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Blair Road Widening for Transit Priority - Innes Road to Blair LRT Station Stand-alone Environmental Assessment Study

Project Status: 
Underway

Final Public Consultation Online September 28 to October 16, 2020

Due to the public health guidelines for COVID-19, this public consultation will occur online for a period of three weeks allowing the stakeholders and the public to review the material and provide feedback.

Background

The City of Ottawa is completing the Blair Road Transit Priority (Blair Road Light Rail Transit Station to Innes Road) Environmental Assessment (EA) Study and has developed a Recommended Plan to widen Blair Road for bus only and high occupancy vehicle lanes. Pedestrian and cycling facilities have also been included along the full road corridor limits.

Study Process

The study is being undertaken in accordance with Schedule C of the Municipal Class EA, which is an approved process under the Ontario EA Act. The process will involve developing, assessing and evaluating alternatives, leading to a Recommended Plan.

This final public consultation will include the following:

  • A recorded presentation
  • Alternative designs that have been considered
  • The recommended road widening design
  • Potential environmental impacts and proposed mitigation measures
  • Next steps

Your feedback is an important component of the study and can be submitted through the Comment-Questionnaire form or sending an email to the City Project Manager.

Any comments received will be collected under the Environmental Assessment Act and, with the exception of personal information, will become part of the public record. Accessibility is an important consideration for the City of Ottawa. If you require alternative means to provide feedback please email the City Project Manager as noted below. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments by October 23, 2020.

For further information or to provide comments, please contact:

Angela Taylor, P.Eng.
Senior Project Manager
Transportation Planning
Transportation Services Department, City of Ottawa
613-580-2424 ext. 15210
Email: angela.taylor@ottawa.ca

Presentation Script

Slide 1 – Title Page

Welcome to this online consultation for the Blair Road Transit Priority Project Environmental Assessment Study. This video provides an overview of the Preliminary Recommended Plan for Transit Priority from Blair Light Rail Transit Station to Innes Road.

Slide 2 – Preliminary Recommended Design Highlights

The preliminary recommended design incorporates:

  • A full “complete street” redesign of the corridor that includes pedestrian and cycling facilities and enhanced accessibility to provide barrier free access for all users
  • Road widening for combined bus only and high occupancy vehicle lanes
  • Protected intersections at all signalized intersections
  • 2 new pedestrian crossings to provide safer access to bus stops
  • Reconfiguration of the high-speed Ottawa Road 174 interchange ramps to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety for all road users

Slide 3 – Separate Blair Road Transit Priority EA

The Blair Road Transit Priority Project was introduced at the last Brian Coburn Boulevard Extension and Cumberland Transitway Environmental Assessment Study public consultation in November 2019. Given the longer-term implementation horizon and complexity of this study, City Council approved a separate Environmental Assessment Study for the Blair Road Transit Priority Corridor as a stand-alone project. This would allow for earlier completion of the EA study for the Blair Road project.

Slide 4 – Blair Road Transit Priority EA - Study Area

The current Blair Road Study Corridor is approximately 2 km long extending from the Blair LRT Station in the north to Innes Road in the South.

For this study, several design options were developed for a Transit Priority Corridor along with pedestrian and cycling facilities. The Design Alternatives were assessed based on their ability to accommodate active transportation, maintain traffic operations, and preserve the National Capital Commission Greenbelt rural features directly east of Blair Road. The preferred design is being presented in 2 sections:

  1. Blair Road / Ottawa Road 174 Interchange Area
  2. Blair Road - South of Ottawa Road 174

Slide 5 – Existing Conditions South of Meadowbrook Road

For the first section of Blair Road south of Meadowbrook Road, this is currently a two (2) lane roadway with paved shoulders and ditches. North of Meadowbrook Road to the Ottawa Road 174, Blair Road is a four (4) lane roadway.

Note that all cross-section views are shown looking to the south.

Slide 6 – Recommended Cross-Sections

The proposed design from south of Ottawa Road 174 to Innes Road generally includes a four-lane roadway with one (1) new combined high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) and Transit lane per direction.

To maximize connectivity for pedestrian and cyclists, included is a multi-use pathway on the west side directly adjacent to the community. This pathway also serves as a bi-directional cycling facility for cyclists from the adjacent community to reduce crossing of Blair Road. While this design preserves the natural rural features associated with the Greenbelt along the east edge of the corridor, an approximately 10 metre strip of Greenbelt is needed for this design.

The City’s Transportation Master Plan includes future plans post 2031 for a separate Bus-Rapid Transit Facility as shown in the bottom cross-section. In the future, the combined HOV and Transit lanes can be converted to general purpose lanes once the future Transitway is implemented.

Slide 7 – Recommended Treatment at Bus Stops

At bus stop locations on the east side of Blair Road, localized sidewalks and northbound cycle tracks will be added to improve safety. For greater connectivity to bus stops, two (2) new pedestrian crossing signals will be added. One of the new crossings is located immediately south of Laura Private, as shown in the plan view.

Slide 8 – Existing Conditions at Ottawa Road 174 Bridge

Moving north to the second section at Blair Road and Ottawa Road 174 interchange bridge, the existing condition includes two (2) traffic lanes per direction as well as a northbound high-speed auxiliary or turning lane between the east side on and off-ramps. Although there are cycling lanes on the bridge, the northbound cycling lane is between the northbound traffic lane and the auxiliary lane between the freeway ramps and is exposed to relatively high-speed traffic on both sides. While there are no sidewalks on the bridge, there is a pedestrian overpass over Ottawa Road 174 connecting to Blair Transit Station 200 m to the west.

Slide 9 –Recommended Cross-Section at OR 174

The recommended design over the Ottawa Road 174 avoids major modifications to the structure and maintains the two (2) traffic lanes per direction. A new 4 metre Multi-Use Pathway is proposed on the west side which will directly connect to the proposed Multi-Use Pathway south of the Ottawa Road 174 interchange. The west side Multi-Use Pathway is also directly adjacent to the Blair LRT Station, shopping centre and new residential towers for greater pedestrian and cycling connectivity. The east side sidewalk and cycle track will help maximize mobility and provide compatibility with the proposed future cross-section to the south.

Slide 10 – Overview - Blair / Ottawa Road 174 Interchange

Let’s now review the design along the Blair Road corridor starting at the Ottawa Road 174 Interchange. This plan highlights the three proposed interchange ramp realignments. In general, the ramp realignments reduce the turning radius at entry points, thereby lowering vehicle speeds and increasing safety for all users. Furthermore, cyclists and pedestrians crossing the ramp are more visible to motorists and minimize crossing distances.

Slide 11 – Detail - Blair Road at Blair Station

For a closer view at Blair Road near Blair Station, the redesign has removed channelized, or separated right turn lanes with traffic islands to improve safety as channelized right turn lanes promote higher vehicle speeds and are not well suited for pedestrians and cyclists. This plan illustrates the removal of the channelized southbound right turn lane at Blair Station. The proposed west side multi-use pathway, shown in blue, is broken out into separate pedestrian and bi-directional cycling facilities upon approach to the intersection crossing locations.

The intersection at Blair Station has been redesigned as a protected intersection that segregates cyclists and pedestrians and improves safety for all road users.

Slide 12 – Overview - South of Ottawa Road 174 to Meadowbrook

Moving south of Ottawa Road 174 along Blair Road is an overview of the design to Meadowbrook Road and proposes the realignment of the Ottawa Road 174 east off ramp to Blair Road heading north. To the south of the Ottawa Road 174 interchange, one combined HOV and Transit lane, shown in yellow, and one general traffic lane are provided in both directions. The multi-use pathway along the west side of the road from Blair Station, shown in blue, will extend south. Along the east side is a paved shoulder suitable for cycling.

Slide 13 – Detail – Blair / Ottawa Road 174 – South Ramps

This is a closer view of the Ottawa Road 174 interchange at the southern ramps and provides greater detail of the realigned Ottawa Road 174 east off ramp to Blair Road heading north. A channelized or separated right turn lane is included to reduce speed and for greater visibility of pedestrians and cyclists.

Slide 14 – Detail – Blair Road at Meadowbrook Road

This figure gives a closer view of the proposed design at the Meadowbrook Road intersection as a partial protected intersection. Channelized right turn lanes have been removed to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Protected cycle lanes, shown in green will transition to on-street cycling on Meadowbrook Road. Along the east side of Blair Road, separate northbound cycle track and sidewalk are proposed at the bus stop just north of the intersection.

Slide 15 – Ultimate Plan – Cumberland Transitway and Meadowbrook Station

To illustrate what the future Cumberland bus rapid transitway would look like near the Pine View Golf course, here is a perspective view showing the transitway in an open cut below the roadway with an overpass to access the golf course. Parking for the golf course will need to be relocated.

Slide 16 – Overview – Laura to North of Beaverpond

Moving further south is an overview of the proposed design from Laura Private to Beaverpond Drive. A new pedestrian crossing is shown to access the bus stop across from Laura Private. Sound barriers are proposed for residential properties backing onto the west side of Blair Road, shown in dark blue, except at locations where suitable sound barriers currently exist.

Slide 17 – Overview - Beaverpond to North of Innes

Heading further south is an overview from Beaverpond Drive to north of Innes Road. Sound barriers are proposed for residential properties backing onto the west side of Blair Road.

Slide 18 – Detail – Blair Road at Beaverpond Drive

This is a closer view at Beaverpond Drive showing the relocation of the pedestrian crossing to the north side of the intersection to increase transit level-of-service. Similar to the other intersections presented, the proposed west side multi-use pathway is broken out into separate pedestrian and bi-directional cycling facilities upon approach to the Beaverpond Drive crossing. Please note that based on recent consultations held, a fully signalized intersection is now proposed at this intersection and the functional design will be revised following this on-line consultation.

Slide 19 – Overview - Connection to Innes

At the southern limits of the study area Blair Road connects with Innes Road. The design includes a new pedestrian crossing signal at the bus stop approximately 200 metres north of Innes Road.

Sound barriers are also proposed for residential properties backing onto the west side of Blair Road. The sound barrier, shown in dark blue, includes an overlapping opening to allow access to the existing pathway.

Slide 20 – Detail – Blair Road at Innes Road

A closer view at the Blair and Innes Road intersection illustrates a protected intersection design and will provide connectivity with future cycling and pedestrian facilities along Innes Road.

The west side multi-use pathway is broken out into separate pedestrian and bi-directional cycling facilities on the approach to Innes.

Slide 21 – Potential Environmental Effects

Potential environmental impacts include higher noise levels, loss of landscaping, property acquisition and work-related nuisances such as noise, vibration and dust. Potential mitigation measures include the installation of sound barriers (if necessary and feasible), localized landscaping, agreements with landowners, and provisions in contracts to reduce work-related nuisances.

Slide 22 - Next Steps / Proposed Timelines

The next steps for the project include:

  • Finalizing the functional design of the recommended plan in the fall of 2020
  • A presentation to Transportation Committee and Council for approval in December 2020
  • Finalizing the Environmental Study Report and filing the final Report for public review in the Winter of 2021.

Slide 23 – Questions and Comments

For more information and to provide feedback by Friday, October 23rd, 2020, please visit www.ottawa.ca/blairroad.

Blair Road Widening for Transit Priority - Innes Road to Blair LRT Station

The City of Ottawa will complete the Blair Road Widening for Transit Priority - Innes Road to Blair LRT Station – as a stand-alone Environmental Assessment (EA) Study in accordance with Schedule C of the Municipal Class EA as per the Ontario EA Act. The EA process will involve developing, assessing and evaluating alternatives, leading to a Recommended Plan.

Study Area

Blair Study Area

Background

Blair Road between Meadowbrook Road and Innes Road is currently a congested two-lane arterial roadway in the east end of Ottawa. It accommodates approximately 430 daily buses destined to/from the Blair LRT Station. Widening Blair Road to establish transit priority lanes supports the City’s strategic objective to deliver sustainable transportation investments, improve transit service, and increase transit ridership

This Blair Road Transit Priority Project had been included in the ongoing Brian Coburn/Cumberland Transitway (Navan Road to Blair Station) EA Study as a result of proximity and transit system continuity. The Brian Coburn/Cumberland Transitway project has become increasingly more complex and its implementation is also in the longer term horizon. As a result, the City of Ottawa will separate out the Blair Road section from the Brian Coburn/Cumberland Transitway EA Study. Two studies would position the Blair Road Transit Priority Project to be ready for implementation sooner and would not constitute piece-mealing in accordance with the EA Act of Ontario as the projects are meeting different temporal needs and are undergoing the same Class EA level of assessment.

Key elements of the Project include:

  • Blair Road widening (Innes Road to Meadowbrook Road).
  • Provision for Transit Priority (peak period or bus only lanes) and/or HOV lanes.
  • Addressing cycling and pedestrian linkages to the existing network.

Preliminary information on the Blair Road study corridor was included in the joint Second Open House for the Brian Coburn / Cumberland Transitway and Blair Road EA Study. Note that this was the First Open House for the Blair Road Widening EA Study and information for the Blair Road Widening portion is below:

Open House Display Boards [ PDF 2.89 MB ]

A second and final Open House for the Blair Road EA study will be held in the fall 2020 to provide information regarding:

  • Recommended design for Blair Road from Innes Road to Blair LRT Station.
  • Recommended cross-sections including provisions for accessibility, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Potential ramp modifications at the Ottawa Road 174 interchange.
  • Potential project impacts and mitigations measures.
  • Opportunities for input to the study process.
  • Next steps.

For further information, get on the mailing list and to provide comments, please contact:

Angela Taylor, P.Eng.
Senior Project Engineer
Transportation Planning
Transportation Services Department
City of Ottawa
Email: Angela.Taylor@ottawa.ca
613-580-2424, ext. 15210