Category Archives: Transportation

New school start times in 2015 for some Stittsville-area schools

The hours for several Stittsville schools will change in the fall of 2015. The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), the agency that manages school bus service for the english public and catholic boards released the new times earlier this week.

The time changes are due to the amalgamation of Public and Catholic school buses to save money by reducing the number of buses on the road. Continue reading


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City’s draft budget includes 2% tax increase and infrastructure upgrades for Stittsville

The City of Ottawa tabled a 2015 draft budget on Wednesday that includes a 2% property tax increase and several improvements to traffic infrastructure in the west end, including Stittsville.

Stittsville councillor Shad Qadri says he’s happy with what he’s seen in the budget so far. Continue reading


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Library display marks 25 years since Stittsville’s last VIA train

Time flies, but it in this case I guess you could say it goes down the track.

It’s been a quarter century since the last train passed through Stittsville, and the Goulbourn Township Historical society has set up a new display at the Stittsville Public Library to celebrate the event. Continue reading


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Snow expected to be cleared from roads by late afternoon, sidewalks are next

City councillor Shad Qadri provided the following update on snow clearing, from the City of Ottawa’s roads manager.

Heavy snow stopped at 5am with flurries continuing through until 11am this morning, we expect 2 cm this morning but the wind will make it look worse. We do expect fair skies with wind through the weekend with temperatures of -15 Celsius as a high. Continue reading


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UPDATE: Small step in the right direction for Eagleson overpass sidewalk

City officials and staff from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) think they have a solution to the sidewalk problem on the Eagleson overpass, but it won’t be safe for pedestrians until at least next fall.

The sidewalk is about five centimetres too narrow for city snowplows to safely clear, and there are issues with the design of the bridge and approaches to it that make it a hazard for pedestrians.

Wilkinson attended a meeting with city staff, along with a manager of highway engineering and senior project engineer from the MTO.

Wilkinson provided this update to StittsvilleCentral.ca:

“MTO is looking at how to make modifications to make the sidewalk accessible by a ramp, wide enough for a snow plow and without the drainage channel cutting across it. [We] will put together a design and discuss it with the City for implementation this year (before next winter),” says Wilkinson.

“Snow removal this year will not be to sidewalk standards but snow will be removed when the bridge is cleared leaving a packed snow area – we prefer pedestrians to not use it and may sign it that way as it will still not be safe due to the drainage cut and lack of adding grit or salt,” she says.

She also said the City is looking at fully connecting the sidewalk approach to the overpass sidewalk when it’s in place.

Brandy Duhaime, a spokesperson for the MTO, said action items coming out of the meeting include widening the paved approaches and changing the drainage on the bridge.

“We’ll work on getting this work added to another contract this summer,” said Duhaime.


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Progress on the egress: Sens say post-game traffic measures are helping

(Press release from the Ottawa Senators.)

Canadian Tire Centre (@CdnTireCtr) and the Ottawa Senators (@Senators) announced today that their traffic management efforts, made in partnership with the City of Ottawa and Vinci Park, have significantly improved the egress times for vehicles leaving the arena following hockey games.

Working with Senators’ parking provider Vinci Park, traffic monitoring statistics have reported that since the implementation of these traffic upgrades, which include traffic flow changes both northbound and southbound on Huntmar Drive and the expansion of Highway 417, egress of the entire network has improved by more than 14 per cent, with certain lots experiencing exit time improvements in excess of 30 per cent.

“We’re excited by the results of the measures we have put in place to increase the speed of egress from the building following hockey games,” said Senators president Cyril Leeder. “The feedback from our fans and season-seat members has been overwhelmingly positive and it is clear to us that faster egress has improved the entire Senators’ game experience. We are encouraged by the progress that these changes have created and we will continue to work hard to make the entire driving, parking and game experience better for our fans going forward.”

In addition to the traffic flow changes, the Senators continue to make a number of enhancements to the game experience as part of the #SensVision25 initiative. Last fall, the organization began a repaving program that will see all of the parking lots outside of Canadian Tire Centre resurfaced. The work began late in 2014 and will continue into the summer of 2015. In addition to the repaving, new digital payment technology has been installed in all parking lots, which has enabled fans the added convenience to pay by cash, debit or major credit card.

All Canadian Tire Centre infrastructure changes specific to parking and traffic flow are geared to help improve fan ingress and egress as well as the overall parking experience for patrons coming to Canadian Tire Centre for Senators games and other events.


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UPDATE: When is a sidewalk not a sidewalk?

Why can’t snow be cleared from the sidewalk on the Eagleson Road overpass?

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the City of Ottawa are both blaming each other for what’s become a very dangerous situation for pedestrians who use the bridge that connects Kanata North and Kanata South.

We asked city councillor Marianne Wilkinson and the MTO about a few of the issues. Their responses are collected below.

Continue reading


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EDITORIAL: City and MTO need to get in the same lane

The sidewalk on the Eagleson Queensway overpass in Kanata is closed for the rest of winter because it’s too narrow for sidewalks to plow the snow.

That’s right, the same bridge that just re-opened after months of repairs, the same bridge that is right next to the Eagleson OC Transpo Transitway stop, is now closed to pedestrians until the snow melts. Continue reading


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OC Transpo adds extra service to Stittsville for New Year’s Eve

OC Transpo will add extra buses from downtown to Stittsville on New Year’s Eve.

Five 96 buses will leave Hurdman Station after midnight, taking the regular route via Stittsville Main Street, ending at the GRC.  Buses depart Hurdman at:

  • Departs 12:03 a.m. – Arrives 01:14 a.m.
  • Departs 12:53 a.m. – Arrives 02:04 a.m.
  • Departs 01:19 a.m. – Arrives 02:30 a.m.
  • Departs 02:15 a.m. – Arrives 03:26 a.m.
  • Departs 02:44 a.m. – Arrives 03:52 a.m.

The City of Ottawa is pleased to announce that free transit service will again be available to residents on New Year’s Eve after 8 p.m. This city-wide service is provided through a partnership between MADD Ottawa, the City’s Safer Roads Ottawa program and OC Transpo.

“New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest social nights of the year and, thanks to OC Transpo and its generous partners, residents once again have a safe and worry-free option for travelling,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “If you plan on drinking, plan not to drive. Have a safe and happy holiday.”

Free service will be available on OC Transpo and Para Transpo after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. OC Transpo routes will operate a reduced weekday service on December 31. Customers should check the holiday schedules before heading out.

The Safer Roads Ottawa program is a leading community partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department that is committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the city of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.

In addition to the free bus service, the City encourages Ottawa drivers to also consider the use of designated drivers, taxi services or Operation Red Nose to ensure a safe return home throughout the holidays.

For more information and travel planning assistance, contact OC Transpo at 613-741-4390 or visitoctranspo.com.


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Here’s how you can help with winter road maintenance

Report potholes and any other road or sidewalk deficiencies by calling 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

Clear snow on your property. The Use and Care of Roads By-Law No. 2003-498 and Parks and Facilities By-Law No. 2004-276 prohibit the disposal of snow or ice on roadways or in any park. When clearing snow from your driveway or walkway (even if a contractor is doing it for you), snow and ice may not be pushed, thrown or otherwise deposited on the street, sidewalk or park. Anyone charged with an offence may be subject to a fine. Continue reading


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Councillor says public info session with OC Transpo to be held in New Year

OC Transpo has announced several service changes that take effect January 4. New timetables go into effect the same day. But other than different routing for some 96A trips, there is no change to the frequency of routes for Stittsville residents.

In October, Shad Qadri said that he was working with OC Transpo staff to increase service as of January.  But it now looks like the earliest residents will see additional bus service will be in April. Continue reading


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Road closures due to Parade of Lights on Saturday evening

From the Stittsville Village Association:

Please note that there is a short road closure associated with the Parade of Lights November 29th. Please expect and plan around not being able to drive down or across Stittsville Main Street from as early as 5:30 pm to as late as 8:30 pm, although most likely, the road will be open again around 7:30-8pm. We appreciate your understanding, and please take the opportunity to enjoy the parade!

(More info about the parade.)


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Eagleson northbound on-ramp to Queensway westbound closed December 1-5

From the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

The Eagleson northbound on-ramp to Highway 417 westbound will be closing from Monday, December 1, to December 5 for necessary culvert replacement work.

Our Contractor will be working 24 hours a day to ensure the ramp will be reopened by the end of the day on Friday, December 5. We will be placing signs indicating the ramp closure dates in advance of the closure to inform the travelling public. Motorists are encouraged to take alternate ramps to access Highway 417.


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Winter overnight parking restrictions in effect from November 15 until April 1

(Press release from the City of Ottawa.)

The City of Ottawa is reminding residents that winter overnight parking restrictions are in effect beginning Saturday, November 15. These restrictions ensure that the City’s snow-clearing crews are able to keep Ottawa’s roads safe and clear for pedestrians, cyclists, public transit, and motorists. Continue reading


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Jackson Trails residents unhappy with road plan for proposed Minto subdivision

The Stitsville Village Association (SVA) says they want to work with Jackson Trails residents to come to an agreement on the best way to get cars in and out of a planned subdivision on Hazeldean Road.

Minto submitted a site plan application last spring for a development just west of Jackson Trails that would include 234 townhouses and 220 single-datached homes.

Minto's original site plan map, showing connections to three streets on the east in Jackson trails, but no connections to the west or south.
Minto’s original site plan map, showing connections to three streets on the east in Jackson trails, but no connections to the west or south.

 

The plan for roads connecting the new subdivision to existing developments is causing some contention:

  • Under Minto’s plan, traffic would enter the subdivision via Hazeldean Road in the south, and from Jackson Trails via Bandelier Way, Kimpton Drive and Eagle Crest Heights.  There’s no connection to the subdivision in the west towards Carp Road.
  • The City’s Transportation Master plan calls for a east-west connection from Kimpton Drive to Echowoods Avenue, connecting Carp Road to Stittsville Main Street, parallel to Hazeldean.
  • The SVA supports this east-west connection, but some Jackson Trails Residents are concerned about cut-through and speeding traffic through their neighbourhood. They say drivers will use it as a short-cut to bypass Hazeldean Road.
  • Shad Qadri says some business owners on Carp Road favour the east-west connection, because it would encourage residents in Jackson Trails and the new subdivision to visit their businesses, as opposed to shopping on Hazeldean Road or Stittsville Main.
  • Minto does not own the land adjacent to Hazeldean Road, so it’s unclear if they’ll be able to provide road access to the south.

The issue was discussed on Thursday night at the SVA’s monthly meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Tim Larocque, the president of the Jackson Trails Community Association (JTCA), sent a letter to SVA president Phil Sweetnam.

In the letter, Larocque said the JCTA does not support connecting Kimpton and Echo Woods, and said that additional traffic analysis is required.

“Our single most important issue of the proposed design is traffic flow and safety. The JTCA supports connecting to Hazeldean as the primary access road for the Minto development. While connecting Kimpton to Echowoods is a possible option to consider, we believe it is a temporary or alternative solution that does not fully address resident concerns including pedestrian safety, speeding, traffic congestion and a secondary emergency route,” he wrote.

Jackson Trails resident Dan Scott attended the meeting, and said that while residents are concerned about cut-through traffic, they also recognize the new subdivision should have more than one exit point, to ensure safety and proper traffic flow.

No decisions were made at the meeting, but Sweetnam said that both the SVA and JTCA should meet and make sure that the needs of the entire Stittsville community, and the needs of residents in the new subdivision, are both addressed.

The City of Ottawa is still waiting for Minto to come back with changes to their proposed site plan, based on comments received earlier this year at a public meeting in June.

At the meeting, Qadri also said that city staff are reviewing an option to connect Stittsville Main Street to Maple Grove Road, at least temporarily. This would provide Jackson Trails with a second access point to their neighbourhood.

Jackson Trails only has one way in and out of the subdivision, at Stittsville Main and Hazeldean Road. Under the current TMP, there’s a plan to connect Stittsvile Main Street to Palladium Drive, but not until 2026-2031.

There’s a long-standing promise between the City of Ottawa and residents of Bryanston Gate near Johnwoods not to connect Maple Grove to Stittsville Main. That promise is reflected in the city’s official plan.

Qadri says he’s asked City staff to review that agreement to see if a temporary connection can be made until the future link to Palladium is completed.  He says a full environmental assessment would be required before work proceeds.


We’d like to hear from residents about your thoughts on the traffic plan for the new subdivision. Add your comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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417 eastbound lanes to open Friday morning

UPDATE: Sent at 5:11am on Friday morning from Andrew MacHardy with McIntosh Perry, the contractor responsible for the 417 construction: “The newly constructed Highway 417 Eastbound lanes including HOV lanes and Hwy 7 S/E ramp widening between Highway 7 and Eagleson Road has been opened to the public this morning.  There remains minor items of work to complete within both the East and Westbound lanes that may require isolated single lane closures during off peak periods.”


 

UPDATE: Now it’s official. Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation just confirmed via Twitter that the lanes will open at 6:00am.


 

A tweet from Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson on Thursday suggests that the eastbound 417 lanes through Stittsville and Kanata could open as early as Friday morning. Late this afternoon the lanes were free of any construction vehicles, but still closed to traffic.

The westbound lanes re-opened last week after several months of construction.


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UPDATE: No sidewalks planned for Huntmar Bridge until 2026

It should only take five minutes to walk from Canadian Tire Centre to Tanger Outlets or Minto’s Arcadia neighbourhood,  but City officials are advising pedestrians to take a bus, car or cab because the Huntmar Bridge is too dangerous.

We wrote last week about the lack of sidewalks on the bridge, which crosses the Queensway and connects Kanata North with Stittsville.  When Tanger Outlets opened last Friday, on site parking quickly filled up and cars were directed to park at Canadian Tire Centre.  The mall’s management provided shuttle buses to cross over Huntmar Bridge, and police were advising pedestrians to stay off the overpass.


 

We asked the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), City of Ottawa, and local city councillors to comment on the issue.

Brandy Duhaime, a spokesperson with MTO, says that the province would only add a sidewalk if the City of Ottawa covered the cost. Any safety measures (including signage and enforcement) are the sole responsibility of the City.

Here’s the response we received from Vivi Chi, the City of Ottawa’s manager of transportation planning:

The Huntmar Road-Queensway overpass is not designed for safe or comfortable pedestrian travel. The City did engage with the Ontario government when the rehabilitation of the overpass was being planned to see if pedestrian/cycling facilities could be added to the structure. However, the existing structure cannot support a modified deck of any significant width to be beneficial for pedestrians and cyclists.  It was suggested that a new footbridge be built adjacent to the existing one but this option is not affordable for the City as a stand-alone project. 

The City is reviewing the need for signage in the area to keep pedestrians off the narrow overpass. Police have authority to enforce this prohibition.

The City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) does include enhancements to the area road system in the 2014-2019 period.  One such project is the widening of Campeau Drive (from Huntmar to Didsbury).  This new four-lane roadway running parallel to Highway 417 will serve the Tanger site and nearby new developments. Campeau Drive will have both cycling and pedestrian facilities and the development areas around the Tanger site will have additional parking.

 In the long term, the eventual widening of Huntmar Road will also involve widening the overpass, and at that time, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be included. This is planned as a Phase 3 project for implementation in the period between 2026-2031. 

We note that OC Transpo has begun transit service to the new Tanger development. Details are here:

http://ottawa.ca/en/news/new-oc-transpo-service-tanger-outlets

(OC Transpo buses serving Tanger Outlets were detoured away from the shopping centre on Friday due to heavy traffic.  Bus riders could transfer on to one of Tanger’s shuttles at Canadian Tire Centre.)

There currently are no sidewalk connections to Tanger Outlets or Arcadia.  Besides Huntmar Bridge, the other linking roads are Huntmar to the north and the Queensway on-ramp to the west.

Shad Qadri, city councillor for Stittsville, says he’s concerned about pedestrian safety on the bridge, and he’s talked with city staff and councillors to find a solution.

“The discussions with west end councillors and staff have included the need to review bringing the widening of Huntmar Road to an earlier timeline in the TMP and we will continue to look into opportunities to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile to the east, there’s a similar problem on the Eagleson Road overpass.  The bridge connects the Eagleson Park and Ride with Kanata North — but doesn’t have any sidewalks.

“Last year when it became known that the province had not included paved pathways to the Eagleson bridge in their work plans we began the process to ask for reconsideration,” said Allan Hubley, the councillor for Kanata South.

“I have had several meetings with staff for updates and expect an answer from the province after the election period,” he said.

Marianne Wilkinson, councillor for Kanata North, says she’s been working on getting sidewalks built for both bridges.

“I had asked MTO repeatedly to include a sidewalk on the Huntmar bridge but they said it couldn’t be accommodated,” she said.

Both the Eagleson and Huntmar overpasses underwent repair and maintenance work this summer.


 

Here are a few comments from our readers:

Maureen Miller-Lamoureux, via Facebook: “The article mentions that the municipality didn’t ask for sidewalks? Why? Did they not think they were needed? Does the city of Stittsville have a beef with walkers, bikers?”

Amanda Libbey Wittebol, via Facebook: “Wow! I was planning on walking there in the spring for sure (it would only be about half an hour) We always walk to the Canadian tire centre, but I guess a little further is out of the question.”

Mike Philpott, via Facebook: “I just dodged a few people who were walking to tanger outlets. Not safe at all!!”


Do you think the Huntmar Bridge needs sidewalks? Are there other areas in Stittsville that have poor pedestrian facilities?  Tell us about it in the comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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