12 Apr Airport Parkway and Walkley Road Pilot Project
(Une copie de ce bulletin est disponible en français, sur demande.)
Dear Residents of Riverside Park and Hunt Club North,
I trust you are well and are enjoying a well-deserved Spring.
The objective of this bulletin is to provide information on the Airport Parkway, the progress of the City’s work to widen it and to inform you of a planned pilot project that will take place in June on Walkley Road.
History and Context
As part of the 2013 Transportation Master Plan (TMP), approved by City Council, the Airport Parkway is slated to be widened as part of a 3-phase project.
Phase 1 includes:
- Widening the Parkway from Brookfield Road to Hunt Club with a full median,
- addition of a multi-use pathway on the west side of the Parkway,
- a southbound off-ramp at Walkley Road, including a new roundabout at the off-ramp / Walkley Road intersection,
- road modifications to Walkley Road from the Parkway to McCarthy Road to mitigate excessive speed and provide better active transportation (cycling and pedestrian infrastructure).
In 2015 the City of Ottawa undertook a thorough and detailed, provincially required Environmental Assessment (EA). An environmental assessment process ensures that governments and public bodies consider potential environmental effects before a major infrastructure project begins. The provincial government ultimately received the EA study and gave a green light for the Parkway expansion to proceed.Funding for the Airport Parkway widening will be sourced from Development Charge (DC) revenue and not the property tax base. Preliminary estimates on DC revenue was not realized in the initial timeline which resulted in the postponement of this project for a number of years.
Final design dollars were allocated in the 2022 and 2023 City budgets. Final design is a detailed process that creates the blueprint to be used for the actual construction of this project and to tender the work to interested contractors. Construction is expected to begin in 2024. A public working group has been formed and local organizations, including the Riverside Park Community Association and Hunt Club Community Association are active participants.
A public information meeting, led by the City of Ottawa and their consultant on this project, Parsons, is slated in September 2022 to share the (draft) final design concepts with you.
Walkley Road Modifications
During the EA process, local residents raised concerns with unsafe traffic conditions on Walkley Road, mainly, but not limited to, speed as well as cut-through traffic on neigh-bouring streets.
The Airport Parkway project was modified to acknowledge that when the off-ramp at Walkley Road is opened, the volume of vehicles on westbound Walkley Road will in-crease substantially.
The plan is to reduce the number of travel lanes on Walkley Road between the Airport Parkway and McCarthy Road, from four to two, plus a middle turning lane.
Using the existing width, curb-to-curb as follows: from the curb, modify the existing space with a bike lane, a travel lane, a middle turning lane, a travel lane, a bike lane and the curb.
I have always maintained, that before the final design of the Airport Parkway project was finalized, I would lead a pilot project on Walkley Road to simulate, as best as possi-ble, what a modified Walkley Road would function as, particularly, how speed, volume and traffic flow may be altered. As such, in June 2022, a pilot project will take place for at least two full weeks. Travel lanes will be reduced from 4 lanes to 2, using construction barrels. This pilot is being undertaken in 2022, to measure what the impacts will be so that if modifications are needed, they can be incorporated in to the final design. Metrics such as volume of traffic, speed of traffic, queuing times in turn lanes, cut thru volumes on side streets, as well as community feedback will all be assessed.
Community Information Session
A community information session focusing on the Walkley Road pilot project is planned for April 28, 2022 at 7pm. This session will be virtual and hosted on Zoom. You may register for this event here: https://tinyurl.com/yk4jd6ku
Although this bulletin provides an update on the Airport Parkway project and explains the pending pilot project, you are invited to attend the session to learn more and ask questions.
Data Driven Decision Making
Data derived from the pilot and public feedback will be used to shape the final design of Walkley Road. This will not be an extensive rebuild of the street. There is no new asphalt or concrete, the road will be modified by paint, signage and possibly lane delineator sticks.
After one full year under the newly modified road, key data observations/statistics will be derived again and the public will be engaged to provide their feedback. This may result in further traffic safety/calming improvements, if necessary.
- The City has bigger ideas for Walkley Road as there are other projects underway or planned, such as:
- the replacement of water infrastructure under Bank Street and the redesign of that street and intersection at Walkley Road, along with better connectivity between the street, transit stations and adjacent Sawmill Creek pathway network.
- the Trillium Line Station at Walkley Road, including a south-side Kiss N Ride stop and
- the potential for bike lanes down the entire Walkley corridor, which may also include improved pedestrian infrastructure and/or other calming improvements west of McCarthy Road.
The ultimate long term goal is to make Walkley Road safer and address the needs of all users.
I would like to acknowledge various local groups who, over the years, have made contributions, focusing on road safety, particularly, the Riverside Park Community Association, the West Walkley Residents Action Committee and others in the General Vanier East community. My goal is a safer Walkley Road and community. With your input and our collaboration, we will leverage the Airport Parkway Project to make local improvements.
City Councillor, Conseiller municipal
River Ward, Quartier Rivière