Baseline Rapid Transit Meeting - February 1

Post date: Jan 28, 2017 4:42:13 PM

Dear members of the Bel-Air Community Association,

We are writing to you to inform you of an important public transit matter being decided shortly and impacting our community in the next 2 years. An Environmental Assessment of the Baseline Road Bus Rapid Transit project (BR-BRT) will be presented at the February 1 meeting of the City's Transportation Committee. It is the last part of the preliminary planning process, and if it is accepted by the Transportation Committee, the BR-BRT plan will go to City Council, for approval, the following week.

WE live in an area with a significant population of seniors including long-term care facilities as well as families with young children. These community members need accessible, safe, convenient and available public transit service.

While "rapid" transit is appealing, "safe" and "efficient" public transit are more important.

The following are concerns that need to be raised:

1. Dedicated bus lanes in the middle of the street are being proposed. Ottawa winters, given our volume of snow fall and the likelihood of ice rain, can produce treacherous conditions for walking and crossing roadways. Slippery streets and passenger wait-stations, snow banks, and inches of slush are not easy to navigate at the best of times, but dealing with these in the middle of the street creates a very challenging (not friendly) physical environment for transit users particularly seniors, young children and those with mobility challenges.

2. Middle of the road bus stops puts passengers’ safety at risk when they must cross lanes of traffic to reach passenger wait-stations.

3. The proposed system will make passengers walk further distances to bus waiting stations because there will be fewer bus stops. The elderly and those with mobility issues will be particularly negatively impacted by added distances to bus waiting stations.

The following recommendations are suggested:

1. We, as community members, need the assurance of the City of Ottawa Transportation Committee that there will be prompt and effective snow and ice clearing, from middle of the road waiting stations/bus shelters and platforms, as well as sanding or salting, to prevent slipping, falls and injuries to seniors, young children and those with mobility challenges.

2. Transit users need protection from oncoming traffic while standing at central median waiting stations/bus shelters. There must be bollards built behind all bus shelters to ensure the safety of those waiting for buses.

3. There must be traffic lights and pedestrian cross walks at locations where passengers need to cross to the bus stop and wait stations.

4. More bus-stops are needed so that transit users including seniors and those with mobility or other health-related challenges can easily and safely access bus service without walking great distances, particularly in inclement and winter conditions.

The above recommendations will help encourage ridership by making the system as convenient, accessible and appealing as possible.

More than $1.5 million has been spent on the Baseline Road – bus rapid transit project to date. We are appealing to the Transportation Committee to ensure that further construction includes the above mentioned recommendations as amendments to the currently proposed system in order to serve citizens well. The project needs to be more user-friendly. There needs to be a pause to ensure that the design and important details of the project provide adequate accessibility, safety, convenience and availability of service to those most in need of public transit, that is, seniors, mobility and health challenged community members as well as younger children and their parents.

Here are some ways you could be involved and influence this decision making process:

1. Write an e-letter to the Transportation Committee discussing your concerns with the current proposed plan for the Baseline Road – bus rapid transit system. Send it to Rosemary Theriault (

613- 580- 2424 ext.21624. She is the Committee coordinator.

If she receives this soon, she will include it with the documentation that is sent out to the Transportation Committee members in advance of the upcoming meeting. It then will become part of the official record.

2. Send e-mails to all Transportation Committee members, outlining your concerns and expressing dissatisfaction with the proposed design. This can be very similar wording to the letter sent by email to the Committee Co-ordinator. (See the list of Committee members below.)

3. Attend the Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday February 1 at 9:30 AM at City Hall Champlain Room. You can choose to register to speak about the problems with the proposed design of the BR-BRT.

Members of the City of Ottawa Transportation Committee

Chair: Councillor Keith Egli

Vice Chair: Councillor Catherine McKenney

Members: Councillor Bob Monette

Councillor Jody Mitic

Councillor Shad Qadri

Councillor Diane Deans

Councillor Mathieu Fleury

Councillor David Chernushenko

Councillor George Darouze

Councillor Scott Moffatt

Councillor Michael Qaqish

Ex Officio: Mayor Jim Watson

Thank you for taking the time to share your views with our elected municipal politicians on the Transportation Committee. Together, we can make a significant difference in the outcome of this important public transit project in our community!!

Bob Smith, Suzanne Brown, Michelle Meyer, Members of the Bel-Air Community Association (BACA) Traffic Committee

Bel-Air Community Association Executive