framework. 

 

 

Review Methodology

 

The review of the infrastructure design standards considered the following points when determining the potential outcomes of changing the standards:

-         legislated requirements

-         contribution to Council objectives

-         Ottawa 20/20

-         quality/reliability of service

 


The review also looked at the type of infrastructure expenditures being forecasted in the LRFP and whether capital dollars are being spent on new developments or to rehabilitate existing infrastructure.  While the City’s capital budget may not immediately reflect a reduction as a result of a change in standards that applies to new development, the City will be assuming the lifecycle of the assets and will benefit accordingly.  In addition, lower infrastructure costs should result in lower development costs.

 

The review process used the Value Engineering/Management methodology as its basic approach and included both the participation of City staff and consultants.  Value Engineering / Management is an industry recognized process that seeks to provide an optimal lifecycle value while maintaining the desired function of the asset.  The methodology  seeks to identify savings opportunities while maintaining the quality, integrity and functionality of the assets.  In other words, it is not a process that looks at reducing immediate costs at the expense of function and the lifecycle of the assets.

 

Value Engineering is commonly used on specific design projects and it has been applied on a limited number of capital projects in Ottawa.  For example, the reconstruction of Woodroffe Avenue used this methodology and as a result was constructed with narrower traveling lanes which resulted in reducing the width of the paved surface of the roadway without affecting the function of the road to convey traffic.  This methodology was also applied to the replacement of the City’s primary water feedermains, referred to as the ABC lines, and concluded that the number of water lines (i.e. number of pipes) could be reduced from 3 to 2, thus resulting in significant capital savings.

 

For this project, the Value Engineering methodology was applied to a broader focus rather than a specific project.  This allowed staff to review infrastructure cost drivers and decisions at a more strategic levels and it resulted in the identification of a number of opportunities.  That said, it is recognized that some of these opportunities are not new and some have been implemented or considered in the past at varying levels.  This review provides a mechanism to formalize some of these opportunities.

 

Summary of Opportunities

 

An overview of the opportunities/ideas is presented in Annex 1.  The City’s major service areas that were the subject of the capital standards review process are categorized as follows:

  1. Program and project management;
  2. Water distribution;
  3. Wastewater and stormwater collection and stormwater management;
  4. Roads, cycling and pedestrian facilities; and
  5. Transitway and transit facilities. 

 

To assist in the identification, assessment and prioritization of the cost saving opportunities, a basic framework was developed which recognizes:

·        The extent of potential savings based on forecasted expenditures in the LRFP;

·        The nature of the outcomes resulting from the change in standard;

·        The timing for achieving the savings.

The most sought after opportunities were those that had the potential to provide high savings in the short term with relatively low impacts on the outcome and these are generally the ones highlighted in this report.  Opportunities with high savings and high impacts were also considered if impacts could be reduced while retaining most of the savings.

 

Opportunities/ideas generating lower savings and low impact were identified for follow-up and will generally be captured through the review of technical design standards, as previously outlined.  While these may result in low initial savings, they may result in a significant savings on a cumulative basis.

 

Below is a summary of the recommendations that are deemed to warrant further analysis before being presented to Council in February 2004.  These are divided into three categories:

  1. Management processes
  2. Policies
  3. Functional/technical requirements

 

These are intended to provide a brief overview of the recommendations and additional background information pertaining to current and proposed standards, potential financial impacts and potential outcomes of the recommendations is included in Annex 1.  For ease of reference, the section number where the details can be found in Annex 1 is included in brackets.

 

1.         Management Processes (these are referenced in Section 1 of Annex 1)

     

      Related to Planning Processes:

a)      That capital projects be reviewed applying value engineering principles and that formal value engineering exercises be applied on significant capital projects where the potential benefits are anticipated to outweigh the cost of the exercise.  This has been applied in the past on some projects and there is an opportunities to formalize the process.  This will assist in identifying potential lifecycle savings in a manner that maintains the intended function of the assets.

b)      That components of City infrastructure that do not have networks defined through master planning be addressed to provide a framework for future project scoping.  For example, the completion of ongoing Cycling Plan, Pedestrian Plan, Strategic Street Light Plan, etc.

c)      That formalized methods, such as net present value analysis, be used to determine whether infrastructure, such as pipes, should be oversized to serve future developments.

d)      That the Project Management Manual currently under development formalize project scoping documents to be prepared at the needs definition stage to help control scope and have the appropriate approval mechanisms in place to add or alter the project scope that would result in an increase to the cost of the project.

 

Related to Design Processes:

e)      That design standards meet but not exceed legislated or industry recognized practices and that an approval process be developed to deal with occurrences where it may be warranted to exceed or vary from these requirements (i.e. this will affect areas such as minimum pipe sizes for sewers and watermains, spacing between maintenance holes, design of structures on low volume roads, etc.)

f)        That as part of the process of designing new roads and when roads are being reconstructed/rehabilitated, the City look for opportunities to incorporate changes to road design and incorporate features such as reduced road width, physical measures (including intersection narrowing, medians, traffic calming measures, etc) to reduced the number of changes or measures that are implemented as stand alone projects and thus make these more cost effective to build.

 

Related to Procurement Processes:

g)      That the budget cycle be lengthened to at least 2 years for capital projects where planning, design and construction will be more cost-effective when work extends over more than one year.

h)      That contract documents be amended to include value management change proposals for large capital projects whereby there would be an incentive for the contractor to identify potential areas of savings and where approved by the City the savings would be divided between the contractor and the City.

i)        That construction testing and monitoring requirements be reviewed in order to converge towards performance-based specifications.

j)        That tendering of projects proceed in a balanced manner (i.e. time of year), where possible, to ensure that project requirements can be efficiently met in the available time and to optimize conditions during construction, especially for sensitive work.

 

2.         Policies

a)      That current stormwater management guidelines/practices be reviewed and finalized in order to identify site grading and design features that would result in reducing the amount of runoff and the associated stormwater management requirements.  This can be achieved through using lower minimum grades, over-controlling development beyond pre-development conditions or incorporating in an urban environment roadway cross sections that include ditches.  (Section 2)

b)      That the comprehensive Cycling Plan once completed provide a framework for the location and prioritization of cycling facilities.  This will provide a clearer indication of where cycling facilities are to be provided, the type and to what standard these are to be constructed. (Section 4)

c)      That the Pedestrian Master Plan once completed provide a framework for the provision and prioritization of pedestrian facilities, including extent of network, sidewalk warrants, dimensional considerations and construction materials (i.e. asphalt vs. concrete) considered appropriate for various criteria.  This plan will apply to both new streets and streets that are being reconstructed/rehabilitated. (Section 4)

d)      That policies regarding the funding and prioritization of streetscaping elements, including decorative low level pedestrian lighting, be developed and applied in a manner that recognizes the direction given in the Official Plan. (Section 4)

e)      That the strategic street light plan currently under development consider new design philosophies in order to reduce light levels, limit the type of light fixtures and adopt high pressure sodium (HPS) lighting systems as the standard for arterial and collector roads. (Section 4)

f)        That as part of the development approval process, the City control the number and design of gateway features to minimize the City’s maintenance and lifecycle commitments.  (Section 4)

g)      That the City continue to assess the suitability of trees and ground covers for use within road rights-of way and focus landscaping on those species with the best chance for surviving with a view to respecting the direction defined in the Official Plan.  (Section 4)

 

3.         Functional and Technical Requirements

a)      That current water design guidelines be reviewed (Section 2):

                                 i.      to identify the feasibility of reducing policy and functional design standards for water flow, pressure and storage volume required to support fire flows.  The outcome of the review currently underway by DSD could be incorporated in the revised design guidelines.

                               ii.      for pumping stations, valve chambers and pipe materials to provide more cost effective design elements.

                              iii.      for hydrant spacing with Fire Services to assess the maximum spacing available with current operations and equipment and that the policy for responsibility for hydrants in business parks be reviewed.

b)      That guidelines for the location of utilities within the right-of-way be reviewed to determine where and under what circumstances common trenches can be used for piped services.  This is to determine the potential to reduce construction costs in areas with significant rock.  (Section 4)

c)      That as part of the development of road design guidelines (Section 4):

                                 i.      road widths, taper and deceleration lengths tend toward the lower range of published standards where local experience indicates minimal safety implications. 

                               ii.      the potential of a reversible lane be considered in lieu of widening in both directions on a road where directional traffic volumes support the use of this approach.

                              iii.      there be a provision to include life cycle pavement design in all design assignments for roadways in order to ensure that the most cost effective road structure is constructed.

                             iv.      the use of asphalt sidewalks be considered in locations that meet specific criteria.

                               v.      roundabouts be considered as a substitute for signals at intersections with moderate volumes in suburban and rural areas to reduce lifecycle costs and improve traffic flow.  This is for locations where sufficient right-of-way space is available.

                             vi.      the City continue to assess the suitability of trees and ground covers for use within road rights-of way and focus landscaping on those species with the best chance for surviving with a view to respecting the direction defined in the Official Plan.

d)      That the Transitway Design Manual be updated to include design of standard materials that lower cost while not impacting on ridership, that revisit some of the amenities provided at transit stations (i.e. heating of bus shelters, improved passenger information, physical pedestrian connections, etc) and that new bus transitway sections not designated as an LRT corridor be designed using the bus as the planned vehicle with no allowance for ultimate conversion to LRT.  (Section 5)

e)      That guiderail rationalization be undertaken to eliminate unwarranted components over time.  (Section 4)

f)        That sign rationalization (i.e. regulatory and warning signs) be undertaken to eliminate unwarranted or redundant signs over time.  (Section 4)

 

Next Steps

 

Based on Council’s direction, the intent is to complete the analysis of the capitals savings opportunities that have been identified as warranting further consideration.  The information is to be presented to Council in February 2004 and will include:

-         a review of capital standards and savings opportunities identified in other municipalities that have undertaken a similar study;

-         the potential outcomes resulting from the proposed change in standards;

-         the extent of potential savings based on forecasted expenditures in the LRFP;

-         the process and timing for achieving the savings.

 

CONSULTATION

 

There has been no external public consultation included as part of this report.  Consultation will occur as part of the overall public consultation process for the 2004 budget.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

 

The review process completed to date has identified a number of opportunities that could represent significant capital cost savings, estimated in the millions over the next ten years.  However, it is recognized that many of the opportunities identified have either been considered or implemented to varying degree and further analysis is required before providing more specific financial information.  Based on Council directions on the opportunities presented, there will be a further refinement of the potential financial savings and this will be identified in staff’s subsequent report to Council.

 

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

 

Annex 1 – Summary of Opportunities/Ideas

 

DISPOSITION

 

Based on Council direction, the Department will finalize the review of capital savings opportunities that warrant further analysis and report the findings to Council in February 2004.

 


                                                                                                                        ANNEX 1

Summary of Opportunities/Ideas

 

1.0       Program & Project Management / Process Procedures

 

The City’s Long Range Financial Plan (2002-2011) does not directly provide for program and project oversight management funding, rather these items are inherent in all projects undertaken by the City.  In some cases, budgets have been established for infrastructure, transportation, pedestrian, cycling and other master plans to guide the development of the City infrastructure networks.

 

While the City has made significant progress in developing harmonized processes and practices, developing master plans, policies, service level standards and design guidelines, the Capital Standards Review process identified further opportunities that would contribute to more effective management of capital programs and projects.  The ideas have been grouped as follows:

 

·        Defining Needs and Priorities and Controlling Functional Scope;

·        Optimizing and Controlling Technical Design and Controlling Technical Scope;

·        Optimizing Construction Costs and Quality.

 

1.1       Defining Needs and Priorities and Controlling Functional Scope

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for defining needs, setting priorities and controlling functional scope are not systematic and reflect historical City practice as well as requirements based in legislation such as the Planning Act and Environmental Assessment Act.  The lack of some plans (Pedestrian Plan and Cycling Plan) results in functional scope creep as items are added to a project without appropriate context.  By improving scope definition and attention to life cycle costing, capital savings and other advantages can accrue.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings would result from not building unwarranted infrastructure, more focused consultation, better defined projects and more use of alternative funding sources for enhancements.  Life cycle costing would identify the most cost-effective approach to the provision of infrastructure and infrastructure renewal, both in the short and longer term.  Potential savings to the City budget are estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next five years through the elimination of items from construction projects that are low priority or not required.  Savings are possible on most projects.

 

Potential Outcomes:  General consensus on the recommended network of City services provides confidence within the planning and design process to control project scope.  The use of local improvement charges provides an equitable approach to provision of enhancements.  Some additional disruption would occur where infrastructure must be replaced to accommodate further development.

 


Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the infrastructure planning document (i.e. Cycling Plan, Pedestrian Plan) and other strategic documents (i.e. project scoping process; funding such as local improvements) be completed in order to guide infrastructure investment decisions.

 

1.2       Optimizing and Controlling Technical Design and Controlling Technical Scope

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for optimizing and controlling technical scope reflect historical City practice.  Various design guides and manuals are used to help optimize the project elements.  The selection of materials within a technically acceptable range may vary.  There is an opportunity to select project elements and materials providing the same function at reduced cost using value management approaches.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings can be achieved through controlling the selection of materials, making use of value management to encourage cost-effectiveness, and planning capital projects on a longer cycle to facilitate efficient design and construction.  Potential savings to the City are significant as value management workshops have the potential to identify savings (in some instances up to 15% of the overall project budget).  The substitution of less expensive materials to accomplish the same function as more expensive materials would be a component of the value management process.  Savings would be realized both in the short and longer terms.

 

Potential Outcomes:  While there can be pressure from the public to include special items in individual contracts, improved cost-efficiency through the use of standard materials can lead to the completion of additional priority items within available funding.  The introduction of a formal value engineering methodology into major capital projects can help identify ways to reduce costs while maintaining function.  The inclusion of value engineering change proposals in City contracts can encourage innovation and efficiencies.  Lessons learned can be shared with the design community for application on subsequent projects.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that consideration be given to extending the length of budget cycles for capital projects where planning, design and construction will be more cost-effective when work extends over more than one year.  It is recommended that a value management program be introduced for planning and design functions and that value engineering change proposals be incorporated into capital construction contracts, especially on larger capital projects.

 

1.3       Optimizing Construction Costs and Quality

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for tendering, construction administration, and the procurement of project-related services reflect the practices of the former Region and constituent municipalities.  It is possible to modify these processes to generate capital cost savings through a more competitive environment.

 


Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings can be achieved through the timing of tendering to secure favourable prices, modifying quality control practices to shift more responsibility to Contractors and improving competitiveness in the planning, design and construction processes.  Savings to the City of up to 5% are estimated over both the short and longer terms.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Changes should not be noticeable to the public.  The timing of tendering can be seen as added efficiency.  The use of performance-based specifications can help reduce the amount of construction measurement and testing.  Any reduction in the amount of City inspection and testing must be balanced by shifting responsibility to the Contractor or hiring others to undertake quality control on the City’s behalf.  Increased competitiveness can help ensure that each phase of work is undertaken in the most cost-effective manner.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that construction testing and monitoring requirements be reviewed in order to converge towards performance-based specifications.  It is also recommended that tendering of projects proceed in a balanced manner explicitly cognizant of conditions in the construction marketplace.

 

 

2.0       Water Distribution

 

For the Capital Standards Review, all components of the Water Distribution System will be examined except for the water treatment plants.  The City’s Long Range Financial Plan (2002-2011) provides for a total capital spending in this area over the ten years of approximately $460 million as follows:

·        $11 million on pumping stations;

·        $13 million on water storage facilities such as reservoirs; and

·        $436 million on the water distribution system.

 

The greatest potential for savings comes from the linear water distribution system (the pipes in the ground).  Of the $436 million budgeted for the water distribution system over the ten year period, the major items are:

·        $193 million to rehabilitate the existing system;

·        $50 million to upgrade the system and provide extensions to support intensification within the Greenbelt;

·        $45 million for the new transmission mains at the Lemieux Island Water Treatment Plant;

·        $45 million for new feeder main links;

·        $25 million for replacing and testing water meters;

·        $15 million to provide cathodic protection;

·        $15 million to rehabilitate water mains;

·        $11 million for environmental assessments for water and wastewater projects; and

·        $37 million on other system improvements and studies.

 

Given the planned budget directed to pumping stations and water storage facilities, the potential for major capital cost savings in these areas is somewhat more limited. Nevertheless, opportunities for modifying standards in these areas should be considered as meaningful contributors towards savings.

The review process investigated opportunities to reduce costs through modifications to existing standards for the provision of water distribution services.  These were summarized into the following general areas:

·        System Flow, Pressure and Storage Design Parameters;

·        Fire Hydrant Policies;

·        Miscellaneous Design Changes.

 

2.1       System Flow, Pressure and Storage Design Standards

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for the volume, pressure and storage of water provided by the City are generally derived from within a range of recommended guidelines from the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) and/or the Ministry of Environment (MOE).  Other standards are derived from conventional municipal practice and experience.  These functional standards reflect requirements/expectations for availability of water volume and pressure for fire protection and for domestic use.  There is potential to adopt functional design standards that are lower than assumed planning values currently in use and which recognizes current local consumption and utilization experience.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings would result from smaller pipe diameters, fewer and smaller pumping stations, fewer and smaller storage tanks and reservoirs.  Savings are also available from public compliance with a water use reduction program.  Potential capital savings are significant and estimated in the millions of dollars over the next ten years.  Savings would also accrue to developers in areas of new construction (presumably to be passed on to new home buyers).  Savings would accrue to the City for major infrastructure replacement, if smaller pipes were utilized.  Some short-term capital savings may accrue to the City in some areas where, because of lower requirements, rehabilitation can now be undertaken instead of replacement.  City operating cost savings or future cost avoidance may accrue as a result of a relatively reduced volume of water requiring treatment.

 

Potential Outcomes: Lower flow volumes and rates may be perceived to reduce safety against fire hazards; lower residential water pressure may be unacceptable to some; water pressure may vary more between and within communities; there may be more temporary disruptions in water availability due to pressure drops, equipment/power failures and reduced storage to address peak demands.  Lower residence times for water in the conveyance and storage system assists in water quality retention.  Use restrictions would require enforcement or alternative means found to motivate consumers to reduce water use.

 

Areas for Further Review: It is recommended that water design guidelines be reviewed to identify feasible reduced policy and functional design standards for water flow, pressure and storage volume.  Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS), Ministry of Environment (MOE), other related guidelines and municipal practices elsewhere will be referenced during this review.

 


2.2       Fire Hydrant Spacing Standards

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current spacing for fire hydrants, where piped fire protection is provided, is derived from recommendations of the Ottawa Fire Services based on land use and an estimate of a reasonable length of fire hose to be set out by fire crews.  It is possible to select hydrant spacing that is greater than current guidelines and to delegate responsibility for the maintenance of some hydrants to some property owners such as commercial or industrial business parks.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings would result from the installation and maintenance of fewer hydrants. Some capital savings would accrue to developers where hydrants spacing could be increased.  Maintenance cost savings would accrue to the City where fewer hydrants are installed and where hydrant maintenance remains the responsibility of the property owner.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Increased effort and time for fire crews to lay out fire hose during emergencies may be required.  There may be concerns over a deterioration in the functionality of hydrants as a result of poor maintenance practices if the City does not have control over hydrant maintenance.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the functional standards for hydrant spacing be reviewed with the Fire Services to assess the maximum spacing available with current operations and equipment.  It is recommended that the policy standard for responsibility for hydrants in business parks be reviewed.

 

2.3       Selected Technical Standards (Pumping Stations, Valve Chambers, Pipe Materials)

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current technical standards for pumping stations, valve chambers and watermain pipe materials are based on conventional municipal practice and the experience and preferences of the former municipalities in Ottawa.  Pumping station standards could be reduced to achieve savings.  Valve chamber type and location specifications could be modified and savings achieved.  Selection of new pumping station standards, valve chambers standards and pipe materials require consideration of project specific conditions with knowledge of the overall system operation.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Pumping station standards reflect both the engineering operational requirements and expectations for architectural detail, both of which could be reduced to achieve moderate savings (hundreds of thousands of dollars) through smaller pumping stations and pumps.  Valve chamber type and location specifications vary and can be reduced in number, size, complexity and cost particularly if the associated pipe diameters are reduced.  Potential savings would accrue to developers in areas of new construction and to the City in areas requiring retrofit and rehabilitation.  Collective savings would be significant ranging from many hundreds of thousands to a few million dollars over the next 10 years.  Lifecycle analysis to recognize both capital and operating cost implications is appropriate

 


Potential Outcomes: Overall system performance and reliability may vary somewhat but would generally not be perceived by the general public.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the technical standards for pumping stations, valve chambers and pipe materials be reviewed.

 

 

3.0       Wastewater and Stormwater Systems

 

The City’s Long Range Financial Plan (2002-2011) provides for total spending over the ten years of approximately:

·        $377 million on sanitary and stormwater collection;

·        $105 million for stormwater management;

·        $54 million on the storage tunnel and real time control;

·        $28 million on pumping stations; and

·        $14 million on bank and erosion protection. 

 

Given the relatively low proportion of the budget over the next ten years directed to pumping stations and bank and erosion protection, the potential for capital cost savings in these areas is correspondingly low when compared with other areas.  Suggestions regarding modifications to standards in these areas should be considered as a part of the overall recommendations since additional monies for erosion control may be contained in other budgets (i.e. roadworks).

 

Of the $377 million budgeted for the sanitary and stormwater collection system over the ten year period, the major items are:

·        $123 million for general storm sewer rehabilitation;

·        $100 million for general sanitary sewer rehabilitation;

·        $89 million for new sewers;

·        $45 million for asset monitoring, studies and engineering; and

·        $31 million for other rehabilitation.

 

The review process investigated opportunities to reduce costs through modifications to existing standards for the provision of wastewater collection, stormwater collection and stormwater management (SWM) services.  These were summarized into the following general areas:

 

·        Wastewater (Combined and Sanitary) and Stormwater Collection System Policies and Design Standards;

·        SWM Design Standards and Practices;

·        Runoff Controls; and

·        Miscellaneous Design Changes.

 


3.1       Wastewater (Combined and Sanitary) and Stormwater Collection System Policies and Design Standards

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for the design of sanitary and stormwater collection systems and related road cross-section elements are derived from published provincial and City guidelines and practices from the former Region and local municipalities.  Regulatory requirements for the quality of stormwater set minimum parameters for the design of stormwater (SWM) outlets to receiving waters.  Some design standards for the control of quantity of wastewater and stormwater could be reduced.  Examples include: reduction in the consumption/generation rates assumed in the planning and design of infrastructure; policies and practices for managing combined sewers and overflows - use of real time controls to manage flows and avoid installation of more piping and storage infrastructure; technical design parameters for pipe sizing.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Potential capital savings are significant and estimated in the millions of dollars.  Savings would result from smaller pipe diameters, fewer kilometers of pipe, fewer and smaller pumping stations and the use of optimized control for combined sewer overflows (CSO) to defer or reduce the cost of CSO storage.  Developers could realize savings in the installation of new storm systems and sanitary sewer systems.  The City could realize savings in the rehabilitation/replacement of systems and during road projects undertaken by the City.  The City may be able to realize significant cost savings associated with modifications to the design and timing of the CSO Storage Tunnel project.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Changes to the design criteria for the underground storm system may result in more frequent and longer periods of ponding of runoff on roads and in open areas.  Expectations that some historical flooding problems will be completely eliminated may not be fulfilled.  Greater use of pipe rehabilitation versus replacement would reduce traffic disruption.  Re-design of any portion of the system must consider the benefits and impacts on the areas upstream and downstream.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the set of design guidelines and standards for sanitary and stormwater collection systems be reviewed to more formally distinguish between current practices and the minimum level necessary to meet regulatory requirements for water quality (from combined sewer overflows and stormwater outlets) and water quantity.

 

3.2       Stormwater Management (SWM) Design Standards and Practices

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for stormwater management are derived from regulatory requirements of the Ministry of Natural Resources/ Ministry of the Environment and City/municipal professional practice.  Standards are generally performance-based and alternative methods to achieve the performance criteria could be considered.  Examples of possible changes to the functional and technical standards include: lower the minor drainage system design criteria from 5 to 2 year storms;  account for upstream source controls in capacity design of retention ponds; elimination of road curbs and gutters in designated areas; acceptance of higher levels of short-term surface ponding and periodic local flooding

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Moderate savings through changes to the design criteria for stormwater are available to the City in areas where rehabilitation or replacement of road and/or stormwater management facilities is planned.  More significant cost savings may accrue to areas of new development should natural features and open space be incorporated into the stormwater storage concept. Savings in the cost of storm water management facilities can accrue to developers if source controls are installed and considered in the design.  Savings to developers and the City may result from the use of bio-engineering techniques for bank and slope erosion, instead of gabions and rip rap.

 

Potential Outcomes: Design of stormwater management facilities in natural features and open spaces can influence fisheries and wildlife and can reduce the overall green space provided in a development area.  Lack of City control over stormwater controls on private properties can lead to flooding concerns should those controls not be maintained.  A more pleasing appearance can result from bio-engineering techniques.  The City may be better able to meet water quality requirements through the incorporation of new stormwater management techniques.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the set of stormwater design standards and practices be reviewed to determine those which could be modified to provide a more cost-effective method of achieving the minimum required water quality and quantity objectives (i.e. lowering the minor drainage system design criteria from 5 to 2 year storms, accounting for upstream source controls in capacity design of retention ponds, eliminating road curbs and gutters in designated areas, accepting of higher levels of short-term surface ponding, etc.)

 

3.3       Modify Runoff Controls

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for runoff are derived from a municipal land development philosophy that positive grading be provided and that runoff be controlled to pre-development levels.  Lower minimum grades and other approaches to reduce runoff may achieve these objectives with lower costs than existing standards.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Significant savings will accrue to the developer if positive measures are taken to control runoff such that the storm drain system and stormwater management system can be smaller.  This may result from the use of sump pumps to connect foundation drains to the storm sewer.  Further savings would accrue if there were no connections between the foundation drains and the storm sewer.  Reductions in the area of impervious surfaces will further reduce the quantity of runoff.  Savings will be realized by the City, and possibly the developers, if rear yard drainage systems are prohibited.

 

Potential Outcomes: There would be no surcharging leading to basement flooding if sump pumps are in place.  Possible backup power for sump pump provides opportunity for general emergency household power.  Controls on private property may not be maintained in accordance with City requirements leading to nuisance flooding. 

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that grading and design features controlling runoff be reviewed to minimize runoff and stormwater management requirements (i.e. back-to-front lot grading, use of sump pumps, ditches along local streets, etc.)

3.4       Selected Technical Standards

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for determining the size and location of water, wastewater and stormwater pipes and for the design of pumping stations are derived from historic municipal and industry practice.  Three specific examples suggested for review are: oversizing practices for future development; use of common trenches for utilities in the right-of-way (water, wastewater and stormwater); and modified design standards for temporary pumping stations.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings could result from the installation of smaller pipes, reduced excavation, smaller and fewer pumps and changes to pumping station design.  Savings to the City could be significant, where over-sizing of pipes can be deferred until future development is close to completion.  Savings to both developers and the City would accrue where a common trench could be used for pipes, which now are placed in separate trenches.  The City would also realize savings when maintenance of these pipes is required in the future and results in fewer disruptions within the travel lane due to the concentration of pipes in one area.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Improved water quality when water travels from the treatment plant to the consumer in less time where pipes are not oversized.  Greater future disruption during replacement/twinning of pipes where over-sizing was not done.  Common trenches allow more space in the right-of-way for other utility needs but requires more coordination by City staff.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that guidelines for the location of utilities within the right-of-way be reviewed to determine where and under what circumstances common trenches can be used for piped services; that the design guidelines for pumping stations be reviewed to recognize temporary conditions; and that formalized methods, such as net present value analysis, be used to determine whether pipes should be oversized to serve future development.

 

 

4.0       Roads, Sidewalks, Cyling AND Right of Way Features

 

The City’s Long Range Financial Plan (2002-2011) provides for total spending over the ten years of approximately:

·        $376 million on road widenings including intersection improvements and traffic signals and intersection program;

·        $318 million on road reconstruction including railway crossing upgrades;

·        $242 million on road resurfacing;

·        $194 million on structures;

·        $166 million on new roads;

·        $71 million on stand-alone traffic signal projects;

·        $29 million on stand-alone street lighting projects;

·        $20 million on stand-alone pedestrian features;

·        $6 million on stand-alone cycling projects;

·        $4 million on stand-alone guide rail projects; and

·        $4 million on stand-alone signage projects.

The project budgets for roadworks include money for associated facilities within the affected construction area such as pedestrian facilities, cycling facilities, street lighting, traffic signals, guide rail and signage.

 

The review process investigated opportunities to reduce costs through modifications to existing standard for the roads and rights-of-ways. These were summarized into the following general areas:

 

4.1       Functional design standards for road cross-sections and features

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for road cross-sections and features provided by the City are derived from published design standards from the former Region and constituent municipalities and publications from the Province of Ontario, the Transportation Association of Canada and other recognized professional bodies.  It is possible to select functional design standards for a variety of cross-section elements that are lower than those currently in use.  A design option to road widening in some applications might be the introduction of a reversible lane.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  The savings to the City would be significant and estimated in the millions of dollars over the next ten years.  Savings would result from less area of pavement, less property purchased, less area of bridge and less curb.  Savings will also accrue to developers of new neighbourhoods.  Longer-term pavement rehabilitation costs may also be reduced with the use of less curb and less area of pavement.  Some changes to operating budgets may be seen – reduced snow removal, increased traffic control requirements.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Depending on the degree to which changes to lane and median widths, taper lengths and deceleration standards and warrants for right turn lanes are implemented, reductions to the traffic level of service and increases in collision rates may result.  The use of a reversible lane instead of widening in both directions may have some safety implications.  Reduced use of curbs will change the street appearance and may be considered positive or negative depending on location and community preferences. 

 

Areas for Further Review: It is recommended that road widths, taper and deceleration lengths tend toward the lower range of published standards where local experience indicates minimal safety implications.  It is recommended that the City consider the potential of a reversible lane in lieu of widening in both directions on a road where directional traffic volumes support the use of this approach.  It is also recommended that as part of the process of designing new roads and when roads are being reconstructed/rehabilitated, the City look for opportunities to incorporate changes to road design and incorporate features such as reduced road width, physical measures (including intersection narrowings, medians, traffic calming measures, etc) to reduce the number of changes or measures that are implemented as stand alone projects and thus make these more cost effective to build.

 

4.2       Technical design standards and material specifications

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for the design of pavements, structures and the selection of materials for City projects are derived from historical practice as well as published standards of the Province of Ontario. It is possible to select technical design standards and materials that will result in cost savings compared with those currently in use.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings would result from reduced thickness of granular and asphalt materials, reduced widths for bridges on low volume roads and substitution of lower cost materials in appropriate applications.  Estimated savings could be significant and would accrue over the short and long term for the provision of new infrastructure and the rehabilitation of existing.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Optimization of the pavement design for roads would not be noticeable by the public.  Construction of roads through areas where subgrade conditions vary would need special attention to ensure appropriate pavement design and road performance.  Use of low volume road design standard for applicable bridge replacements is not expected to have an impact on traffic given that these standards provide sufficient space for vehicles traveling in opposite directions to pass.  The use of asphalt instead of concrete for some sidewalks would be noticed by the public due to the change in appearance, however the function would not change and the black surface might facilitate melting of ice during the winter.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the City develop a process for the review and acceptance of new materials; that the City include life cycle pavement design in all design assignments for roadways; that the City adopt provincial standards for structures on low volume roads; that the City consider the use asphalt for sidewalks in selected locations.

 

4.3       Policies on providing and prioritizing cycling facilities

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current practice for provision of cycling lanes is based on the draft Regional Road Corridor Design Guidelines.  Technical standards for on-street and off-street cycling facilities and multi-use paths have been developed from published professional documents.  Development of a comprehensive Cycling Plan that will define the ultimate network and an associated implementation strategy is noted as a requirement in the City’s recent Transportation Master Plan (TMP).  A map illustrating the existing primary urban cycling transportation network is provided in the TMP.  It is proposed that the development of the Cycling Plan be completed with appropriate warrants, a network configuration,


technical standards and an implementation plan which establishes project limits, priorities, budgets and timings.  The extent of the cycling network and its standards can be established with due regard to its cost.  This would enable the City to respond to requests for cycling facility improvements in a focused deliberate manner.  Consideration should be given to both on-road and off-road facilities in the development of the ultimate network.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Each 2 m wide on-street cycling lane adds about $100,000 per kilometer ($200,000 for both directions) to an arterial road project, due to the need (for drainage purposes) to extend the full-depth of granulars and asphalt across this width.  Where cycling traffic loads are lower, consideration should be given to an alternative or off-road cycling facility which could be provided at significantly lower cost.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Cyclists have conflicting preferences - some cyclists prefer on-street facilities while others prefer off-street facilities.  

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the comprehensive Cycling Plan be completed to provide a framework for the location and prioritization of cycling facilities and that dedicated cycling facilities not be provided on roads not designated in the Cycling Plan.  It is recommended that the feasibility of providing off-street cycling facilities be investigated as part of the primary urban cycling network.

 

4.4       Policies on providing and prioritizing pedestrian facilities

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for providing and prioritizing pedestrian facilities is to review existing warrants for new facilities and to replace in kind when rehabilitating roads.  Sidewalk technical standards are based on published standard drawings.  A priority setting mechanism for sidewalks is in place but is undertaken in the absence of an overall Pedestrian Plan as contemplated by the new Official Plan.  Current OP policies would suggest an expanded sidewalk network.  It is proposed that the development of the Pedestrian Plan be completed with appropriate warrants, a network configuration, technical standards and an implementation plan which establishes project limits, priorities, budgets and timings.  The extent of the pedestrian network and its standards can be established with due regard to its cost.  This would enable the City to respond to requests for pedestrian facility improvements in a focused deliberate manner.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings to the City can be achieved by building fewer sidewalks, including not replacing non-warranted sidewalks during road rehabilitation projects and not adding sidewalks that are not warranted under the City’s program for the prioritization of pedestrian facilities.  Savings may be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year if sidewalks are not replaced on local streets during rehabilitation or are not built on collector streets unless warranted.

 


Potential Outcomes:  Not reconstructing sidewalks that do not meet warrants at time of reconstruction may be unpopular with residents, especially where other streets in their area have had their sidewalks replaced.  Some residents may have safety concerns when pedestrians are forced to use the side of the street, especially if there is significant residential parking along the street.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is suggested that the City develop a Pedestrian Master Plan to direct the provision and prioritization of pedestrian facilities.  During consultation for the Pedestrian Master Plan, it is suggested that the City review warrants, including geographical and land use policy considerations, with the public.

 

4.5       Street Lighting

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for street lighting are derived from published design manuals for illumination and from the practices of the former Region and municipalities with respect to the selection of luminaries and associated lighting features.  The City is currently conducting a review of Strategic Lighting directions.  New design philosophies and safety research may impact on design practice in the future to allow reduced lighting levels.  Alternative lighting systems can be used to reduce both capital and operating costs while providing the same levels of illumination.  Standardization of street lighting poles and fixtures can reduce inventory and maintenance costs.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  The installation of high pressure sodium (HPS) instead of metal halide light systems would save the City (and developers, where they are the installers) an estimated $40,000 per kilometer of four-lane arterial road due to fewer poles and luminaries.  Energy costs would be about $1,000/km per year less due to the greater efficiency of HPS systems.  Savings would also be achieved on other roads, proportional to the number and wattage of the lighting system.  The elimination of City-installed supplementary low level decorative lighting would provide significant savings.

 

Potential Outcomes:  HPS has a “yellow” tint light that is not preferred by some people.  Colours, particularly red, are not accurately perceived in this light.  “Streetscaping” and pedestrian scale lighting can become issues.  Funding of these items in special land use policy areas can become an issue.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that policies regarding the funding and prioritization of streetscaping elements, including decorative low level pedestrian lighting, be developed and consistently applied.  It is recommended that the City adopt HPS lighting systems as the standard for arterial and collector roads.  It is recommended that the revised design methodologies for establishing lighting levels be reviewed and adopted as appropriate.

 


4.6       Landscaping and Gateway Features

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for landscaping include the provision of trees by developers within road rights-of-way as well as provision of trees and grass by the City on road rehabilitation and reconstruction projects.  These standards are derived from the Greening Guidelines for Regional Roads in Urban Areas and Regional Road Corridor Design Guidelines.  Developers install gateway features on an ad hoc basis and hand them over to the City as part of the road right-of-way.  It is possible to modify landscaping practices to reduce installation and maintenance costs by changing where and what type of landscaping is installed.  Volunteers may also be used for some tree planting and maintenance work as a community initiative.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings would result from fewer trees and gateway features installed within the right-of-way and from use of more selective landscaping species.  Savings would also result from less maintenance of gateway features where their number and design is controlled.  The City and developers would both realize the initial savings in the installation of landscaping and gateway features, while the City would realize the savings in maintenance effort.  The full cost of landscaping needs to be understood as part of the City’s greening guidelines.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Homeowners take over the responsibility for trees planted on their property.  Trees suitable for planting near house foundations are not the species preferred by homeowners, limiting the ability to plant trees outside of the right-of-way except in areas with larger setbacks.  Trees planted outside of the right-of-way do not contribute as much to the “greening of the right-of-way”.  Conventional grass mixtures are not salt resistant and will eventually be taken over by more tolerant weed species.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that the City control the number and design of gateway features to minimize City maintenance efforts.  It is recommended that the City assess the suitability of trees and ground covers for use within road rights-of way and focus landscaping on those species with the best chance for surviving thus reducing lifecycle costs.

 

4.7       Traffic Signals

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  The City installs traffic signals once they are warranted in accordance with standard Ontario provincial guidelines.  In some cases, unwarranted signals are installed and maintained by developers until such time as these installations are warranted.  Former pedestrian crossings that were converted into pedestrian-actuated signals comprise the majority of the estimated 60 unwarranted signals being paid for by the City.  It is possible to introduce alternative traffic control measures, such as roundabouts, at some locations to facilitate traffic movement, where sufficient right-of-way exists.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  It costs approximately $4,000 per location per year to operate traffic signals.  While capital costs are comparable, the installation of a roundabout instead of a signalized intersection will also result in savings that accrue to road users in the form of reduced fuel and collision costs.

Potential Outcomes:  Removal of unwarranted signals (i.e. located at pedestrian crossings) can result in some inconvenience to pedestrians and potentially some reduction in delays for motorists.  Roundabouts can result in reduced delay to motorists; lower operating cost for the City and fewer/less severe collisions.  They can also reduce vehicle speeds.  As a new traffic control measure, the use of roundabouts would have a learning curve for motorists before the benefits could be fully realized.  Roundabouts are more suited for suburban and rural locations since they are not as “pedestrian-friendly” as signals. 

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that roundabouts be considered as a substitute for signals at intersections with moderate volumes in suburban and rural areas, where sufficient right-of-way space is available.

 

4.8       Miscellaneous Design Changes

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current miscellaneous standards used by the City for signage, guide rails and the location of utilities, are derived from Council policies and Regional Road Corridor Design Guidelines.  It is possible to select lower design standards and maintain functionality.

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Sign rationalization can achieve cost savings to the City of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 5-10 years through the elimination of unnecessary signs.  Savings due to changes to guide rail installations cannot be quantified due to the lack of an existing inventory.  The savings through the location of utilities in a common trench would accrue to motorists where disruptions to the travel lane could be avoided.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Guiderail that is not warranted may be a greater safety risk than benefit.  Location of utilities in a common trench can require additional staff coordination.  Sign rationalization can reduce sign pollution/clutter.  Unwarranted signs may have been installed on request, leading to complaints upon removal.

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that a review of guiderail and signage installations be undertaken be undertaken with a view to eliminating unnecessary components over time.

 

 

5.0       Transitway and Transit FacilitIES

 

The City’s Long Range Financial Plan (2002-2011) provides for total spending over the ten years of approximately:

·        $305 million on provincial Smart Growth initiatives;

·        $142 million on bus Transitway projects;

·        $102 million on rail transit projects; and

·        $41 million on station and park and ride facilities.

 

Smart Growth initiatives will only proceed with the participation of the Province and the Federal governments.

The review process investigated opportunities to reduce costs through modifications to existing standards for the provision of transit services such as: 

·        Transitway Station Facilities;

·        Transitway Design Manual Review; and

·        Passenger Information Services.

 

5.1       Policies and standards for Transitway and transit related facilities

 

Current and Proposed Standards:  Current standards for Transitway and transit-related facilities such as stations, shelters, pedestrian connections and passenger information are generally derived from the City’s Transitway Design Manual and current practices in North America.  It is possible to select policies and standards for a variety of components that maintain function but involve lower costs than those currently in use.

 

 

Potential Financial Impacts:  Savings could result from reducing the size and design elements in stations, using standard instead of custom materials, considering at-grade crossings where appropriate, providing heating to fewer shelters and improving passenger information to defer capital costs.  In keeping with the findings of the Rapid Transit Expansion Study, those corridors identified for future bus Transitways should be designed for bus vehicles.  Those corridors identified for rail transit facilities should be designed for LRT.  There could be savings to the City through the design of future bus Transitways for buses, instead of for possible conversion to LRT, through the use of increased road grades and lower vertical clearance. 

 

Savings to the City could range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars over the next ten years, depending on the degree to which changes are incorporated into the planning of new Transitway facilities.  The degree to which improved passenger information could improve transit capacity in the downtown core will influence the length of time that much more expensive solutions for this area can be deferred.

 

Potential Outcomes:  Reductions in public convenience and comfort through changes to pedestrian access and shelter heating can influence ridership, especially in the winter.  Using ramps instead of elevators can deter physically challenged people from using transit.  Incorporation of staff facilities into public facilities may not be noticed by the public.  Revisions to scheduling and transit time points may be required.  Changes from custom to standard materials can somewhat change the appearance of transit stations (this has already been done in recent years – Bayshore and Baseline stations).

 

Areas for Further Review:  It is recommended that design of new Transitway and transit facilities incorporate standard materials that lower cost while not impacting on ridership.  New bus Transitways not defined as an LRT corridor should be designed using the bus as the planned vehicle with no allowance for ultimate conversion to LRT.  Components of specific projects should be reviewed for contribution to ridership and operations.