Comité des transports
and Council / et au Conseil
Director, Traffic and Parking Operations/Directeur, Circulation et stationnement
613-580-2424 extension 26882, Michael.Flainek@ottawa.ca
Passage pour piétons à l'intersection de l'avenue King Edward et de la rue CATHCART
That Council’s approval of the recommendations contained in Councillor Bédard’s Report ACS2007-CCS-TRC-002 that “a pedestrian operated traffic signal be installed at the intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street, and that funds be allocated from the King Edward Capital Project” be rescinded.
Que l’approbation du Conseil relative aux recommandations présentées dans le rapport ACS2007-CCS-TRC-002 du conseiller Georges Bédard, qui stipule « qu’un feu de circulation déclenché par les piétons soit installé à l’intersection de l’avenue King Edward et de la rue Cathcart et que les fonds qui y seront alloués proviennent du Projet d’immobilisations de l’avenue King Edward », soit annulée.
At Transportation Committee on 16 May 2007, a report prepared by Councillor Bédard entitled, “Pedestrian Crosswalk at the Intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street” was considered. In it, Councillor Bédard recommended that a pedestrian crosswalk be installed at that location.
Staff comments in the report noted that this location is not suitable for a pedestrian signal as the new alignment of the ramp from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, north of that point, does not provide sufficient sight distance for operators of large southbound trucks with conventional braking systems to see, react, and stop in time to avoid collisions with queued vehicles that would back up from the proposed signal at Cathcart Street.
The staff comments further explained that this particular intersection is situated in a very complex driving environment and that a combination of factors including the geometry of the southbound ramp from the bridge, the height of the barrier walls, the volume, speed and makeup of the traffic, visibility conditions on the inside of the curve, time requirements for pedestrians to traverse King Edward Avenue at Cathcart Street, the limited vehicle storage capacity of King Edward Avenue north of Cathcart Street, the need to retain advance warning flashers at the entry curve to King Edward Avenue and a number of other technical considerations, ultimately led to that conclusion.
During discussion of the item, John Buck, Manager, Traffic Management, emphasized that a signal at this location would be unsafe and that staff could not recommend under any circumstances, that one be installed. In addition, Ron Jack of Delcan Corporation, who managed the Environmental Assessment Study for the King Edward Renewal Project, told Committee that while he did not disagree with the community - that a pedestrian crossing would be great to have at Cathcart Street - it just does not work at this location. Despite that input, Committee approved the report recommendation that a pedestrian crosswalk be installed.
The report was considered by Council on 13 June 2007. At that time, a supplementary memo from Public Works and Services was conveyed to the Mayor and Members of Council. It is attached as Document 1 and summarizes the situation as follows:
“In light of our inability to install a pedestrian signal for the reasons cited, please be advised that, should Council endorse the Transportation Committee recommendation, staff will not be able to proceed until such time as funds have been identified and approved to engage specialized consulting engineering expertise to identify whether there are specific measures which can be implemented to allow installation at this location. Implementation funding, expected to be significant, would also have to be budgeted.”
Ultimately, Council approved the recommendation contained in Councillor Bédard’s report (14 yeas, 6 nays) as amended by Transportation Committee that “a pedestrian operated traffic signal be installed at the intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street, and that funds be allocated from the King Edward Capital Project”.
Since Council's direction, staff have investigated all possible options to mitigate the risks associated with the installation of a pedestrian signal at this location. This included extensive research into traffic sensing equipment, dynamic warning devices and the engagement of two additional consulting firms, both with extensive expertise in human factors and road safety.
(1) The minimum stopping sight distance requirement for large trucks is not met on the southbound ramp approaching this intersection; and,
(2) Stopping sight distance is such a fundamental requirement for the safe operation of motor vehicles, that it in fact forms the very basis of all highway engineering and road design standards, including those set out in the Transportation Association of Canada’s Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Geometric Design Standards for Ontario Highways; and,
(3) The risks associated with the sight distance limitation at this particular site cannot be properly mitigated through the installation of standard traffic control devices;
The consulting firms retained by Public Works and Services to find a solution, determined that there are no measures that can be implemented to enable a signal installation at this location to operate safely.
Therefore, three of the most highly qualified road safety consulting firms in the country, specifically Delcan Corporation, Delphi/McCormick-Rankin Corporation and iTrans Consultants, have now reviewed the proposal to install a signal at this location, and all three have advised that in view of the associated safety risks, they cannot recommend such an installation.
In particular in discussing sight distance, Delphi/McCormick-Rankin’s report authored, by Dr. John Robinson (attached as Document 2), notes that:
“Sight Distance Available: The provision of stopping sight distance and in the case of intersections, crosswalks or similar facilities where vehicles may have to yield the right-of-way to vulnerable road users – decision sight distance – is critical to the safety of all users of such facilities. Failure to provide adequate sight distance in such circumstances jeopardizes public safety and, in the event of litigation flowing from a collision where lack of sight distance was a contributing factor, would in all probability be interpreted by the courts as a failure on the part of the Municipality to meet the standard for their required duty of care.”
The report prepared by iTrans Consultants (attached as Document 3), also discusses the sight distance issue noting that:
“Stopping sight distance is defined as the distance needed by a vehicle travelling at the design speed of a roadway to be able to stop before reaching a stationary object in its path.
As noted by both Delcan and MRC, the stopping sight distance available on King Edward Avenue southbound to the Cathcart Street intersection is compliant with the 60-65 metres required for a 50 km/h design speed. This statement of compliance was made in reference to the TAC Manual for automobiles and trucks with antilock braking systems. However the stopping sight distance at the 50 km/h design speed is inadequate to provide the 85-110 metres required for heavy trucks with conventional braking systems.
To further complicate the issue, according to profiles provided by Delcan, the southbound ramp from the MacDonald Cartier Bridge to Cathcart Street is on a 3% downgrade. The effect of a downgrade is to increase the required braking distance. By applying table C2-3 from the Geometric Design Standards for Ontario Highways (MTO) for a design speed similar to the observed operating speeds an additional 5 metres of stopping distance is needed.
It appears from the documents provided to iTRANS for review that the stopping sight distance required for the design speed of 50 km/h is only marginally compliant at best.
While the stopping sight distance may be marginally compliant with the theoretical design speed of 50 km/h, it is not adequate for the actual current operating speeds of traffic. The 85th percentile operating speed measured by the City along the southbound approach to the intersection is 62 km/h.
Vehicle speeds in excess of design speeds on any facility will result in challenges for drivers but particularly so for this location where sight distance and stopping sight distance is limited.”
The iTrans report concludes that:
“It is the professional opinion of the undersigned that a signalized pedestrian crossing at the intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street not be implemented for the reasons expressed ….”
And, Delphi/McCormick-Rankin’s report concludes that:
“In our view the complex and layered nature of the risk environment that would be present should a crosswalk be constructed makes it impossible to develop cost-effective mitigation measures which could overcome the hazards present in this risk environment. In the strongest possible terms we recommend against proceeding with the proposed pedestrian crosswalk.”
In summary, staff cannot proceed with the installation of a pedestrian signal at the intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street as directed by Council without exposing the City to liability. Therefore, Public Works and Services respectfully request that Council reconsider this matter and rescind the previous decision.
A map of this area is attached at Document 4.
No public consultation has been undertaken.
There are no financial implications at this time.
Document 1 - Memo in Response to Transportation Report 16 May 2007
Document 2 - Delphi MRC Memo (available in pdf only)
Document 3 - iTrans Review (available in pdf only)
Document 4 - Key Map
The report’s recommendation will be implemented following Council approval.
M E M O / N O T E D E S E R V I C E
To / Destinataire
Mayor and Members of Council
de fichier: RTS#: 28333
From / Expéditeur
Deputy City Manager
Department of Public Works and Services
Subject / Objet
Pedestrian Crosswalk at the Intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street
Date: 8 June 2007
At Transportation Committee on 16 May 2007, a report prepared by Councillor Bédard entitled “Pedestrian Crosswalk at the Intersection of King Edward Avenue and Cathcart Street” was considered (ref ACS2007-CCS-TRC-002).
During discussion of that item, both Mr. John Buck, Manager, Traffic Management, and Mr. Ron Jack, of Delcan Corporation, the firm that managed the Environmental Assessment Study for the King Edward Renewal Project, stressed that, as noted in the staff comments contained in the Councillor’s report, this location is not suitable for a pedestrian signal as the new alignment of the ramp from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, north of that point, does not provide sufficient sight distance for operators of large southbound trucks with conventional braking systems to see, react, and stop in time to avoid collisions with queued vehicles backed up from the Cathcart Street intersection.
Despite that input, members of the Committee unanimously approved the report recommendation that a pedestrian crosswalk be installed at that intersection.
For the reasons set out in our comments in the report, staff cannot support the installation of a pedestrian signal at this location unless a solution is found that will facilitate that installation without compromising the safety of other road users approaching that intersection. To date, we have not found that solution. Furthermore, neither our professional engineering code of ethics nor the Ontario Highway Traffic Act will permit us to install a pedestrian signal under such circumstances.
As our comments in the report note, this intersection is situated in a very complex environment. A combination of the geometry of the southbound ramp (from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge), the height of its barrier walls, the volume and makeup of the traffic using it, visibility conditions on the inside of the curve, the pedestrian crossing time requirements, the vehicle storage capacity of King Edward Avenue north of Cathcart Street, the need to retain advance warning flashers at the curve, and a number of other factors, ultimately led to our conclusion based on public safety requirements.
During the public consultation phase of the Environmental Assessment Study, a commitment was made to install underground ducting during construction, “ to accommodate possible future pedestrian-activated traffic signals at this location if/when warranted, or determined appropriate.” It, of course, led residents to believe that such an installation was technically possible.
However, the intent of EA Studies is to identify all issues at hand, seek a broad range of options to address those concerns and, to then recommend an overall plan – at a conceptual level – that appears to best address the issues in a cost-effective manner. At that level of review, provisions such as pedestrian crossings may be acknowledged or envisaged.
During the detailed design phase following Council approval of the conceptual plan, situations occasionally arise where an acknowledged or envisaged element in the recommended plan must be discarded if found to be inappropriate due to specific constraints. Unfortunately, that is the case here. Further, the studies discussed in the report show that pedestrian demand at this site falls far short of the Council-approved warrants for those devices.
In light of our inability to install a pedestrian signal for the reasons cited, please be advised that, should Council endorse the Transportation Committee recommendation, staff will not be able to proceed until such time as funds have been identified and approved to engage specialized consulting engineering expertise to identify whether there are specific measures which can be implemented to allow installation at this location. Implementation funding, expected to be significant, would also have to be budgeted.
Should you have any questions with respect to the above please do not hesitate to contact me.
Original signed by
cc: Director, Traffic and Parking Operations Branch
Coordinator, Transportation Committee