5.0 Planning & Design Guidelines for Corridor Components

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5.1 Community Network

Collector Roads form the basic linear structural framework that communities are fashioned around. Their distribution, frequency, location, segment length, and degree of connection will establish the fundamental design elements that distinguish one community from another. The network of Collector Roads also establishes the primary transit, cycling, and pedestrian routes for a community.

  1. Articulate an overall vision for the Collector Road network to direct decisions regarding urban structure in Community Design Plans, Secondary Plans, and other planning exercises. This vision should address the full family of Collector Roads in accordance with their varying planned functions and adjacent land use context.
  2. Lay out the community with frequent connections of Collector Roads to Arterial roads in order to increase route choices, to reduce requirements for “back-tracking”, to not “load up” individual collectors, and to create large development blocks well served by collectors. Locate these intersections between 250m to 400m apart to enable efficient traffic flow along the Arterial Road and to allow back-to-back left-turn lanes on the Arterial Road when required. Lesser spacing may be appropriate when Collector Roads form ”T” intersections at Arterial Roads.
  3. Create a connected network of street and block patterns with relatively frequent Local Road intersections with Collector Roads to promote accessibility, connectivity and continuity along and across the Collector Road corridor.
  4. To achieve a highly urban corridor, design blocks with intersecting side streets every 50 to 100m along the Collector Road. In Greenfield areas, blocks between 150 and 250m in length may be appropriate.
  5. Design the system of Collector Roads to provide direct and continuous routing options for transit and cycling, and pedestrians, linking major recreation amenities, commercial areas, and employment areas, and connecting multi-use pathways.
  6. Design the network so that all buildings will be within 400m walking distance of public transit, to implement Official Plan policy.
  7. Use the Collector Road pattern to establish the solar orientation of a neighbourhood such that the number of buildings with south-facing windows is maximized and energy consumption is reduced in Ottawa’s winter months.
  8. Where multi-use pathways need to cross Collector Roads, locate the crossing points at controlled locations, preferably intersections, to provide safe crossings. Where paths need to cross at mid-block locations, consider stop controls or pedestrian activated signals.
  9. Design the intersection of Collector Roads and Arterial Roads as distinctive neighbourhood entry points, possibly including medians and special landscaping treatments. Also refer to the City’s guidelines pertaining to “Gateway Features” in new communities.
Space Collector Road intersections approximately 400m along Arterials (as close as 250m where necessary), to provide spacing for back-to-back left-turn lanes and to facilitate efficient traffic flow along the arterial.

5.2 Adjacent Land Use & Buildings

The varying land use context along a street’s ROW shapes the way in which roads are used and hence how they are best designed. Given the primary function of Collector Roads as a connector and provider of public amenity, elements such as building height and setbacks, building density and land use mixes all have an important influence on the ability of a Collector Road corridor to meet its intended functions. Good urban form can reinforce the neighbourhood function of Collector Roads and create an environment which encourages pedestrian use and enjoyment of the road corridor as a public space.

  1. Ensure that Collector Road corridors act as community “integrators” rather than “dividers” by having buildings relate directly to the road. This includes designing buildings that architecturally and functionally “address” the road rather than turning their backs to it. Accomplish this by orienting facades, windows, signage, and pedestrian entrances towards the street and facilitating pedestrian activity along it.
  2. In more urban contexts, locate buildings close to the street lot line with minimal setbacks and in a tight and continuous building fabric oriented to the street. Treat collectors in mixed use environments as main streets and implement relevant aspects of the City’s associated design guidelines for those street types.
  3. Where direct driveway access is undesirable for traffic safety reasons, use side-lotting and single loaded side streets as techniques to achieve the desired building orientation while providing for safe access and adequate space for utilities. Front-lotting with rear lane access may be appropriate in some circumstances such as within or near Mixed Use Centres and Town Centres.
  4. Avoid rear-lotting along Collector Roads. Front adjacent uses onto the roads and avoid conditions where sound attenuation fences would be required.
  5. Avoid locating street townhomes and narrow-lot detached homes with front driveways along Collector Roads that would lead to an excessive number of driveways and turning movements.
  6. Avoid garages that protrude in front of the house and ensure that driveways are not wider than the garage. Use shared driveways where possible. Design front porches and associated detailing to minimize the effect of large garage doors along the street.
  7. Provide off-street parking and vehicle access to the rear or side of buildings, using rear lanes where appropriate. Buffer parking lots from the street with dense landscape strips and/or low fences along the street lot line on adjacent lands. Provide breaks in the buffer to enable pedestrian routes from the sidewalk into the parking lot.
  8. Locate community serving uses such as schools, community and neighbourhood parks, minor commercial uses and places of worship with frontage and orientation along collector streets and in locations that can become focal points for community interaction. Site these buildings close to the street, and with no parking located between the building and the street.
  9. Locate land uses requiring large lots (including medium and high density uses served by private roads or lanes) along Collector Roads to consolidate and minimize driveway connections. Ensure that the buildings address the road.
  10. In the cases where a Collector Road separates significantly different land uses (i.e. residential from retail or business park), tie the two street edges together to maximize community integration. Accomplish this through consistency in landscape treatment, lighting, building setbacks, building orientation, and signage.
  11. Where a Collector Road corridor runs through or adjacent to a Heritage Conservation District or a federally significant area, and is requiring rehabilitation, design the corridor elements (including street lighting and street furniture) to reflect and reinforce the characteristics of the district, and respect any planning or design guidelines that may apply.
  12. Locate prominent “landmark” buildings on corner lots where Collector Roads intersect with other Collectors and Arterial Roads. The prominence may result from a combination of factors such as visual quality, height, size, use, and community function.
  13. Provide frequent and direct pedestrian connections from adjacent lands by connecting pedestrian walkways and pathways from building doors or adjacent communities directly to road sidewalks.
  14. Minimize ROW widths, reduce building setbacks, and locate higher buildings along Collector Roads to improve the building height to corridor width ratio. This will create a human scale and provide a sense of enclosure along the road which favours pedestrians and calms traffic.

Creating larger lots where collectors intersect with other collectors and arterials will provide for landmark buildings to locate at community entrances.

5.3 Road Edge

The road edge is the space between the curb and the ROW limit. This is the space dedicated to the non-travel functions of the roadway, and which defines the public space component of the road corridor. Trees and other plants, light/utility poles, road signs, sidewalks or multi-use pathways, driveways, transit stops, and street furniture are located within this space. Available space is often limited. In Urban Area and Village collectors, the road edge provides for pedestrian travel and social interaction and must therefore be designed to provide a welcoming at-grade environment.

Crichton Street, Ottawa

5.3.1 Pedestrian and Cyclist Facilities

Accommodating pedestrian movement and providing an attractive walking environment are key objectives in the design of Collector Road corridors. This is required to fulfill the multi-modal function of the roadway and to promote pedestrian activity in accordance with Official Plan policy. See also Section 5.6 regarding pedestrian crossings.

  1. Provide sidewalks on both sides of Arterial Roads, Major Collector and Collector Roads in the Urban Area and Villages, in accordance with Official Plan policy.
  2. Provide an effective sidewalk width of at least 1.8m on Collector Roads (2m along Major Collector Roads), which allows for pedestrians (including wheelchair users) to pass each other on the sidewalk.
  3. Provide a paved pedestrian width of 3m or greater along Collector Roads in areas with high pedestrian volumes and/or outdoor amenities (patios, benches, etc.), or that have a mainstreet type function. Ensure that these wide sidewalks are located along the curb and are not mistaken for multi-use pathways (encouraging cycling), through the use of appropriate surface designs.
  4. Ensure that other road edge elements (street furniture, landscaping, and utilities) do not obstruct or interfere with pedestrian movement or road maintenance activities.
  5. Locate bicycle racks not closer than 0.3m to curb or building faces, and orient them so that the clear sidewalk width is maintained.

5.3.2 Road Edge Landscaping

Attractive landscaping features can contribute to the overall visual environment and “feel” of a Collector Road and further encourage walking, leading to a more active streetscape. Plantings also bring many environmental and health benefits (See also Section 8.0 “Green Streets”). Regard for the City’s Tree Planting Guidelines should also be made.

  1. Plant deciduous trees between the curb and the sidewalk to provide shade for pedestrians, to protect them from traffic, and to define the sidewalk. Plant a second row of trees on the “back” side of the sidewalk as well, either in the ROW or on private land, wherever possible. Consider this as a major design objective when completing detailed designs and future City standards incorporating services and utilities.
  2. When selecting landscape materials (trees, shrubs, and other vegetation), consider tolerance to salt spray, sun, shade, wind, and soil conditions, and use native plant species whenever possible.
  3. Use low water demand species, especially in areas of Ottawa’s problematic marine clay soils that are prone to differential settlement issues. Follow the City’s planting guidelines for species selection.
  4. Where space permits, locate trees at least 2m to 2.5m from the curb to allow for snow management and to protect the trees from road salt spray. Offset them 1.0m from street lights to minimize light interference.
  5. Plant trees no more than 9m apart to provide for a continuous tree canopy.
  6. Provide a permeable surface area of 10m2 minimum for trees. In highly urban contexts without green boulevards, provide a continuous planting soil trench of at least 2m wide and 2m deep.
  7. In districts where the desire for enhanced streetscapes has been identified, choose plantings and special surface treatments that compliment the character of surrounding land uses and buildings.
  8. Co-ordinate the placement of landscaping features to minimize conflicts with required servicing and utility elements.
  9. Identify locations along existing roads where trees can be inserted into the right-of-way, as a continuous process of greening existing Collector Roads that have a scarcity of trees.
  10. Coordinate road edge landscaping with that on adjacent lands as part of a broader street design strategy.

Locations along Collector Road ROWs beside non-residential uses, or along the “flanking” sides of residences, are often candidate locations to insert trees, as conflicts with below-grade infrastructure are minimized.

Provide hard surface loading zones at bus stop sufficient to accommodate the City’s longer articulated buses as well as concrete pads for shelters.

5.3.3 Transit Stops and Shelters

Most Collector Roads in the Urban Area and Villages are served by transit. Accordingly, the design of Collector Road corridors in these areas must be able to accommodate transit. Transit stops should be easily identified, well-defined, and accessible to pedestrians traveling along the corridor. Along higher activity Collector Roads, space will also need to be provided for transit shelters and associated amenities.

  1. Provide hard surface pads at all transit stops, space permitting. The hard surface landing area should be 2m to 2.5m in width, and 15m to 18m in length (sized to accommodate the location of the rear doors of an articulated bus).
  2. Use bump-outs or “bus bulges” to provide bus priority at transit stops and to provide more space for transit stop amenities such as shelters, waste/recycling receptacles, bicycle racks, and benches.
  3. Provide transit shelters and other amenities to provide protected waiting spaces for transit users, appropriate to the context.
  4. Locate transit stops where pedestrians will not be forced to wait on the roadway in winter or wet weather conditions, and where there is opportunity for tree shading for cooling and UV protection in warmer months.
  5. Locate transit shelters and other amenities 0.5m back from the sidewalk to prevent damage from sidewalk plows and provide sidewalk clearance for pedestrians.
  6. Where transit stops are located at the sidewalk (in locations where no boulevard exists), provide a wider sidewalk width and ensure the landing area is clear of obstructions.
  7. Locate transit stops as close to intersections as possible, and co-ordinate their location with multi-use pathway connections, mid-block pedestrian crossings, and building entrances.
  8. Consolidate the location of street furniture such as waste/recycling receptacles, newspaper boxes, mailboxes, benches, notice boards, and bicycle racks at transit stop locations to maximize their utility and create an active streetscape at those locations. However, do not clutter key pedestrian movement zones, and locate more active stops away from residential front yards to avoid potential effects on the privacy of residents.
  9. Identify potential locations for transit stops and shelters during the Community Design Plan process. Allow for the integration of transit stops with non-residential development and community facilities.

5.4 Roadway

The roadway is the portion of the public ROW dedicated to vehicular travel (bicycles, cars, buses, trucks, and emergency vehicles). It may also include a median, and any space for on-road parking. The roadway design should accommodate travel by all modes while reinforcing the role of the street as a public space, and supporting community activities along the road edge and adjacent lands. Efforts to calm traffic and to narrow the roadway are also an increasing City priority in the Urban Area.

Provide facilities for cyclists along designated cycling routes.

5.4.1 Cycling

Collector Roads serve as an important part of the City’s cycling network, allowing cyclists to travel within and between neighbourhoods without the need to use higher-speed and volume Arterial Roads. Accommodation of cyclists on Collector Roads throughout the Urban Area is therefore a key concern.

  1. Accommodate cyclists on Collector Roads in the Urban Area and Villages through the use of 4.25m shared lanes where a high level of cycling priority is planned in the Official Plan and/or Cycling Plan.
  2. Construct dedicated cycling lanes (1.5m to 1.8m in width) only in the few instances where on-road cycling routes are designated along Major Collector Roads in the Official Plan, where on road parking is not required, and where the available ROW permits. Otherwise, use shared lanes along those routes.
  3. Consider dedicated cycling lanes where a retrofit “road diet” (road narrowing) is being considered on a road with a wide (10.0m or greater) pavement width or where on-road parking is not required on one or both sides of the roadway.
  4. In locations where a cycle lane would be next to an on-road parking lane, the total width of both lanes should be 4.5m to provide adequate separation from door openings.
  5. Locate catch basins and maintenance-hole covers outside of the wheel path of cyclists. Use the City of Ottawa standard curb-face inlet wherever possible as a cyclist-friendly solution.

5.4.2 Travel Lanes

Collector Roads are intended to accommodate a broad range of vehicle types including buses, passenger vehicles, and trucks of various sizes, as well as cyclists. They are also intended to carry moderate volumes of traffic at relatively low speeds.

  1. In most cases two lanes (one per direction), plus turning lanes where warranted, should provide sufficient capacity for vehicular movement at moderate speeds. Where four vehicle lanes are necessary along designated Major Collector Roads due to higher traffic volumes, refer to the City’s Regional Road Corridor Design Guidelines as a design reference.
  2. Minimize vehicle lane widths, while considering safety and capacity requirements, to reduce the amount of asphalt, pedestrian crossing distances, and to dedicate as much of the ROW as possible to the road edge.
  3. Provide wider lanes in the range of 3.5 to 4.25m for roads with higher speeds and volumes and mix of traffic including trucks, buses and larger vehicles as well as cyclists. For Collectors in Villages and more-urban contexts, use narrower lanes ranging from 3.0 to 3.5m, with turning lanes at 3.0m.
  4. When reconstructing Collector Roads, reduce existing lane widths to the minimum appropriate widths, in favour of increasing space for pedestrians, cycling lanes (where appropriate) and road edge landscaping, to reduce infrastructure life cycle requirements.

5.4.3 On-Road Parking

Given the primary objective for Collector Roads to support adjacent neighbourhood functions, on-road parking should generally be provided to meet the needs of residents, visitors or customers of adjacent land uses. On-road parking can also provide for traffic calming of Collector Roads if used appropriately. However, provision of excessive space for on-road parking may result in situations where more parking is provided than is required. This leads to unnecessary pavement width, where space could be better used for road-edge functions such as landscaping, sidewalks, etc., or where the ROW width could be reduced.

  1. Provide on-road parking on roads with land uses that are directly accessible from the corridor. This will calm traffic, separate pedestrians from traffic, and promote corridor-oriented community activity.
  2. Provide bump-outs to define road segments with full time on-road parking. Bump-outs delineate vehicle lanes, calm traffic speeds, reduce pedestrian crossing distances, and to provide space for tree planting, street furniture, transit stops and bicycle parking between the vehicle lanes and the sidewalk.
  3. In road retrofits using bump-outs to create a parking lane, use paint striping along the parking lane to announce and delineate the new use of the road surface.
  4. In areas with lower parking demands, such as along natural areas or in lower density single detached housing areas, consider on-road parking on one side of the street only to reduce pavement width. Alternate the single parking lane from one side to the other along the street so that the benefits of additional landscaping can be shared among both sides.
  5. Plant trees in bump-out areas where appropriate. If not, construct the sub-grade to the same standard as under the road pavement to maintain the structural integrity of the roadway and reduce future maintenance or re-construction costs. This also allows the bump-out area to be easily converted to travel lanes or parking if ever appropriate.
  6. Construct on-road parking lanes 2.5m wide, with 2.25m acceptable in constrained areas or on lower speed/volume roads. Where a parking lane is used as a travel lane or turn lane during peak hours, it should be of a lane width appropriate to the street.
  7. Limit on-road parking in corridors with dedicated cycling lanes to reduce conflicts.

5.4.4 Medians

For higher activity Collector Roads with wider ROWs, there may be the need or desire for placement of a median between opposing traffic lanes. Medians may also be used to define a unique urban district or gateway area.

  1. Limit the use of medians to reduce the road corridor width. Use medians as a traffic control measure only after other measures are considered.
  2. Restrict the use of medians to locations at major intersections along the busiest Collector Roads to protect left turn lanes, or to control traffic turning movements at specific locations.
  3. Where used at intersections, design the median with a sufficient width (1.5m) for traffic signal infrastructure that may be required.
  4. Consider the use of wide landscaped medians for unique streets (such as “Green Streets”, see Section 8) or as entry points into distinctive neighbourhoods. Medians can accommodate landscaping and street light poles, and can be used to reduce the number of vehicle lanes during road retrofit projects. They can also spatially define wide road corridors and provide refuge areas for pedestrians and cyclists, especially where multi-use pathways or local streets intersect with Collector Roads.
  5. Select landscape materials for medians according to the guidelines for road edge landscaping.
  6. Construct medians with barrier curbs as opposed to mountable curbs, to prevent vehicle intrusion into the median area.

5.5 Intersections, Driveways & Turning Lanes

Collector Roads provide the basic spine of a neighbourhood and connect adjacent land uses via a wide array of intersecting streets, lanes, and driveways. When well-designed as a system, these elements will lead to a high degree of community connectivity and a pedestrian/cyclist/transit focus that is desired in Ottawa’s neighbourhoods.

  1. Keep corner curb radii at driveways and intersections to the minimum possible, to shorten cross-walk distances and calm turning movements. Use wider curb radii on corners where Collector Roads intersect with other collectors and arterials, to accommodate the needs of the range of transit vehicles and trucks using them.
  2. Provide intersection narrowing or “neckdowns” at intersections with local streets to shorten crosswalk distances, reduce asphalt area, reduce the speed of vehicle turning movements, provide more space for landscaping, and to “announce” the entry to neighbourhoods.
  3. Consolidate access points along Collector Roads which serve higher density and mixed land uses, to reduce potential conflicts with turning movements and pedestrian routes.
  4. Align driveway accesses on either side of the road to create a more familiar intersection pattern and to coordinate the location of median breaks and potential future intersections.
  5. Consider the use of left-turn lanes in advance of only the busiest intersections, and evaluate their need on a case by case basis. Right-turn lanes should seldom be utilized. Where turning lanes are required, consider providing for a wider ROW so that there remains adequate space for road edge landscape features and transit stop amenities.
  6. Provide traffic signals in accordance with existing policy. In principle, only intersections of Collector or Major Collector Roads with Arterial Roads should require signalization.

“Neckdowns” at intersections of Local Streets with Collectors are used to shorten crosswalk distances and to announce the entry to residential areas.

5.6 Roundabouts

Labelle Street, Ottawa

Roundabouts have emerged as an alternative to traffic signals or all-way stops for traffic control at intersections, particularly in new residential subdivisions or in locations where traffic signals are not warranted. Roundabouts can offer many advantages over traditional forms of traffic control and are well suited to use in Collector Road and Major Collector Road corridors. Roundabouts provide a traffic calming function, and enhance the streetscape by providing additional landscape opportunities and visual focal points along a road corridor. In general, if traffic signal or all-way stop control is warranted, a roundabout will provide acceptable traffic control. While roundabouts can have a positive impact on intersections experiencing a higher than average collision rate, care must be taken to accommodate all road users in their design.

  1. Consider the use of roundabouts as an alternative to full signalization or the use of all-way stops for traffic control where two Collector Roads intersect, or where local streets intersect with Collector Roads.
  2. Ensure sufficient ROW is protected in road corridors where roundabouts are proposed. Additional ROW may be required at roundabout intersections versus signalized intersections, depending on the number of approach and turn lanes required if the intersection were signalized, and the demonstration plan being used.
  3. Avoid mixing different traffic control treatments within a road corridor, and avoid placing roundabouts in proximity to a downstream signalized intersection to reduce the possibility of queues blocking the roundabout.
  4. Design the roundabout to accommodate a range of vehicles, with particular attention to transit and emergency vehicle requirements.
  5. In road corridors with designated on-street cycling lanes, terminate the cycle lane well in advance (25-30m) of the roundabout entry, to allow cyclists to merge into the vehicle stream. Bicycle lanes should not be provided within the roundabout. At locations with higher bicycle volumes, consider provision of an off-street multi-use pathway for cyclists.
  6. Provide pedestrian crossings at roundabout intersections at a location 7.5m (one car length) in advance of the roundabout entry. Use a median island to allow for a pedestrian refuge.
  7. Locate transit stops to avoid potential vehicle queues extending back into the roundabout.
  8. Understand that roundabouts may not be appropriate at locations where transit routes intersect, as the impact of the roundabout on transit stop location may result in longer than desirable walking distances for transit riders transferring between routes.
  9. Do not place benches, public art, or other features in the centre island which may attract pedestrians. Locate such amenities in a safer location in the road edge.
  10. Give special design consideration when locating roundabouts in areas with high levels of elderly, disabled, or visually impaired pedestrian activity.

5.7 Pedestrian Crossings

Springfield Road, Ottawa

Pedestrian crossings include instances where sidewalks cross driveways, and where pedestrian routes cross vehicle lanes at crosswalks. These are among the few locations where pedestrians need to share space with motorized vehicles. The safety and convenience of pedestrians is of paramount importance.

  1. Where a sidewalk along a Collector Road crosses an unsignalized private driveway, the Collector Road curb should be continuous but depressed along the crossing. The sidewalk should be depressed as little as possible. Grade transition should occur in the inner and outer boulevards where they exist. The sidewalk surface material should be continuous across the crossing. This design reinforces pedestrian priority and continuity of the road edge.
  2. Where a sidewalk along a Collector Road crosses another public street, or signalized private driveway, the Collector Road curb should be returned to meet the curb of the intersecting street or driveway. The returning curb and crossing should be depressed to the elevation of the intersection. To announce the approaching safety risk to the pedestrian, the crossing surface material should be different from the sidewalk. This guideline also applies to other sidewalks that cross Collector Roads.
  3. Where extra visual emphasis on pedestrian priority is desirable, or where traffic calming is being pursued, provide pedestrian crossing with distinct surfaces or markings. In such instances, the pedestrian crossing may retain a surface elevation that is continuous with the sidewalk. The crossing surface may differ from the roadway (or driveway) and the sidewalk surfaces. The use of such designs may be reviewed on a case by case basis, taking into account emergency service vehicle needs, pedestrian and vehicle traffic volumes, and accident history at the crossing.
  4. Design sidewalk cross-slopes as well as the slope and surface transition at depressed curbs or crossings to be as gentle and barrier-free as possible.
  5. Include safeguards such as detectable warning surfaces, directional textures, warning signs, audible signals, paint markings, and clear sight lines, where sidewalks or multi-use pathways cross intersections or driveways, so that cyclists and pedestrians of all ability are made aware of approaching crosswalks and their routes.
  6. Orient the direction of curb ramps and their surface treatments at pedestrian crossings in the same direction as the crossing, so that visually impaired people are directed correctly, as well as providing a tactile warning sidewalk surface (perpendicular grooves) in advance of the ramp.
  7. Avoid locating individual formal pedestrian crossings at mid-block locations. Where they are absolutely necessary, provide traffic signals in accordance with City warrants. Pedestrian routes should be designed so that crossings are consolidated at traffic intersections.
  8. Reduce pavement width through the use of bump-outs at pedestrian crossing locations to reduce crossing distances and to provide greater visibility at crossing points.
  9. Use textured pavement, coloured pavement, or other treatments to delineate high priority pedestrian crossings such as near schools or crossings of multi-use pathways.

5.8 Linear Services, Utilities & Road Operations

Easements for utilities along the ROW edge, and joint use utility trenches are creative solutions to enable trees to be located within the ROW, while keeping ROWs as narrow as possible for efficient land use (Ottawa’s 22m ROW Residential Road cross-section is shown).

The electric utility’s overhead restricted zone clearance requirements have implications on building setbacks.

Use “bioshields” to deflect tree roots from underground utilities where road edge space is constrained.

One of the fundamental functions of Collector Roads in the Urban Area is to provide a corridor for many vital City services and utilities. These include water, wastewater, and stormwater services as well as utilities including electric, gas, and telecommunications. Postal service also needs to be accommodated. Collector Road corridors must be well-illuminated, well-drained, and as cost effective as possible to construct and maintain over their life-cycle.

  1. Provide sufficient ROW width for Collector Road corridors to enable them to accommodate trunk services and utilities that serve large neighbourhoods or entire communities, and to provide adequate space for all above-ground and below-ground infrastructure and corridor components.
  2. Provide adequate space and separations for the location, access and maintenance of services and utilities. Use shared use trenches (as per City of Ottawa Utility Coordinating Committee Guidelines), shared use poles, and other creative measures to balance the use of space for all corridor components and to minimize ROW widths.
  3. Where there is a municipal objective to minimize the width of ROWs, use easements on adjacent land to provide for the location, operation and maintenance of utilities. Obtain these easements at no cost to the City or the utilities.
  4. Bury utilities in new Collector Roads in the Urban Area, with the exception of: industrially-zoned areas, instances where it is appropriate for electrical trunk overhead lines to follow a Collector Road corridor, and locations where consistency with overhead service is required.
  5. For new road construction, assign the costs associated with the burying of utilities to the developer. At no cost to the utility or the City, the developer will provide any requested easements to provide for the location of or access to services, ducts, chamber cables or pad mounted equipment, as well as providing vaults located within buildings where required.
  6. When preparing Community Design Plans for Traditional Mainstreets, Mixed Use Centres, and other areas where reduced ROW widths are proposed and utilities are to be buried, include provisions that inform developers and other stakeholders of the implications associated with burying and that utility easements and utility equipment may need to be provided outside of the ROW and/or in buildings at no cost to the City or utilities.
  7. Where electrical service is to be buried in narrow road corridors with narrow road edges, including designs with sidewalks located along or near the ROW limit, provide appropriate space in the road edges for ducts (contiguously under the sidewalk) and cable chambers, as well as pad mounted equipment and switches as required. Easements for the location of or access to infrastructure on adjacent land may be required. Shared vault space in buildings may also be required.
  8. Where electrical service is to be buried in road corridors with wider road edges, including designs that have a grassy boulevard between the sidewalk and ROW limit, provide boulevards that are wide enough (2.0m minimum) to accommodate pad mounted equipment and switches. Do so to minimize the width of easement that may be required on adjacent land and to minimize the need to protect the transformer or switch with bollards.
  9. When electrical distribution is overhead, apply the electric utility’s overhead restricted zone clearance requirements. This includes a 5m clear radius from the nearest electric service, and a 2m clear drop zone from the nearest service, for safety and access reasons. This may result in required building setbacks that are greater than established in the Zoning By-Law and that are greater than building setback patterns along streets in established areas. Consider this when making zoning decisions on minimum front-yard setbacks.
  10. When evaluating the costs and benefits of burying existing overhead utilities along corridors planned for rehabilitation, consider the lost development potential and streetscape implications of staggered building setbacks that may result from the application of the electric utility’s overhead restricted zone clearance requirements.
  11. Where utilities are located near the ROW limit or on adjacent lands under easement, require buildings to be set back from the ROW limit an appropriate distance to provide for the operation and maintenance of utilities. For example, additional separation is required when gas service is located on adjacent lands in the area between pad mount transformers and buildings/structures (such as in four-party shared use trench arrangements), to enable access to the utility.
  12. Where reduced building setbacks are proposed, ensure that adequate clearance for utility assets, for protective devices (such as bollards if needed), and for work on the assets is retained. This is to avoid, for example, the need for permanent blast protection walls around surface mounted electrical equipment, the dangerous and costly collapse of utility trenches for building encroachments, or the costly excavation work by hand near utilities.
  13. Locate surface-mounted utility equipment (transformer pads, telecommunication pedestals, etc.) away from driveways, intersections, sight triangles, or key view lines, in accordance with the City’s Guidelines for Utility Pedestals Within the Road Right-of-Way (2003) and Utility Coordination Committee Guidelines.
  14. Where surface-mounted utility equipment needs to be located on adjacent lands (subject to easements), locate it to the side or rear of buildings, at corners of parking lots, and buffer its visual impacts with landscaping that is well-integrated with the site while providing access to the infrastructure.
  15. Follow the electric utility’s “Tree Planting Advice” when planting near distribution assets, including the requirement that trees under overhead lines need to be species that grow to less then 6m in height at maturity.
  16. Consider trees in the road corridor as an important public asset and coordinate service and utility designs to provide space for trees so that their benefits can be maximized and conflicts with services and utilities are minimized.
  17. Use “bioshields” to deflect tree root zones from underground utilities, thus keeping the utility corridor clear and protecting the tree roots from utility maintenance activities.
  18. Provide space in the ROW for postal service elements including community mail boxes. Locate these amenities conveniently, such as near pathways or transit stops, and in well-illuminated areas. Avoid locations within 9m of intersections, and locations adjacent to “no stopping” or “no parking” zones. Refer to Canada Post’s “Postal Delivery Planning Standards Manual”.
  19. Except on roads in constrained ROWs or in very “urban” locations such as in communities in or near Ottawa’s Central Area, provide adequate space (2 to 3m) for snow management along the road edge, thereby reducing the requirement for costly and energy-consuming snow removal operations.
  20. Use surface materials and street furnishings that are durable in terms of the road maintenance practices required in Ottawa, particularly snow management activities.
  21. Design road sub-grades to carry higher vehicle volumes and heavier vehicles such as buses that may be using the corridors regularly.
  22. Design roadway lighting to correspond to the road’s land use context. Specific pedestrian-scale lighting should be considered on collectors in priority mixed-use or mainstreet environments. Reference should be made to the ROW Lighting Policy (2007) for specific policies and standards when completing designs.
  23. Use joint-service (street light and utilities) poles to reduce the number of poles in the corridor when utilities are overhead.
  24. Consider the use of innovative or emerging best practices for sustainable and “green” infrastructure, including those presented in Section 4.2.

5.9 Retrofitting Measures and Road Diets

Some of Ottawa’s existing four-lane Collectors may be candidates for “road diets” when reconstruction is being planned. Green Streets can result.

Successful new neighbourhoods are designed with the objective of achieving an efficient and balanced transportation system, with traffic management measures built into the design. For the retrofit of existing corridors experiencing traffic concerns, traffic management approaches will differ depending on the nature and function of the road in question. A “road diet” or narrowing is a traffic management technique used to reduce the number of vehicle travel lanes, primarily those with traffic safety issues (speeding, collisions) which may be the result of excessive vehicle capacity.

  1. Design new Collector Road corridors to be efficiently and safely used and to prevent the need for retrofitting with traffic management or road diet measures after build-out.
  2. Use bump-outs along reconstructed Collector Roads that have on-road parking, to better define the travel lanes, to create road edge friction, and to create protected parking bays.
  3. Avoid constructing new Collector Roads in suburban settings that have design elements more reflective of Arterial Road design (such as four traffic lanes) as this may set the stage for future conflicts between the intended function of the roadway and its operational reality (such as high speeds).
  4. Assess the potential of any proposed traffic management measures to negatively impact the multi-modal and goods movement function of a Collector Road, before implementation.
  5. Identify candidate corridors for application of road diet treatment. These include four-lane Collector Roadways in the Urban Area and Villages which have moderate volumes, safety issues (collisions, speeding, lack of turn lanes), designated on-street bicycle links where facilities are lacking, scenic roads, commercial/mixed use centres, and heritage districts.
  6. Implement road diet projects to improve traffic safety and operations, provide on-road bicycle facilities without the need for a road widening, improve the overall public realm by calming traffic and improving the ease of pedestrian crossing, provide on-road parking to serve adjacent development, or a combination of the above. Also use the extra space made available for road-edge landscaping, possibly pursuing a “Green Street” approach for the road (See Section 8).
  7. Implement road diets in various levels of complexity and scale. This could range from a relatively simple re-striping project, to the complete reconstruction of a roadway segment.
  8. On a case by case basis, undertake a feasibility study to determine the benefits of a road diet, and address potential traffic diversion issues. Special consideration should be given to potential impacts on transit service.
  9. Ensure that any traffic management intervention or road diet initiative is undertaken in conjunction with adequate input from the adjacent community. Refer to the City of Ottawa’s Area Traffic Management Guidelines for guidance.