Through the efforts of a group of Lowertown residents who organized under the name “King Edward Avenue Task Force” and with the help of then councillor, Georges Bedard, the City undertook a study to determine the feasibility of reducing King Edward Ave north of Rideau St from 6 lanes down to 5 or 4 lanes. This study wrapped up its final report in Summer 2010. An excellent and informative document is available from Dillon consulting on their analysis of this proposal.
As a bit of background, the King Edward Avenue Task force disagreed with Delcan Corporation’s design in 2002 for the current reconstruction of King Edward Ave with 6 lanes. As is typical in such cases, Delcan and City Traffic planners prevailed. The King Edward Task Force reasserted their case in Fall 2007, again suggesting that 4 lanes was all that was necessary since the area traffic congestion during the recent construction phase seemed to be less dramatic than many had expected. While the road was being constrained to 4 lanes during construction the Task Force argued it was an ideal time to study whether a 4 lane option was feasible. City council agreed and directed City Staff to perform a study. The consultants concluded that a reduction of the lanes on King Edward would have minimal effect on traffic and transit operations. However there was considerable reluctance among the City’s traffic operations group to move forward with these recommendations.
This matter was finally brought back to Council in April 2011 and a decision was made not to implement these lane reductions on King Edward as it was deemed too disruptive to traffic flows on King Edward Avenue and Rideau Street. Instead, a promise was made to reduce the lanes after a potential new bridge across the Ottawa River was built in the east end of Ottawa. In the meantime, it was agreed to allow on street parking on both sides of King Edward at non-peak times.
Details on this report and discussion at council can be found at: http://www.ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/trc/2011/04-06/05-ACS2011-ICS-CSS-0002%20King%20Edward.htm
For more details including descriptions of what the 5 and 4 lane options look like, consult the Lane Reduction Study.
The Sandy Hill transportation representative, was involved in this project and advocated for the 4 lane option. It is unfortunate that the study scope did not also examine why the section of King Edward from Rideau St south to Laurier needs to be 4 lanes and why it should not also be re-configured similarly to the same cross-section as King Edward, south of Laurier. A configuration similar to the south of Laurier (1 lane each direction plus opposing left turn lane pockets at intersections) would potentially have very little effect on the total volume of traffic through this section of road while having significant positive impacts on the live-ability of the street for residents and the high volume of pedestrians. Try walking along King Edward both south and north of Laurier Avenue and one can experience how much of a difference there is between life on a street with these 2 different configurations. The problems north of Laurier are especially acute for the 20 hours of the day outside of rush hour where the low volumes and wide street widths encourage high auto acceleration and speeds. The benefit to drivers is a few seconds reduced travel time between Laurier and Rideau and the side effect on residents is a lowered quality of life 24×7.
Last Updated: 28-Sept-2012