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Orleans residents concerned about road plan around future LRT station

Residents in Orléans and the local councillor are raising concerns about the updated road design near the new Convent Glen LRT station.

The boulevard has been reduced from four lanes to two, and OC Transpo buses, making station stops, will block traffic from passing.

Michael O'Donnell's home is a two minute walk from the new LRT station along the overpass on Orléans Boulevard, and he worries that the new design will lead to gridlock on an already busy roadway.

"It's just going to create traffic chaos and it's going to create us having to go all the way through that traffic jam and wait," he says. "The old design, to me, was the one to go for. Now you're going to have a conflict of bicycles, pedestrians, buses and vehicles all in that one small area."

O'Donnell refers to the initial road design plan, which also saw the four-lanes of traffic reduced in half, but allowed room for vehicles to pass by buses.

But earlier this year, the City of Ottawa provided a Stage 2 O-Train East Extension update, which included a new design of Orléans Boulevard, and determined that the bus stops about 50 meters from the LRT station were of an 'unfavourable distance'.

Now, the bus will stop in front of the LRT station on both sides, but vehicles will not be able to pass. There will also be cycling lanes on both sides of the street that run between bus stops and pedestrian walkways. The city says the design is aligned with its transportation master plan and plans for future cycling connectivity in the area.

"In respect of safety with the current design, people using the crosswalk, the bus stop, and the passenger pick-up and drop-off zone will cross the cycle tracks," says Michael Morgan, director of Ottawa's rail construction program. "These crossing points will be clearly marked so that pedestrians are aware that they are crossing a cycling facility. People cycling will be required to yield to pedestrians, which will be communicated to people cycling through signage, pavement markings, and other design features."

Morgan says the current design meets city standards for accessibility and safety and aligns with city policies for prioritizing sustainable modes of travel adjacent to rapid transit stations, while still providing an acceptable level of service for motor vehicles.

Councillor Laura Dudas has expressed her concerns about the design to OC Transpo. She declined to speak to CTV News Ottawa on Monday but Mayor Mark Sutcliffe told reporters at a news conference that he has been in contact with her and he is open to reviewing any safety concerns.

"My understanding from city staff is that it follows a model that has been used elsewhere in our city and throughout North America and that the highest standards are being upheld," Sutcliffe said. "And if there are improvements that can be made and city staff are comfortable with those improvements we are certainly open to looking at them."

With buses expected to stop at eight-minute intervals, resident Peter Abercrombie expects significant delays, despite the city's reassurance that traffic impacts 'would be minimal'.

"It will definitely slow traffic down to a crawl, especially with all the services down the street here at the shopping mall," he says, noting many people use the road to cross over to Jeanne D'Arc Boulevard. "But from a bike standpoint and a safety standard, yes, it's probably the best design compared to the original … it's a dangerous road right now without a bike lane."

Morgan says the city is committed to reviewing the councillor's design and safety concerns but adds that while the possibility exists to make modifications to the design of the bridge, it would be likely be expensive, would impact the project schedule, and conflict with the results of previous public consultation efforts.

The eastern extension of Stage 2 of LRT will bring trains from Blair Station to Trim Road. It is scheduled to be completed in early 2025. Top Stories

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