Columbia Street / Lexington Road
King Street North - Davenport Road
Columbia Street / Lexington Road
King Street North - Davenport Road
Notice of Study Commencement and Invitation to Public Information Centre
April 20, 2011 | City of Waterloo | Link
Schedule C Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study
Columbia Street / Lexington Road from King Street North to Davenport Road.
The City of Waterloo has retained HDR Corporation (HDR | iTRANS) to undertake a Schedule C Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for improvements to Columbia Street / Lexington Road from King Street North to Davenport Road. City and Regional traffic growth forecasts show the need and justification for operational and capacity improvements to the Columbia Street / Lexington Road corridor. Improvements are being developed to serve the existing and forecasted movement of motor vehicles, public transit, cyclists, and pedestrians along this corridor. Forwell Creek and associated wetlands are the primary natural environment features within the study area.
The study is being conducted in accordance with the planning and design process for Schedule C projects as outlined in the Municipal Engineers Association “Municipal Class Environmental Assessment” document (June 2000, as amended 2007), as approved under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. The Class EA process includes public and agency consultation, evaluation of alternatives, assessment of potential impacts associated with the proposed improvements and development of measures to mitigate identified impacts. Upon study completion, an Environmental Study Report (ESR) will be prepared and made available for public review for a period of 30 calendar days. The public will be notified of the date, time, and location of the filing of the ESR through newspaper notices and letters mailed to those in the project's mailing list.
Public Information Centre
Public Input is a very important aspect of the Class EA process. Members of the public are invited and encouraged to comment on the project at any time during the study. A Public Information Centre (PIC) will be held on Thursday April 28, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the City of Waterloo Works Centre on Lexington Court, to solicit public input and comments. The format of the PIC will include a drop-in centre from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. City and Consultant staff will be available to address any of your questions.
Comments and information regarding this project are being collected to assist the Project Team in meeting the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. We are interested in hearing any comments or concerns that you may have about this study. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record. Members of the public, agencies, and other interested persons are encouraged to participate actively in the study by attending consultation sessions or by contacting staff directly with information, comments, or questions. Information on this project will be available on the City of Waterloo's website.
For further information, to provide comment, or to be added to the project mailing list, please contact either:
Mr. Glenn Davis, P. Eng., Senior Project Engineer, City of Waterloo | email@example.com
Mr. Stephen Keen, Senior Project Manager, HDR | iTRANS | firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally! I won't be able to go to the consultation centre, but I'm keenly interested in this stretch of road as I cycle along it many times a year. Guess I'll have to get an email out to the project coordinators.
Lexington is the safest way for a cyclist to cross the Expressway in all of Waterloo, but that isn't saying a lot. It's a hard road to bike, with no bike lanes and fast traffic. The City of Waterloo TMP recommends this stretch for Road Diet and I couldn't agree more.
It's a good point you make about volume, but the bridge is the choke point. If widening it is on the books, then widening the whole stretch is viable. Without it, it's a lost cause.
It's an important road for cyclists because there's no other road in Waterloo that has the same potential for being a friendly Expressway crossing point for cyclists and pedestrians. But you need to follow it for quite a distance in an area with hills and high speed traffic. It is also a key gap in the cycling network in Waterloo.
Davenport has received Road Diet treatment, and the intersections at Bridge, at Marsland and at Weber are all problem points with low throughput for Lexington. It turns the rest of the road into a low-volume freeway.
Be it by widening, off-road trail, or reduction of current lanes, dedicated cycling space needs to be added here.
Interestingly, after paging through the City's final draft TMP, I see that:
- Lexington is not listed on the streets prioritized for capacity improvement (page 53)
- Marsland intersection recommendation is to add signals (page 55)
- Lexington is marked as both part of the Region approved cycling network (part of the '04 Cycling Master Plan) and a recommended cycling route in the City TMP (map, page 67)
- Most critically, this section of Lexington is recommended for "Road Diet" (page 74) and tops the 2-5 year priority list (page 64).
On the other hand, Lexington is flagged as a "major collector." (But then again, so is Davenport).
I don't think throughput in this area would be harmed much by a road diet. It's a classic "old style" road where left turn traffic blocks up a lane, and could do the same job it's doing now with 2 lanes + left turns. The question is, will it be widened, for increased capacity, and what does that mean for possible cycling lanes if the bridge doesn't get widened with it?
Davenport is a lost opportunity; in place of building a massive island in the middle I would have loved to have seen a grade or curb separated bike way here, especially in light of the changes to Lexington, which could then also have the grade/curb separation. There is a path that leads almost uninterrupted out of Uptown through Lexington and with grade separated bike infrastructure could have made for a relaxed ride to Conestoga Mall. Right now this trail ends at King Street, right by Manulife and forces people to cross the Expressway there, which like most Express crossings in this Region is just horrible.
I'm all for road diets when appropriate, but for this stretch the density is increasing and unfortunately it is suburban type of density, not urban. The former Lazyboy site is going to have multiple office facilities with plenty of vehicle use, Marsland Drive employment lands have increased, Conestoga College is growing, the West Lincoln Village is near completion with roughly 100 additional (since 2005) homes in the immediate area. At peak periods, to reduce all roads in this area to 1 lane either direction will be disasterous. Will be fun seeing emergency vehicles try to service that area in a timely fashion during rush hour.
To make things clear I'm not interested in seeing this stretch become faster for vehicle traffic, I just want to see the "growth" happen for alternatives. That means bike lanes added, better bus routes and shelters and larger/safer sidewalks and crossings. A reduction in traffic lanes isn't needed or appropriate... yet.
Effectively this exists now. Granted the left lane is not a dedicated turn lane, but it usually becomes one. Traffic is funneled around the cars waiting to turn, through the single remaining lane. These are the points at which capacity is lowest, and that means the long 2-lane stretches are low volume and fast... but slowing down chaotically with lots of lane changes at intersections.
So if you're going to handle more volume, you need two lanes plus a turn lane (which means a road and bridge widening if you're adding cycling lanes). If you want to handle about the same volume as now in less space, you drop it to one lane, but add turn lanes at the intersections. Traffic doesn't fly at 70kph in between lights but it doesn't choke at the intersections either.
While we're at this, can someone shed some light on the current construction at Lexington & Davenport?
It's been reducing 2 lanes to 1 for the last 2~3 weeks, and looks like they tore apart the side walk along the church..to made a dedicated RIGHT TURN lane on Lexington towards Davenport North?
That'll be nice.. if they can keep 2 lanes + RIGHT turn lane to Davenport
I hope they can also expand COLUMBIA between WEBER and KING to 2 lanes.. or even better, expand Lexington WEST to 2 lanes all the way from Marsland to King (no more merging into 1 lane before Weber and expand to 2 lanes just before King
Notice of the next Public Information Centre:
Members of the public are invited and encouraged to comment on the project at any time during the study. A Public Information Centre (PI #2) will be held on Thursday June 23, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the City of Waterloo Works Centre on Lexington Court Court.
The PIC aims to solicit public input and comments on the alternative design concepts, evaluation of the alternative design concepts, and the preliminary preferred design (near term and long term). The format of the PIC will include a drop centre; City and Consultant staff will be available to address any of your questions.
Link to the Notice pdf
Last edited by zanate; 06-15-2011 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Formatting
Just a bump that this session is tonight. I'll be there right at 6, in bike gear. Apart from the fact that I use this area as a bike corridor myself, I believe that this area is of critical importance to cyclists in Waterloo as it's the best of several bad Hwy 85 crossing points in the city, the only one that isn't a regional road, and the only one that could actually be a good crossing point for cyclists in the foreseeable future with the right improvements.
Is anyone else going?
Okay, a quick summary on what I learned tonight. I did a full writeup on the Waterloons blog if you care for more details.
One long-term option was presented that involved cycling lanes all the way from Davenport to King, but it costs somewhere near $7m for the widening and is not expected to be done for 5-7 years.
Two main short-term alternatives are proposed for $300,000 and subject to approval could be underway next year. Both involve a multi-use trail on the north side of Lexington (from Weber, I think, but I neglected to note its precise starting point). "Alternative 2" terminates the trail at Lexington Ct. and gives Lexington a 3 lane road diet treatment with bike lanes to Davenport. "Alternative 3(a)" extends the trail all the way to the edge of the bridge where it terminates. Cycling lanes extend from that point across the bridge to Davenport. The room is gained by reducing westbound Lexington by 1 lane from Davenport over the bridge.
Both alternatives see cyclists transferring from trail to bike lanes at a crossing. Neither are great, but both are improvements for this crossing. Unfortunately no changes are planned to the bridge itself, beyond painting lane lines. The bridge seems to be an obstacle to change as it is Ministry territory.
My take? Tolerable. Not great, but an improvement, especially if it goes in next year instead of after LRT service begins!