‘Ottawa’ Another Big Road Project would Decrease Parking in Vanier, add Cycle Track
Another major road project planned on a central commercial strip would reduce the number of vehicle lanes, install cycling infrastructure and remove some on-street parking spots.
The Quartier Vanier BIA is worried about potentially losing 25 on-street parking spaces in the area after Montreal Road is torn up and put back together with a new design.
“For our small mom-and-pop shops, that’s a big deal,” executive director Jamie Kwong said.
“Parking is always an issue. It’s about uprooting their current client base and how they access their business. This might be the straw on the small businesses’ back that breaks them.”
The city, which is keen on giving more of its right-of-way to non-motorized transportation, like cycling and walking, has been looking at eliminating a vehicular lane for most of the two-kilometre length of Montreal Road between Rideau Street and St. Laurent Boulevard.
There are two vehicular lanes now, with the curb lanes dedicated to buses during the peak times. The curb lanes are available for parking in the other hours.
The recommended design would keep two lanes in each direction between North River Road and the Vanier Parkway without dedicated cycling lanes.
East of the parkway, there would be two westbound lanes for vehicles, including one used for buses and parking, and one eastbound lane for all vehicles. The westbound side of the road would have a cycle track built to the same height as the sidewalk, while the eastbound side would have a cycle lane painted on the road. The sidewalks would also be widened.
The city’s urban design review panel of external architects lauded the preliminary design during a review at city hall on Thursday.
Angela Taylor, the senior project engineer who presented the design to the panel, explained the challenge of cramming all the transportation modes into a very narrow municipal right-of-way.
Taylor said Montreal Road is a “constrained” corridor but there’s a big interest in improving the biking conditions since it’s a popular route for cyclists.
“It was a good balance of all competing priorities,” Taylor said of the proposed design.
Taylor told the panel that rate of parking use is less than 50 per cent, so the city can accommodate a reduction in the current 85 on-street spaces on Montreal Road.
But the BIA is concerned about the larger parking picture for Vanier’s commercial districts.
According to Kwong, Beechwood Avenue lost 35 parking spots in a redesign and McArthur Avenue is poised to lose dozens of spots to accommodate bike lanes.
Kwong said when it comes to Montreal Road, merchants want the corridor to be more than just a commuter route into the core. Businesses want motorists to park and shop, she said.
At the same, Kwong said businesses understand the city’s interest in making roads friendlier for all modes of transportation.
The city’s transportation committee this week approved a redesign of Elgin Street after the sewers and water pipes are replaced. That work begins in 2019.
Montreal Road is in a similar position to Elgin Street. Underground infrastructure needs to be replaced and it’s a good time to reconsider the road design.
Construction on Montreal Road is scheduled to happen over two years beginning in 2018. The city will soon hire a consultant for the final design.