Closing Johnwoods might make sense years from now when more of Stittsville’s planned road and transit infrastructure is in place, but it doesn’t make sense now.
I made this video in May 2016 ahead of a public information meeting hosted by the City to explain what’s going on. Watch this:
We heard at a meeting in 2016 that it was city staff, not Mattamy Homes, who initiated the Johnwoods closure. (Mattamy may benefit from the closure via premium lot fees, but it wasn’t their idea – their original plan of subdivision didn’t include a Johnwoods closure.)
In the language of city planners, the reason for the closure is to “downgrade Johnwoods Street from a major road to a local street”. In other words, they want Johnwoods to serve local residents in Fairwinds and Bryanston Gate, and not to function as a north-south shortcut from Hazeldean to the Queensway.
The closure of Johnwoods is part of a much broader transportation master plan, which includes eventual improvements to Huntmar and Maple Grove, the completion of Robert Grant Avenue to Palladium Drive, an extension of Stittsville Main from Jackson Trails to Palladium Drive, and more.
Some of that work won’t even be started until after 2031. So from my point of view, the time to make Johnwoods into a “local street” is not this year, but several years from now when more of these future transportation projects are in place, and there are viable north-south alternatives to take the pressure off Huntmar/Johnwoods.
But it’s too late to delay closing Johnwoods. Mattamy’s subdivision plan was approved in 2013 and registered in 2015. If the City tries to stop it, Mattamy would have an unassailable case to take to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), and it would be a very expensive legal process for the City.
ONE MORE THING
A transportation planning document prepared by Stantec in 2016 (see below) suggests the Johnwoods closure would add about 50 vehicles per hour to Rosehill once the Fairwinds West and Poole Creek subdivisions are complete, for a total of about 450 vehicles per hour. The report says that’s well within Rosehill’s capacity of 1,200-1,600 vehicles per hour.
Carol Lenz of the Bryanston Gate Community Association did her own traffic counts on October 16 and 18. Her data shows that the north part of Johnwoods is already handling over 200 north-south vehicles per hour during peak periods.
If most of those vehicles start using Rosehill after the closure, won’t that eclipse the 50-vehicle prediction from the planners? And why was Rosehill built to a capacity nearly three to four times higher than the actual expected use?