In Summer 2001, the City of Ottawa initiated an Environmental Assessment Study for the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor (AVTC). The AVTC is a tract of land owned primarily by the City of Ottawa, and designated in the former Region of Ottawa-Carleton Official Plan and in the current Ottawa Official Plan for transportation purposes. As shown in the figure below, the Corridor runs north and west from the Walkley/Conroy intersection to the Nicholas/Highway 417 interchange.
The Alta Vista Transportation Corridor EA has proven to be a complex exercise in balancing the technical and public aspects of the project and the diverse opinions expressed by the communities affected. Over the course of the study, there has been significant effort and consultation to bring the study to this stage.
The major aspects of the study, as listed below, are briefly described in this Summary section of the Environmental Study Report.
- Needs Assessment
- Development of Alternative Solutions
- Evaluation of Rapid Transit
- Evaluation Process
- Evaluation Methodology
- Re-Evaluation Process
- Development of Alternative Designs and Evaluation
- Technically Recommended Plan
- Stage 1 Hospital Link
S.2 Needs Assessment
The technical analysis supporting the City’s Official Plan (OP), Transportation Master Plan (TMP), and the analysis conducted throughout this study, concludes that additional transportation capacity in the AVTC is needed. Approvals for growth and development of communities such as Riverside South and Leitrim were based on the assumption that the transportation facilities (rapid transit and roads) identified in the OP and TMP would be in place – including the AVTC.
The TMP identifies when various sections of the AVTC are required to be implemented. In the short term, capacity is required to facilitate the development of the Health Care Node located along Smyth Road. In the longer term, a connection north to the Queensway and south to Walkley Road both provide important links needed to maintain, what is considered and documented in City policies to be, acceptable levels of service and connectivity.
The Corridor has been identified for transportation purposes since 1966 and this was reconfirmed in subsequent Official Plans, including the 2003 City of Ottawa’s OP and TMP. A key component of the initial EA analysis was to re-evaluate if there is a need to provide for transportation infrastructure in the study area to help meet the current and future transportation-related requirements in the Southeast Sector of the City. The Needs Assessment report (March 2002, and subsequent updates) represents part of the first phase in the Environmental Assessment Study. The Needs Assessment considered:
- Existing travel conditions at specific screenlines within the Southeast Sector
- Various travel modes across these screenlines
- Growth areas in the Southeast Sector
- Future travel conditions related to the City's new population growth targets to the year 2021
- Transit alternatives and ridership targets
- Future vehicular capacities of the screenlines
- Future capacity surpluses or deficiencies across the screenlines
- A broad range of possible future strategies to address deficiencies in screenline capacity
- A more localized view of existing and future road and intersection capacity in the Alta Vista/Smyth area related to planned growth at the Smyth Road Health Care Node, the Train Yard Lands and NCC lands located north of Hurdman Station.
The conclusion of the Needs Assessment are:
- Firstly, with regard to the Southeast Sector as a whole, this analysis demonstrates that the current levels of service/congestion are approaching critical levels. The projected year 2021 conditions indicates that even with the implementation of a broad range of travel reducing strategies, with the achievement of higher transit modal share targets and with increased overall road system efficiency, there is still the need for a considerable amount of additional transportation infrastructure throughout the Southeast Sector.
- Secondly, with regard to the Walkley and Smyth Screenlines, which include the AVTC, specific analysis of future transportation needs north of Walkley Road indicated the need for additional transportation capacity/infrastructure across the Walkley and Smyth Screenlines to address the transportation needs of the Southeast Sector by the Official Plan horizon (2021), and that this infrastructure is only part of a larger package of transportation-related solutions for this sector. The alternatives to address the projected deficiency both inside and outside the AVTC range from a transit-only solution, to various transit/road combinations to road-only solutions.
- Thirdly, with regard to the more localized needs on the vicinity of the Smyth Road Health Care Node, there is an imminent and identified need for additional transportation system capacity in the section of the AVTC from Smyth Road to Riverside Drive, regardless of the outcome of the environmental assessment for the AVTC as a whole. For example, should the EA conclude that the appropriate solution for the AVTC as a whole is the “do nothing” alternative, there remains a previous and current demonstrated need to provide additional road capacity and transit service in the section of the AVTC from Riverside Drive east to Smyth Road.
- Attainment of a 30 per cent transit share of overall travel in the afternoon peak (the new OP’s target) will result in the projected transit modal split at individual screenlines in the Southeast Sector being within the range of 50per cent to 32 per cent, from north to south. This compares to the 40per cent to 15per cent range of target transit shares for 2021 that were established in the 1997 Regional Official Plan.
- Even with the attainment of the above-noted increased transit modal splits at individual study area screenlines, a considerable amount of residual travel demand remains that will require additional roadway capacity within the Southeast Sector.
- Specifically, the additional arterial road infrastructure identified as necessary by 2021 in the Southeast Sector includes the widening of each of: River Road/Limebank Road, Albion Road and Bank Street across the Leitrim Screenline, the widening of Conroy Road to six lanes, the twinning of the Airport Parkway across the CNR East Screenline, and the provision of additional arterial capacity north of Heron/Walkley through the study area sufficient to accommodate 1800 vph in the peak direction.
- There is a significant projected capacity deficiency across the Rideau River Central Screenline that could be partially alleviated by additional road capacity linking the Southeast Sector across the Rideau River to the Queensway and beyond.
S.3 Development of Alternative Solutions
The alternative solutions to address the future transportation needs of the Southeast Sector of Ottawa, and specifically the projected capacity deficiencies across the Walkley/Heron and Smyth Road Screenlines, included a full range of alternatives located within and outside of the AVTC. These are briefly described as follows:
- Within the AVTC Corridor
- Rapid Transit Only: This solution took the form of either laying tracks in the corridor for a rail-based technology or building a two-lane transitway. Stations would be developed at appropriate locations for walk-in and drop-off of passengers, for park-and-ride lots, and for vehicle access in the case of a transitway.
- Roadway Only: These solutions provided capacity for all vehicles (private and transit) by building either a two-lane or a four-lane roadway from the Conroy/Walkley intersection north and west to the Queensway (Nicholas interchange). The two-lane roadway option is a shared facility for all vehicle types. Variations of a four-lane roadway had four lanes for general traffic, or two lanes for general traffic and two lanes for HOV usage, either all day or during peak periods only.
- Hybrid Solutions: Either of the foregoing rapid transit solutions could have been combined with a two-lane (or four-lane) roadway giving a high level of service for both transit and private vehicles. A four-lane roadway could also have been developed with two lanes for general traffic and two bus-only lanes, thus providing extra capacity for private and public vehicles.
- Do Nothing: No transportation facilities would be built in the Corridor but with the necessary additional transportation capacity either provided outside the AVTC or not at all. There are, however, plans for a recreational pathway in the AVTC that could be implemented independently. If the Corridor were not to be used for transportation purposes, its future use could be the subject of a detailed land use study to determine the best use of the land for the achievement of the Smart Growth objectives of the OP.
- Outside the AVTC Corridor
- Rapid Transit Only: There were three options for a rapid transit solution outside the Corridor.
The first entailed the extension of the existing Southeast Transitway and/or the O-Train south of the Hunt Club Road to the Airport and the Riverside South/Leitrim Communities.
The second alternative entailed the development of a rail-based technology in the existing abandoned railway corridor extending from the Hurdman/Train Station southeasterly paralleling the Highway 417 corridor to south of Walkley Road and then following the CN/CP Railway/Hydro Corridor westerly to the Southeast Transitway/O-Train corridor.
An alternative to this which is both within and outside the Corridor is the development of a rapid transit facility extending from the Hurdman Station south to the AVTC Corridor, then extending east along the north limit of the Hospital Complex, through the Perley Hospital site and along the south side of Innes Road to the above-noted Highway 417 corridor to join with the possible Cumberland Transitway Corridor, which has not yet been finalized for the section west of Blackburn Hamlet.
- Roadway Only: The provision of additional roadway capacity for general traffic could have been achieved outside the AVTC corridor by widening any one or more of the following existing roads north of Walkley Road/Heron Road.
- Riverside Drive
- Bank Street
- Alta Vista Drive
- Russell Road/St. Laurent Boulevard/Tremblay Road.
- Hybrid Solutions: Combinations of both the rapid transit and roadway only solutions outside the corridor could have provided additional capacity for both private and public transit vehicles.
- Travel Demand Management: Generating greater results from policies, programs and implementation strategies that decrease private automobile travel such as:
- Education and publicity
- Employer initiatives
- Parking space maximums
- On-road cycling accommodation
- Mixed-use development.
S.4 Evaluation of Alternative Solutions
As an early priority in the EA, a study of transit in the Southeast Sector was conducted. The resultant report “Evaluation of Transit Alternatives, March 2003” gave consideration the City’s 2021 OP growth projections and applied the OP’s new transit modal split and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) targets. The transit study addressed the various combinations of rapid transit and supporting surface buses to best accommodate the Southeast Sector’s projected 2021 travel needs. With regard to north-south rapid transit, both the O-Train/Southeast Transitway Corridor and the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor were evaluated to determine how to best extend rapid transit service to the southern growth areas and how to best maximize transit ridership for the dollars spent. The study concluded that the extension of the O-Train/Southeast Transitway Corridor was by far the best corridor for north-south rapid transit for the Southeast Sector, and that the AVTC should not be recommended for north-south rapid transit.
Concurrent with the transit study, the City was conducting the Rapid Transit Expansion Study (RTES) and the TMP as input to the Official Plan. Following extensive study, both the RTES and the TMP recommended the extension of the O-Train Corridor as being the best corridor for north-south rapid transit in the Southeast Sector (along with the Southeast Transitway). The City’s OP incorporated these recommendations.
Consideration was also given to how much the transit ridership would have to increase above the OP’s 2021 targets in order to absorb the projected surplus north-south travel demand of 1800 vph in the peak direction so that there would be no deficiency in the area’s north-south road network across the key study area screenlines (i.e., no road required in the AVTC). It was determined that the percentage of transit across the Walkley-Heron and Smyth Screenlines would have to increase from the current 16per cent (2,420 transit riders) up to 57per cent (13,000 transit riders), and from 30per cent (2,100 transit riders) up to 60per cent (6,475 transit riders) respectively. The proposed transit system has the capacity to accommodate these increased riders, however, the issue is not one of transit system capacity, but one of how much of a transit modal split and/or increase in transit ridership is a realistic target on which to plan the City. As the study team believes these are unrealistically high levels of transit ridership compared to existing and to targets, it was appropriate to proceed with identifying, assessing and evaluating alternatives to accommodate the aforementioned projected surplus of 1800 vph.
The evaluation of alternative solutions consisted of the following steps:
- Identify the Broad Range of Alternatives
- Describe Existing Conditions
- Identify Evaluation Criteria/Indicators
- Assign Weights to Evaluation Criteria
- Impact Analysis
- Application of Evaluation Method (Concordance Matrix)
- Selection of Preliminary Preferred Alternative.
Alternative 3, which is a four-lane road-based facility comprising 2 all-purpose lanes and 2 HOV/Bus lanes was identified as the preliminary preferred alternative based on the foregoing evaluation and assessment procedure. This alternative includes:
- Two all-purpose lanes and two lanes for high occupancy vehicles (buses and passenger cars with multiple occupants) extending from the Conroy / Walkley intersection north and northwest to the Nicholas/417 interchange
- A parallel Recreation Path and sidewalk
- On-road cycling lanes in each direction.
Following the initial identification of the preliminary preferred alternative, a sensitivity analysis was undertaken to determine which of the criteria categories most affected the ranking of alternatives and if the category weighting were changed, how would the rankings change. When the value of the Social, Economic, Biological and Physical criteria grouping was reduced from its weighted value of 0per cent such that the criteria had no impact, alternative 3 continued to rank 1st. Only when the Transportation criteria grouping was reduced from 39 per cent to per cent, did the first place ranking change. For this scenario, Alternative 1: Do Nothing ranked 1st, Alternative 2: a two-lane road ranked a close 2nd, and Alternative 3: two all-purpose lanes and two HOV/bus lanes ranked 3rd. The ranking under this scenario is understandable given the significant influence (39per cent) that the transportation criteria have on the ranking, and when given a value of 0per cent, those alternatives that do the least to address the projected transportation network deficiency would logically rank highest.
In summary, the sensitivity analysis supported the selection of Alternative 3, 2-all-purpose lanes and 2 HOV/bus lanes, as the preliminary preferred alternative.
Re-evaluation of the Alternative Solutions:
Following the presentation of the evaluation results and the preliminary preferred alternative to the Transportation Committee in May 2004, the Committee directed the Study Team to re-evaluate the alternative solutions with the addition of a bus rapid transit alternative included. The study team subsequently developed the seventh alternative solution, which would be a bus-based Transitway running from the Southeast Transitway through the AVTC to the East-West O-Train line south of Walkley Road. The rationale for this alternative stemmed from the possibility that the Hospital Rapid Transit link, which is under appeal, could be removed from the Official Plan. As such, a transit rider, coming from the east, wishing to access the Hospitals would ride the East-West LRT to a station at Conroy, transfer to a BRT facility extending north to and through the Hospitals. The bus would then have the opportunity to connect with the Southeast Transitway.
The entire re-evaluation process, including this alternative, was repeated. A sensitivity analysis was also conducted to ensure consistency with the process and most importantly, provide an understanding of the acceptability of the transit only alternative.
The results of the re-evaluation process generated similar results. (Alternative 3) 2-lanes for regular traffic and 2-lanes for HOV/buses continued to be the preliminary preferred alternative. The transit alternative ranked 4th primarily due to its inability to address the future traffic demands as described previously.
S.5 Development and Evaluation of Alternative Designs
The Corridor is lengthy and was split into logical segments to narrow the focus on each section and resolve issues specific to them during the development of alternative designs. The four segments examined were the South Section (Conroy to Smyth), Central Section (Smyth to Alta Vista), Riverside Section (Alta Vista to Rideau River), and the Nicholas-Lees-Highway 417 Interchange Section. The following is a list of the common design objectives used in all sections.
- Designed as an arterial road
- All transportation modes (especially pedestrians and cyclists) should be accommodated
- Vehicle access to adjacent properties will be controlled and minimized
- Promote a high degree of connectivity between land uses and places along and across the route;
- Follow the City-owned Corridor as much as possible
- Designed as a low speed arterial, posted speed of 60 kph, design speed of 70 kph
- Reduce and control travel speeds through geometric and landscape design where feasible and where safety is not compromised
- 3 m wide Major Recreational Pathway will be provided
- On-road cycling will be accommodated
- HOV lanes and transit supportive features, will be determined as part of the ensuing phase related to developing the detailed design
- Flexibility for intersections to accommodate community mobility and connectivity
- Accommodate the width, weight and movements of the range of vehicles (particularly buses) that may be using them
- Generally limited-access, with only strategically located intersections
- Provide for surplus adjacent lands to be utilized in accordance with their designations in the Official Plan and the Plan for Canada’s Capital
- Between Walkley Road and Riverside Drive, the facility will be designed as a Scenic Route, as designated in the Official Plan.
Technically Preferred Alternative:
A preliminary preferred design concept was identified for each of the South, Central, Riverside and Nicholas/Lees sections of the Corridor. The preferred concept for each section was carried forward for further refinement, as appropriate, as the strategy for concept refinements benefited from a combination of further technical analysis and contributions from the TAC and PAC.
These refinements included:
- The width of the widened median areas in the South and Central Sections was decreased in order to increase the separation of vehicle lanes from existing residences. This is in response to the preference of communities that the alignment be centralized and located as far away from residences as possible. Where widened, the median width remains sufficient for landscaping and stormwater management
- The alignment in the area of the Hospital Woods was deflected to the south and west to minimize woodlot displacement and to locate vehicle lanes further away from residences
- The alignment north of the Hospital Complex was located to the northern limit of the Corridor to provide sufficient vehicle storage capacity on the connecting link between the new facility and the Hospital Ring Road
- The alignment between Alta Vista Dive and Riverside Drive was shifted north to protect for an approximate 15 m wide rapid transit corridor through this area
- The alignment in the area of the woodlot along the Rideau River was modified to minimize woodlot displacement and to minimize site alteration of flood plain and former landfill areas.
S.6 Noise Attenuation Measures
The development of noise attenuation measures for the preliminary preferred design included the input of a professional engineer and certified noise consultant. Guidance was provided in relation to applicable provincial and municipal guidelines pertaining to facility noise and potential effects on adjacent sensitive receivers. The following assessment process was utilized:
- Various locations along the AVTC where project-related noise might be of concern were established as noise receptors
- Existing noise levels at the receptors were forecast
- Future noise levels at the receptors were forecast
- Locations requiring mitigation were determined where the change in noise was forecast to exceed 5 dba and the future noise level was forecast to exceed 55 dba
- For the locations requiring mitigation, noise mitigation options were considered to include 2 m to 4.5 m high earth berms, or 2 m to 2.5 m high noise attenuation fences, or a combination of the two.
Resulting preliminary recommendations for noise attenuation, including proposed locations for berm and/or fence treatments, were determined. These mitigation recommendations were influenced by various factors including the noise forecasts, grade differences between the noise source and receivers, land availability, relationship to intersections at roadways and pathways, proposed community garden location opportunities, effects on the Hospital Woods and drainage requirements.
It is important to note that in some locations in the South Section there is an opportunity to replace the noise attenuation fences with higher berms located either adjacent to the facility edge, or in some locations, adjacent to dwellings. However, to attain similar levels of noise reductions, such berms would need to be of heights ranging from 3.0 m to 4.5 m (as opposed to 2.0 m for fences), depending on location along the Corridor. When designed with acceptable 3:1 side slopes, such high berms would consume a wider open space swath and might be more visually obtrusive to the overall neighbourhood. However, these disbenefits might be counter-weighted by benefits to adjacent residents who may prefer a high berm to mitigate noise and visual impacts rather than a noise attenuation fence located on/near their lot line. The subsequent detailed design process for noise attenuation measures should include involvement of adjacent residents for reasons such as this.
S.7 Transit Priority at Intersections
The preferred at-grade intersection designs respond to input from the Transit Services Branch (OC Transpo) of the City of Ottawa. At intersections where a bus stop is required, a bus priority design has been incorporated. This includes the development of a bus priority lane and bus shelter island on the near side of the identified intersections, adjacent to the HOV lane. This will allow buses to pick-up passengers without blocking traffic, as well as a priority signal phase (white vertical bar), when the signal turns from red. Additional benefits include less chance of transit passengers being splashed by passing vehicles, and no right-turning vehicles turning in front of buses. At these locations, a right-turn lane for traffic exiting the arterial will be located to the right side of the island. The Transit Services Branch has estimated that over a 20-year horizon, peak hour bus volumes in the peak direction would grow/range from approximately 12 to 30 buses per hour.
It should be noted that this bus priority design adds significant width to the road facility. Another alternative that was considered was to combine the bus priority lane and the right-turn lane. This would reduce the overall road width at these intersections by 10m, at each bus stop location, reducing pedestrian crossing distances, and giving lesser priority to buses. Additional characteristics include greater potential for waiting transit passengers being splashed by right-turning vehicles, potential bus delays due to right-turning vehicles, delays to right-turning vehicles due to stopped buses and safety concerns associated with right-turning vehicles passing in front of stopped buses. Either alternative would provide a suitable level of service and safety for all modes. This is considered to be a choice that can be determined at the subsequent detailed design stage.
S.8 Landscape Concept
One of the key common design objectives for the facility is for it to be developed as a Scenic Route located within a Major Open Space corridor yet adjacent to residential uses. Key characteristics of the plan pertaining to landscaping include:
- Integration of noise attenuation berms as a visually interesting landscape feature
- Pursuit of a rhythm of berms, planting groupings, open spaces, and intersections
- Occasional visual openings and landscape connections to adjacent open space areas where berms are not required or not possible or where breaks are necessary (such as at intersections and pathway crossings)
- Mitigation of the visual effects of noise attenuation fences, where utilized, by including planting adjacent to them
- Mitigation of visual effects of the facility on adjacent users, through the location and design of planting and berms
- Mitigation of potential headlight glare in the vicinity of curves and intersections by the strategic location and design of planting and berms
- Dual use of wide median areas for a combination of planting and stormwater management where required
- Locating tree plantings on the windward (outside) sides of berms, and offset from the road edge in other locations, in an attempt to mitigate potential for snow drifting
- Locating features in a manner that leaves opportunities for open space uses requiring large areas unobstructed by berms or planting
- Planting adjacent to natural areas that is non-invasive and that will emulate natural characteristics.
S.9 Stormwater Management
One of the considerations in the evaluation of alternative designs was the incorporation of stormwater management facilities (SWMF) into the roadway. A detailed Stormwater Management Study is required to address benefits and optimization of proposed SWMF. This study would look at specific areas and details including the Norway Crescent drainage basin and Smyth Road westerly in the AVTC storm sewer outlet, to again increase level of service in the sewer system to the east. While the detailed Stormwater Management Study will address the design specifics of the SWMF, the following is an overview of the required facilities
- Dry pond(s) will be required for the AVTC in any event to control flows to existing outlets
- Direct flows from 200 m south of Pleasant Park to the bend north of Smyth, which naturally drains easterly to the Rideau River. This has been suggested in past reports as an alternative to taking the controlled flows easterly, which generally help to reduce flooding and relieve other issues
- North of Smyth Road for example, an existing SWF in the Ottawa Life Sciences Technology Park would need to be expanded, if there is sufficient room. Quality treatment would be considered at several locations as opposed to one location at the Rideau River
- Specific surface icing/flooding maintenance issues can be addressed at 2 locations on the east side of the corridor, north and south of Pleasant Park Road, which provides benefits beyond the requirements of the roadway
- Larger areas than needed for the roadway are included as they drain towards the Corridor from Lynda Lane and other lands to the west, and to minimize areas draining to the east
- A larger pond will reduce the downstream flow and hence the piping costs all the way to the Rideau River
- Pleasant Park Road drainage across the AVTC has been included, again to increase the level of service downstream easterly.
S.10 Overview of Preferred Design
The Preferred Design for the AVTC shows the basic functional geometric design of the proposed facility. In addition to the facility’s geometric design, a demonstration of landscaping and noise mitigation measures, that are considered built-into the Preferred Design, are also shown. It is important to note that the landscaping and noise mitigation measures are shown as a conceptual demonstration, and would be subject to refinements at the detailed design stage. Participation of adjacent residents into the design of the landscaping and noise mitigation measures will be an important aspect during the detailed design phase.
S.11 Stage 1 Hospital Link
As previously mentioned, the need to conduct this EA at this time is due to the increasing development of the Hospital Area which will require major new infrastructure to accommodate the related growing travel demands and to minimize community impact. The TMP identified the required staging of the AVTC and stated that the section from Riverside to the Hospitals was needed in the first phase (before 2008). This, along with Council’s direction that only the funds required for this stage are included in the long-range financial plan, confirmed the link from Riverside to the Hospitals as Stage 1.
The purpose of the Hospital Link in the AVTC is to provide a connection from Riverside Drive and the Southeast Transitway easterly to the Hospital Lands. This link is needed to improve transit service to the area and to accommodate projected growth in vehicle travel demand related to ongoing development of the Hospital Lands. As such, it would relieve pressure on the adjacent sections of Alta Vista Drive and Smyth Road, which are currently operating close to, or at capacity.
As the intent of the EA process is for the initial phase of the AVTC to be compatible with the recommended design solution for the ultimate facility, the choices for the initial Hospital Link included: a link that will form a portion of the ultimate facility from Riverside Drive through to the Hospital Lands; and a link that is separate from the ultimate facility so as not to preclude its ability to be constructed if/when required. Due to the combination the recommended alignment of the ultimate design solution, the limited available right-of-way in certain locations within this section of the Corridor, the geometric complexities of passing under the railway tracks and over Riverside Drive, and the desire to minimize throw-away costs if/when the ultimate facility is built, it was determined the Hospital Link would form a portion of recommended ultimate facility.
The recommended Stage 1 Hospital Link is the southerly two lanes of the ultimate four-lane design solution. The ultimate cross-section of these two lanes, which would be the future eastbound lanes, is 9.25 m comprised of a 2.0 m wide bicycle lane a 3.5 m outside vehicle (HOV) lane and a 3.75 m inside regular traffic lane. Initially, when these two lanes operate as the two-way Hospital Link, the 9.25 m will be divided equally, with each of the eastbound and westbound lanes being 4.625 m wide. This lane width is suitable for shared use (motorized vehicles and bicycles), while being entirely compatible with the ultimate cross-section.
The two-lane Hospital Link will extend from the existing Hospital Ring Road west to a realigned Riverside Drive. It will pass over the realigned Riverside Drive, over the Southeast Transitway, across Old Riverside Drive (which will be cul-de-sac), underneath the CN rail line, and will intersect Alta Vista Drive and the Hospital Ring Road at-grade. As it passes over the realigned Riverside Drive, connecting ramps down to Riverside Drive are provided at the existing Hincks and Frobisher intersections. In addition to the core two lanes, turn lanes will be required at intersections; bus ramps will be provided to/from the Transitway and bus priority lanes will be provided where appropriate. Appropriate noise attenuation and landscaping will also be provided.
With regard to total construction costs in 2005 dollars, the Hospital Link is estimated to cost approximately $59M, and the Ultimate Facility is estimated to cost approximately $135M.
This environmental assessment involved one of the most extensive public consultation programs undertaken by the City of Ottawa. There have been more than 2500 participants at the various consultation events which is reflective of successful notification of events and the high public interest. The following is an overview of the project’s consultation:
- City of Ottawa Project Website – established at the beginning of the project and contains a detailed summary of the entire project:
- Walk-About – November 17, 2001 – the project team hosted a field trip for interested members of the PAC, TAC, City Councillors and members of the public. The group walked up the entire corridor examining the various study area features. Approximately 40 people attended;
- Public Meeting #1 – December 12, 2001 - meeting was hosted by the City to provide the communities potentially affected by the project with an understanding of the study, the history of the project, the EA process and opportunities to become involved. Approximately 750 attended;
- Open House #1 – September 26, 2002 - presented a comprehensive list of issues identified to date, summaries of the existing condition and needs assessment, as well as the alternative solutions being considered [do nothing, rapid transit (bus or rail), roadways and combinations]. In addition, the public had the opportunity to review and provide comments on the list of criteria used to evaluate the various alternative solutions. Approximately 500 people attended;
- Open House #2 – March 30, 2004 - the methodology and analysis used to develop the various alternative solutions [rapid transit (bus/rail), roadway (inside/outside corridor), do nothing], the evaluation methodology and the technically preferred solution were presented. The public had the opportunity to review the material presented and provide their comments. Similar to the first open house, approximately 450 attended;
- Open House #3 and Public Meeting #2 –May 30, 2005 - alternative designs were developed based on the preferred solution. A thorough evaluation was conducted on the various alternatives based on criteria that can measure meaningful differences between the choices. Once this is complete, a technically preferred alternative will be identified along with any necessary mitigation measures and staging options. Over 500 signed in at this meeting.
- Public Advisory Committee – 10 Meetings during the study
- Technical Advisory Committee – 8 Meetings during the study
- Transportation Committee Presentations
- Status Update #1 – 20 November 2002
- Status Update #2 – 19 May 2004
- Final Report to Committee – 21 September 2005
The output from the above-noted 21 September 2205 Transportation Committee were recommendations to City Council related to receiving the EA, to implementing only the Stage 1 Hospital Link at this time, and to the preparation of the Environmental Study Report for the 30-day public review, in accordance with the Environmental Assessment Act. Council, at its 12 October 2005 meeting, carried the recommendations.