Dear Mr. Nussbaum,
Attached you will find a letter signed by the majority of community associations and other stakeholders in South Orleans, regarding our position on the options for the Cumberland Transitway and Brian Coburn Extension.
Although the discussion with the city and with the NCC (in 2014) began from the perspective of a residential community affected by a cut-through traffic into the greenbelt, it was quickly apparent that this transportation gap impacts all of the fastest growing part of Orleans. This includes commuters, public transportation users, and those with the great desire to use active transportation.
We hope that you will recognize the importance of this lack of public transit infrastructure in South Orleans and an area devoid of a safe cycling network, by the number of signatories on this letter. We represent a massive, growing geographical area that is forced to use vehicles to commute, not only to the traditional "employment core" of downtown, but to the south of the city, which has evolved significantly over the past five years alone as a major employment hub: RCMP headquarters, Amazon, EY Centre, to name only a few, not considered nor projected in previous studies that began in the early 1990s.
We fully support the NCC's mandate to protect the sensitive core natural areas and its wildlife inhabitants. However, the status quo and the implementation of any alternatives other than Option 7 will continue to degrade these areas, because of these key points:
1. There is no transitway that serves Orleans South. Residents are forced to drive to their place of work or to abutting communities where transit infrastructure exists. Vehicular traffic will continue to increase for this reason.
2. There is no safe cycling infrastructure. Renaud Road has already taken the life of one cyclist this past year. The current state, lack of paved shoulders and dangerous configuration will persist without Option 7 and active transportation will continue to be impossible in this area.
3. Traffic patterns show Anderson Road is a destination. From September 2012 City of Ottawa traffic counts, at least 50% of traffic on Anderson Road originates from Innes Road. Options 1 and 4 will push more traffic towards Anderson Road, in addition to the traffic originating from Renaud which will not reduce for lack of transit in South Orleans, and the continuous employment expansion in the south of Ottawa.
4. The LRT Phase 2 was not a factor in decision making when the original environmental assessment was developed in 1999. As phase 2 is expected to be completed within the next 5 years and again serves the east-west corridor, the east-south corridor will be again disregarded. The transit stations planned in Options 1 and 4, directed to Blackburn Hamlet, will be redundant as the majority of users will travel towards the Montreal Road station of the LRT, not west along the planned transitway. The Transitway,with potentially a stop by in the East Urban Community, should allow an improved, quick transit option through to Blair station for East End commuters.
5. Option 7 has a high degree of "phaseability" and could include a one-way transit priority lane. The city has not considered constructing a one-lane transitway to Anderson that operates in the direction of peak traffic: west in the AM, and east in the PM. A roadway could be configured similarly, as used on the Island Park bridge across the Ottawa River, adding only 2 extra lanes of traffic on the existing Renaud Rd. This would reduce the footprint of the extension in the natural areas and fill the public transit gap in Orleans south. This would ultimately result in a 4- or 5-lane Option 7 versus 8 lanes through Core Natural Areas in the case of Options 1 and 4.
As you can see, our communities and stakeholders have a lot of information we would like to share. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your team in person to discuss this further. We believe Option 7 is the best solution to the transportation crisis in the east end which is effectively damaging the areas you serve to protect.